Athletic clubs pump up security with IP surveillance

COPENHAGEN – 3 March 2008. The Buffalo Athletic Clubs (BAC) are using powerful, easy-to-manage Milestone IP video management software with Axis network cameras for improved security and protection of assets, employees and members. The system's scalability supports the company's progressive business model for energetic expansion plans.

The BAC (Buffalo Athletic Clubs) is a dynamic chain of seven fitness centers in Buffalo, and the RAC (Rochester Athletic Clubs) is a chain of five locations in Rochester, New York. They have over 47,000 members, with each club counting 3,500-5,200 active members. The 12th club in Buffalo opened in early 2007, ramping up to 3,700 members in just 7 months.

New locations and buildings, constant renovations in design and lighting, new training methodologies, and the latest equipment are reasons for their success. This same innovative approach by the management has also been applied to their implementation of a security system - one that can grow and keep up with their progress.

Security challenges for the business chain

With multiple sites and a central downtown location for the headquarters, late-night hours 7 days a week, and cash in the offices, this chain of fitness clubs in upstate New York had experienced break-ins, theft (both external and internal), and vandalism. Personnel and membership safety issues from possible operational injuries are also in focus.

Their solution is Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video software that manages multiple Axis network cameras at each club, scheduling the recording, archiving the images to the database for easy searching and export of evidence. The software user interface also provides live viewing of any location locally or remotely, including control of the Pan/Tilt/Zoom functionality to zoom in and check out more details.

The central administration of the system makes efficient use of BAC's IT infrastructure, and the ability to easily add new network cameras anytime gives the scalability they need as a growing business.

"I researched extensively and found the Axis network cameras and Milestone software with the IP approach that is exactly what we wanted: a solution that is future-proof with the expandability that's flexible to fit our progressive business model," says Jason Toy, Information Systems Manager, Fitness First Inc. (the management company of the Buffalo & Rochester Athletic Clubs of New York).

Put a stop to internal and external theft

Mike Blumenson, President of Digital Surveillance Solutions, who sold BAC the IP video solution and advised on surveillance, recalls: "As soon as we installed the first implementation downtown, it resulted in two new employees being terminated."

Other evidence has been shared with the police a number of times, who often recognize the perpetrators from incidences elsewhere. More extensive background checks have now been incorporated into the hiring process at BAC.

Michael Calzone, the Corporate Controller for Fitness First Inc., explains: "The management can see the cameras for each location on a laptop, from anywhere, anytime, via remote web access. It saves a lot of time, not having to drive out to all the places to know what is really going on. That makes the surveillance much more than just a security system – it's really a management tool. It makes us accountable to our members from a safety point of view, as well as from a management point of view when it comes to potential legal claims. It's risk management and protection for our people, our property and our business."

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