Taking Stock

Car dealership reduces theft with video analytics system

Thieves know how to spot weaknesses, even when a business has a security system in place. This is exactly what made the Nick Whale BMW dealership in Warwick, England, such a susceptible target.

The Nick Whale Group is a popular dealership that specializes in high-end vehicles and sports cars. With more than 25 years’ experience, five offices and 165 employees, the company seeks to maintain high standards at all times. But, at its BMW store, car thefts were getting in the way of success.

The dealership regularly holds approximately 100 new and used BMW cars worth nearly $4 million on its sales lot. The business protected its stock with an external passive sensor system, which left several areas of the parking lot unguarded. Because the dealership frequently moves its stock, the system was unable to completely cover the site—often because the sensors were blocked.

The system also frequently set off false alarms, and since the system was passive, there was no indication that it was functioning properly, leaving security officials to guess whether the valuable vehicles were actually being monitored.

As a result, thieves hit the business an average of five times a year, with each incident involving up to five stolen cars. The security system’s shortcomings resulted in up to $1 million in damages a year. This prompted the dealership to search for a more effective method of securing the high-end vehicles.

A Change of Course
The Nick Whale Group tapped ioimage to save the dealership from its expensive losses. ioimage is a supplier of intelligent video appliances, including video encoders and cameras with built-in analytics. Founded in 2000, the company uses networked, DSP-based devices for real-time detection, alert and tracking of intruders, vehicles and other threats for government and public and commercial organizations.

“ioimage offers a new approach to video security by transforming surveillance into a proactive, event-driven process,” said Dvir Doron, vice president of marketing. “We provide high-performance video encoders and IP cameras with built-in analytics that are designed and packaged for simplicity, with a very high probability of detection, five-minute set-up over a Web browser, minimal maintenance with automated sensitivity adaptation, DSP-based video edge devices, and plug and detect capabilities.”

At the Nick Whale dealership, ioimage retrofitted a video surveillance system that includes intelligent video edge devices with built-in, self-sustained video analytics and PTZ tracking capabilities. According to Philip Atkinson, owner of Executive Security, the systems integrator on the project, the upgrade required one eight-channel ioimage ioibox to replace about 25 external PIR detectors on the old system’s CCTV system. Atkinson used eight Bosch speed domes and Samsung fixed cameras to monitor the dealership’s sales lot, and also to detect and track intruders. During the day, the system records all motion, triggering an alarm only if violation occurs. When a security breach is detected, the system transmits automated alerts and photos to a remote video receiving center.

“The operator analyzes the picture, and if it is an intruder, then an audible warning is given via the remote PA system. If this does not deter the intruders, the designated guarding company is contacted and dispatches security patrol immediately,” Atkinson said.

The Right Direction
The solution has decreased the number of false alarms encountered by officials at the dealership, and, in the long run, will save the Nick Whale Group untold amounts of lost revenue.

“The ioimage system reduced the number of false alarms, leading to less [required] manpower resources,” Doron said. “Also, since the dealership was retrofitted and the system was easy to deploy, the installation time was reduced drastically and installation costs were reduced by 50 percent. Due to the system’s automated sensitivity to adjust to environmental changes, its maintenance will be minimal. Finally, users experienced a fast and simple learning curve to master the system.”

In additional to saving the business money, the system also has already helped the dealership detect and remove several intruders from the premises. Doron said the number of false alarms also has been reduced considerably.

In the future, the Nick Whale Group can easily add extra cameras to the system to further protect its BMWs and to safeguard new areas once the site is expanded. Given the rapid success of the cost-effective, easy-to-install solution, the group plans to deploy a similar system at additional car dealerships soon.

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