Axis network cameras in use in Benetton's megastore in Vienna's KärntnerstraßeAxis network cameras for surveillance of Benetton's megastore in Vienna's Kärntnerstraße.

Mission

In keeping with the local ambience, Benetton's megastore in Vienna's Kärntnerstraße offers sophisticated shopping.  However, with brisk customer traffic, its operator is very concerned about protecting the store against shoplifting and attacks.  With four floors totaling over 1,200m2, Benetton's megastore in Kärntnerstraße offers the Italian fashion house's complete collection, from ladies and menswear to children's clothing and accessories, all bearing the hallmarks of Benetton's unique style.  In the past, security on the retail floor was inadequate. Although a few analog cameras monitored sensitive points, the quality of the images they delivered was unsatisfactory and they did not cover all areas of the megastore.

Solution

To address this issue, a comprehensive digital video surveillance system with Axis network cameras, covering 99% of the store area, was installed in time for the Christmas 2007 season.  Additional functions such as panic buttons at the tills and alarm-triggered recording increase security even further.

"Just like the rest of the retail sector, we lose a relatively high proportion of stock through shoplifting in our Benetton megastore in Kärntnerstraße.  We also wanted to protect our cashiers better from criminal incidents," explains Heinz Fickel, Technical Manager of Benetton's Vienna megastore.

The aim of the megastore's operator, Textilhandel GmbH, was therefore to provide comprehensive video surveillance for the whole building.  The top priority here was for high quality images - on the one hand, they should actually deliver valuable information in the event of theft or other incidents while, on the other hand, being useful for statistical purposes (recording customer traffic, etc.) other than security.

Digital video surveillance gains acceptance

 As well as the new Axis network cameras, the existing analog cameras were incorporated into the new network via an Axis video encoder

The choice therefore fell on a network-based video surveillance system with five AXIS 209FD and 25 AXIS 216MFD Network Cameras.  An analog solution was also considered during the decision-making phase but the quality and performance would not have lived up to expectations.  The cameras built into the ceiling now deliver the required image quality in the megapixel range, while a recently installed high-speed network with corresponding high-performance servers guarantee high frame rates.  Neither recording nor live monitoring at full frame rate and size present a problem for this system.  In addition to the cameras' high quality images, their small size was a decisive factor when making the choice; it enabled the cameras to be fitted into the ceiling in a visually attractive yet unobtrusive manner.  As well as the new Axis network cameras, the existing analog cameras were incorporated into the new network via an Axis video encoder.  Netavis Observer II is the software solution used.

Result

99% of the total surface area of the store is covered by the new video surveillance system.  The high-resolution image quality even allowed the number of cameras required to be reduced at the planning stage as the video images provide sufficient detail even at greater distances.  The camera images have a dual purpose: a wide-angle image provides an overall view of an area of the store while, by zooming into the current image, a shelf carrying particularly valuable goods can be monitored separately, for example.  This application is made possible by the ability of Axis network cameras to generate several video streams at once.

Additional functions: a key selling point

The cameras' network capabilities offer other benefits, especially compared with an analog solution.  The cameras are linked via a VPN connection to mtm Textilhandel GmbH's head office, for example.  The equipment's configuration and settings, even down to camera level, can be adjusted centrally via remote access - an important consideration, especially in the event of an alarm.

Axis camera's  network capabilities offer other benefits, especially compared with an analogue solution The new solution also features an impressive range of additional functions.  These include a panic button at cashier stations.  To help resolve incidents, the cameras' frame rate and resolution automatically increase in the event of an alarm.  In addition, the system starts recording the video images on the server as they are created.

Looking to the future, there are also plans to use video recordings for other areas such as for statistical purposes.  The project was implemented by Kapsch Business Com acting as general contractor and Uraeus Sicherheitstechnik GmbH as security consultant and installer for the operator of Benetton's Kärntnerstraße megastore.

Working together with the local Benetton team, the new system was completed within just four weeks and was rolled out in time for the Christmas 2007 season without inconveniencing customers.  An important factor here was also the obligatory petition to the Data Protection Commission of the Austrian government which is being handled exclusively by Margot Artner, solicitor at law.

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