Retail Technology and Products Video Surveillance

Major Australian retailer upgrades with Geutebruck

Major Australian retailer Harvey Norman has chosen to upgrade its video security systems with Geutebruck IP technology. During the last year the franchisees at around a third of its stores in Australia and New Zealand have been enjoying Geutebruck’s high quality images and ease of use. And, as word spread through the Harvey Norman grapevine others are clamouring for their turn!
In Australia Harvey Norman is a franchise operation with 250 stores trading under the ‘Harvey Norman’, ‘Domayne’ and ‘Joyce Mayne’ brands, and selling electrical, computer and entertainment equipment, furniture and bedding in different sectors of the market. It takes the interests of franchisees very seriously and its commitment to store security is one expression of this. It maintains a very high level of technical expertise within the organisation and provides the franchisees who handle their own day to day security operations with both the security hardware and specialist security support. Until relatively recently all stores were using surveillance systems with analogue cameras and DVRs, but as system reliability and image quality issues mounted it became imperative to find a new long term replacement.

Top of the list of requirements was good image quality, but important too was 90-day storage capacity, hybrid operation with existing analogue cameras, and easy-to-use client software. – In this environment, where systems are operated by store managers without specialist skills or knowledge, this last criterion is particularly significant so good intuitive design is key.

Besides meeting these requirements Geutebruck also enjoys a reputation for offering the most cost-effective IP systems. As Bill Elkass, Harvey Norman’s general manager of loss prevention reports, “Geutebruck technology is user friendly. Its client software is very easy to navigate through and it was particularly useful to us that there are Geutebruck staff here in Australia who could provide answers and help in devising a good solution.”

For the stores with upgraded systems the frustration of poor images is a thing of the past. Elkass continues, “Now we find that when we are looking at an incident of theft, we can see exactly what is going on: what the suspect picks up and where he conceals it. Our new systems provide the clarity which enables the police to take action.”

Installations vary depending on the size of the store and on the existing kit which has been incorporated. Small stores have 40 to 50 cameras, large ones around 110, and the average is 60 to 70. Some solutions are hybrid systems, using Geutebruck re_porter hardware and combining existing analogue cameras with new IP ones sited to monitor critical areas. – Cameras over cash registers for instance, to provide a detailed record of transactions and spot discrepancies. While other stores have pure IP systems using super micro servers with 30 cameras per server. “Running Geutebruck software on super micro servers is a good solution for us,” explains Elkass, “because it gives us the storage duration we wanted. We find we need 90 days because it takes time for the police to put a case together, and it can be some weeks after an incident that they request video evidence. In the past we had usually overwritten the relevant recording. Now, 9 times out of 10 we still have it.”

The overall plan is to upgrade the majority of sites over the next five years. New or refurbished stores will get pure IP systems, as may some of the larger stores. Systems in the remaining stores will be replaced with hybrid ones as and when these require attention.

So how has the new technology gone down with the non-technical store-managers? Elkass is fulsome in his praise, “The image quality is excellent and is providing the information they need: for example allowing them to recognise known offenders. I have to say, they are absolutely loving it. The franchisees talk amongst themselves and they all want Geutebruck technology.”

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