Car Dealership Test Drives Remote Services
Thousands of dollars at stake, including parts and equipment
- By Dean Mason
- Jan 01, 2014
Shiny new and gently used vehicles are valuable retail assets that most
auto dealerships leave on display outdoors both day and night. Needless
to say, the auto industry faces a unique challenge in securing
retail facilities and merchandise. And in addition to expensive automobiles,
most dealerships store thousands of dollars in automotive parts
and equipment that support customer care and repair service operations in
Securing and monitoring two distinct facilities or functions of a car dealership
to protect against theft and vandalism is a challenge for dealership
managers. However, thanks to the latest in security technologies, it is not impossible.
Dealerships must ensure that car lots and showrooms inviting to
customers, and their facilities must be accessible to employees who help run
the service departments and maintenance facilities. Sales people need convenient
access to the showroom and vehicle keys. Service technicians, service
writers and parts department personnel need easy access to the service center,
garage bays and parts storerooms.
Juggling customers’ and employees’ needs for accessibility to the dealership
requires managers to extend a significant amount of trust to their staff.
Managers simply cannot watch what is going on in and around the dealership
24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Traditional monitored access control, intrusion and video surveillance systems
are designed to work quietly behind the scenes. The primary responsibility
of these systems is to deter, alert and document an intrusion. They were
not originally designed to deliver real-time updates or be monitored remotely
by users. Advancements in remote services technology, however, is changing
this and placing control of traditional security systems into users’ hands.
Remote services make it possible for users to control and monitor their
security systems from any Internet connected device, including smartphones.
Recognizing the benefits remote services could provide its customers, Scanner
Technologies of Mineola, N.Y., became an early supporter of the technology.
“Our society is very mobile literate and people have become accustomed
to the accessibility their smartphones provide them,” said Ed Savarese, senior
technician at Scanner Technologies. “This has translated into security system
owners, both residential and commercial, wanting more mobility from their
Remote Services Deliver Greater Mobility
As an early adopter of remote services, Scanner Technologies was prepared to
respond to a request for proposal from Van Buren Buick GMC, an automotive
dealership in Garden City Park, N.Y. Van Buren was in the beginning stages
of remodeling its showroom and wanted to upgrade its legacy security system
to a modern integrated system.
“The biggest pain point with our previous security system was accessibility,”
said Rick Volpe, dealership director at Van Buren Buick GMC. “Accessing the
system to pull reports, adding or removing an access code, or even verifying
an incident required me to be physically present at the dealership.”
Van Buren’s previous security system was a standalone intrusion detection
system. It was affective for alerting management to a break-in but it wasn’t capable
of delivering real-time information. The only actionable data the system
could provide was a report showing who activated and deactivated the alarm
and when. From the report Volpe could see if the dealership was opened late,
and if the alarm was activated or deactivated afterhours. The problem Volpe had with the report was it was delivered weekly and required a significant
amount of time to read.
“After hearing the pain points Van Buren had with access to their previous
security system and reporting delays, we knew right away remote services
would be a great fit for them,” said Savarese.
Scanner Technologies developed a proposal recommending a complete
upgraded of Van Buren’s existing security system and the installation of a new
intrusion detection system, as well as a video surveillance system utilizing
Honeywell Total Connect™ Remote Services. The new security system would
give Van Buren’s management team the ability to control and monitor the
system remotely from any Internet connected device, including smartphones
Readying Remote Services for Commercial Use
“Remote services were originally designed for the residential market but they
are also well suited for small video installations at commercial facilities,” said
Savarese. “The system we installed supports up to six cameras per deployment
but more cameras can be easily added.
Working together, Van Buren and Scanner Technologies determined two
zones of six cameras with sightlines of the car lot, showroom floor, service
center, service desk and parts department would provide sufficient coverage.
To install the cameras and intrusion detection sensors, Scanner Technologies
worked alongside the building contractor remodeling the dealership.
“As certain sections of the dealership were finished, we would follow right
behind running cable, installing intrusion sensors and cameras,” said Savarese.
“It took us about two and half months to complete the installation.”
Scanner Technologies used commercial analog cameras to provide enhanced
image clarity and theft deterrence. To make the cameras work with
Honeywell Total Connect, Scanner Technologies installed analog converter
units (ACUs). The units convert analog transmissions to the IP digital signal
required to enable remote viewing and control of the camera feeds.
“Having access to the security system from my iPhone and iPad has been
extremely beneficial,” said Volpe. “It has given me the peace-of-mind that I
can check in on the dealership at any time and from anywhere.”
Another benefit of Honeywell Total Connect Remote Services is that it delivers
real-time alerts via email and text message to the user, a feature that has increased
Volpe’s visibility into the dealership’s daily activities. Instead of waiting
for the weekly report, he receives instant activity alerts to his email and iPhone.
“Every time the security system is armed or disarmed I receive an e-mail
notification of the activity to my phone,” said Volpe. “This is incredibly beneficial
because I know when the dealership has been opened and closed. And
if its afterhours and I haven’t received an alert the security system has been
activated, I can quickly pull up the camera feeds on my phone to check that
everyone has left for the night and arm the system.”
Shortly after the security system was installed, the dealership had a window
shattered late at night by a pebble thrown from a vehicle’s tire as it drove
by. By having remote access to the video surveillance system, Volpe was able
to verify the incident from his house. With the previous security system, he
would have had to go to the dealership to confirm what had happened.
In the morning, Volpe found the incident was captured by a camera positioned
in the showroom, providing him with confirmation on how the window
“Discovering that the window was broken by accident, and not an act of
theft or vandalism provided me with peace-of-mind,” said Volpe. “Not knowing
what caused the window to break would have left me wondering.”
In his 35 year career, Volpe has never had to address an instance of theft or
vandalism but he understands the value of being prepared.
“Upgrading our security system was an investment in the future,” said Volpe.
“We’ve been very fortunate not to have had instances of theft or vandalism
in the dealership’s 78 year history, and I want to keep that streak intact.”
Investing in the Future
The benefit Van Buren has seen from the video surveillance system has led
them to upgrade the security systems across their dealership network. In addition
to Van Buren Buick GMC, the family-owned dealership owns and operates
Van Buren Trucks in Farmingdale, N.Y.
Later this year, Scanner Technologies will begin upgrading the security
system at Van Buren Trucks installing Honeywell Total Connect to integrate
the system with the remote access capabilities already installed at Van Buren
“I’ve bench tested other remote management solutions, and Honeywell
Total Connect works flawlessly,” said Savarese. “It truly gives my clients control
of their security systems as if they are right in front of the keypad from
anywhere, view user activity and see live video feeds. I’ve the remote capabilities
to be especially beneficial for my customers with multiple offices to stay
connected to their security systems.”
This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Security Today.