MAXI ICA, the
largest supermarket chain in Sweden, now ensures personnel safety with video
surveillance from more than 100 IQeye megapixel cameras managed by Milestone
XProtect open platform IP video management software. MAXI ICA
Superstore in the Swedish city of Umeå has also invested in 115 megapixel cameras from IQinVision.

The servers
handle a total of about 2,200 images per second and Milestone XProtect
Enterprise software makes it easy to manage, view and export the video. In the
autumn of 2009 there were on average three store robberies every day in Sweden,
but MAXI ICA in the city of Umeå has thus far been spared major incidents.

“Word got around
quickly that we had installed a tough new system. According to the guards, the
usual mischief disappeared at once,” says Joakim Lindgren, MAXI ICA Superstore
Umeå.

“But it’s a
question of preventing robberies. Otherwise, personnel risk both threats with
weapons and actual assaults. The main reason for camera monitoring is so that
personnel can feel safe. The problem is with drug and alcohol-influenced people
who sometimes come into the store and become aggressive.

“Verbal death
threats were directed at personnel, which is terribly disturbing, of course.
But since the new security system has been installed, nothing more of the kind
has taken place.”

The guards still
discover shoplifting with every inspection, in general. Attempted fraud in the
store is also recorded. For example, customers who claim they have received
change for a hundred kronor note instead of a five hundred, or who try to cheat
at the betting counter.

A security
concept has been developed by ICA Group’s central security unit, which sets
minimum security levels for the stores. These procedures saw the checkout
lines, entries and exits monitored by cameras, but it was an analog system that
had been installed when MAXI ICA Superstore in Umeå opened way back in 1998. It
fell far short of present-day needs.

“We couldn’t
really expand on the analogue system, so it was natural to take the next step.
The future lies in megapixel technology with IP software. This is where
developments are taking place with astonishing speed,” observes Lindgren.

The new system includes
a total of 115 IQinvision IQ-711 1.3 megapixel cameras. Together with some of
the previous analogue cameras that operate with the Milestone software through
video encoders, there are now 147 cameras now monitoring the store at Umeå.

“The reason MAXI
ICA doesn’t need to have even more cameras per square meter is explained by our
choice of megapixel cameras, which can cover a greater area than cameras with
conventional resolution. It is quite simply a more efficient solution, thus
more economical than installing conventional cameras.

“Although the
unit price is higher for megapixel cameras, we don’t need as many,” explains
Fredrik Westin, Managing Director at InSupport, the certified Milestone partner
who implemented the solution.

“Each camera
takes 15 pictures per second; altogether we have about 2,200 pictures per
second, which requires an enormous storage capacity of 70 TB (terabytes). The
ongoing network load is about 4.3 GB per second. Six servers and a master are
required for this,” he reports.

Because Lindgren
wants to be able to get at the pictures quickly when a case arises, the
software must also be of the highest quality.

“We install
Milestone software almost exclusively. Open software is a cornerstone, since
the customer must not be hamstrung,” Westin says.

“It’s no problem
to put a twenty-camera system together, but with such a large performance
system as this, everything comes to a head – it has to be high-quality.

“Milestone XProtect
Enterprise has no limitations as far as how many cameras or servers can be
connected – it’s possible to do almost anything. We can also monitor the whole
system from our office in Stockholm.”

Private guards
hired from Securitas are always on duty, but they can “be made” if they show
themselves too often out among the customers. And previously, it was also hard
for the guards to prove that someone had taken merchandise.

“The new
surveillance system makes our job easier. I hope that more clients will get
such systems – it is easy to use and we can monitor everything that happens in
the store,” says one of the guards.

MAXI ICA
Superstore Umeå has a policy of reporting all infractions taking place on the
premises to the police, including shoplifting. Permission to save recorded
material for 30 days is a precondition for the police to have time for handling
every infraction.

“There is never
any doubt when the guards call – the police are grateful that they can easily
order images and get them on a DVD or USB stick. It’s great when the police say
the image quality is so good that they can easily see what’s happening and
identify the perpetrators,” says Lindgren.

“The reason MAXI
ICA doesn’t need to have even more cameras per square meter is explained by our
choice of megapixel cameras, which can cover a greater area than cameras with
conventional resolution. It is quite simply a more efficient solution”