Deterring Fraud and Theft
Reliable, user intuitive platform was an absolute must for massive luxury auto dealership in Texas
- By Steve Birkmeier
- Jan 01, 2017
There is an old saying about how everything is bigger in Texas, and in the case
of Lexus of Lakeway, the expression certainly rings true. Located less than
20 miles from the burgeoning technology hub of Austin, the luxury automobile
dealership sits on more than 30 acres in the small town of Lakeway, which is
home to more than 11,000 residents.
The dealership, which is a sister store to Lexus of Austin, offers customers
a unique car-buying experience. The community of Lakeway has very exacting
standards when it comes to the architectural features of area businesses, and the
dealership had to adhere to these rules when designing its facility. As part of an effort
to be aesthetically pleasing, Lexus of Lakeway was built vertically and features
multiple levels complete with rooftop parking, resembling something more akin to
a resort than a contemporary dealership. The cars that are visible on the ground
are spread among the hills and surrounding property so as to keep the facility from
appearing like a cluttered car lot.
However, Lexus of Lakeway’s commitment to being a good business neighbor
doesn’t just stop at the architecture of its building. The dealership makes every
effort to keep bright lighting and loud noises to a minimum, which is why the facility’s
doors open and shut within just 10 seconds of a vehicle pulling in or out. Not
only does this help keep most of the noise contained within the building, but it also
encourages customers to stay within the confines of facility and shop at one of the
two boutique retail shops on property.
The job of securing this expansive and unique auto dealership fell to Jake Hargis,
parts and IT director for both Lexus of Lakeway and Lexus of Austin. Having
experience in managing a smaller video surveillance network at the Austin dealership,
Hargis knew that the size of the Lakeway property combined with the challenge
of having to secure additional areas, such as the retail boutiques, required
more advanced surveillance tools.
“Here in Lakeway, our surveillance system had to be more spread out because
of the logistics of the property, so I needed more cameras and the ability to work
remotely from a workstation,” Hargis said.
To address these concerns, Hargis consulted Accu-Tech, a leading nationwide
distributor of security products, which recommended the Arteco Next video event
management software (VEMS) platform. In addition to Arteco Next, more than 30
high-definition IP cameras were installed throughout the lot, some of which had to
be converted to wireless to extend their range given the expansiveness of the property.
However, while the cameras themselves are impressive, Hargis said it is the rich
functionality of the Arteco Next software that holds the entire network together.
“I can cover a lot more ground with one camera here as opposed to the older
system at Austin,” Hargis said. “Before I might have had an initial angle where I
could see 20 cars in a single frame and there was no way you could read a plate
number. It’s simply too big of an area being covered. Now, using Arteco Next, I
can make a camera change its angle and view the image like I’m walking up behind
the car, then zooming in so close that I can decipher the details.”
Although Lexus of Lakeway has a security team, Hargis and one other person
within the dealership’s IT department are the only ones with access to the
video management system. In the event of an incident, authorized individuals can
quickly and easily access video footage. Arteco Next streamlines access and search
through its intuitive user intuitive interface.
Perhaps, most importantly, Arteco Next provides Lexus of Lakeway with a
powerful tool to combat incidents of fraud and shoplifting. One of the most common
types of crime perpetrated against auto dealerships is falsely claiming that a
car has suffered damage while in the care of technicians at the facility. With Arteco
Next, Lexus of Lakeway has been able to nip these claims in the bud.
“We do a walk around on every car that comes in here and there might be a big
scratch that we write on the work order and they’ll sign off on it. But when they
come to pick up the car, they’ll say, ‘that wasn’t there.’ We can literally pull up the
camera now, show where they pulled in, zoom in on that damage and say, ‘there it
is when you drove in,’” Hargis said.
In addition, the Boutique on Stonelake, which offers the dealership’s customers
a chance to shop for a variety of goods, such as clothing, jewelry and books while
they wait for service to be performed on their vehicle, is sometimes targeted by
shoplifters. Using the video system, Hargis can easily identify the perpetrator and
the vehicle in which they left.
Hargis has received positive feedback about the Arteco software from the dealership’s
managers—many of whom have been able to settle disputes using the
platform—and said he plans to work with Arteco for all of its video surveillance
related needs moving forward.
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Security Today.