Wash-and-Go Businesses Turn to Mobile Surveillance
River Valley, LLC owns four businesses in western Pennsylvania: Cranberry 10 Minute Oil Change, Cranberry Car Wash, Cranberry Pet Wash, and Erie 10 Minute Oil Change. Most are open 24 hours a day and often unmanned, particularly during the night hours.
But business owners Joe Lehosky and Dan Klapec found a way to keep an eye on things even when no one is around.
The proliferation of smartphones and tablets — and the explosion of applications for seemingly every life aspect — meant it was only a matter of time before businesses began looking at mobile surveillance as a way to monitor activity while on the move. River Valley LLC is among the growing number of businesses now doing so, using MobileCamViewer to monitor activity at all four businesses.
MobileCamViewer is the mobile surveillance and remote video monitoring application from mobiDEOS, the Milpitas, Calif.-based company blending software and IT expertise with security smarts. River Valley connects the application to a variety of security cameras at all four locations, along with Dedicated Micros BX2 DVRs. It was Dedicated Micros, in fact, that recommended the application to Lehosky.
Typically, Lehosky and Klapec use the application to monitor general business activity, communicate with customers and respond to issues as needed. But the cameras, recorders and mobile surveillance application are part of a comprehensive security solution that also includes burglar and fire alarms inside the buildings, around the perimeters and inside the cashier stations.
Lehosky notes that the first security cameras went live in 2004, with all monitoring performed from home computers. This was fine when Lehosky and Klapec were at home — not always the situation for business people with demanding schedules.
“The car washes are programmed to page management based on specific error codes, some of which require immediate attention,” said Lehosky. “The problem was that we were not usually home when the car washes would page us. Dedicated Micros recommended mobiDEOS as the application that would work best with their system. I did the initial installation and setup on our phones very easily, and in less than 30 minutes.”
Lehosky and Klapec use an HTC Incredible solution for the smartphone and network connection. They have found that mobile surveillance has made better use of their time by enabling thoughtful reaction to events instead of frantically rushing to the site whenever paged for an occurance — whether security-related or otherwise.
“MobileCamViewer lets me pull up my cameras or servers and see what is going on at our locations,” Klapec said. “I am looking at live video of the facility within seconds of getting paged or called by one of the technicians.”
Non-emergency situations epitomize the typical alert. The pet washes, for example, become inoperable when they get too dirty. They operate like a self-serve car wash, with customers walking their dogs up the ramps into rubber-lined, waist-high, stainless steel wash tubs. The customer selects the desired function such as shampoo, de-skunk, flea and tick shampoo, rinse or oatmeal shampoo. There is even a post-wash blow dryer.
“We have only had one real security-related alarm since installing MobileCamViewer,” said Lehosky. “It turned out that the alarm was triggered by high winds, but it was nice to see the facility remotely before getting there. I felt more comfortable while approaching the site.”
Regardless of the alert, mobile surveillance helps determine whether a site visit is necessary. A problem handled remotely saves approximately one hour of time spent driving to the site to address the issue.
“We save two to three trips per week now due to cashier-related problems,” Klapec said. “The car wash can still run with credit cards, which account for the majority of our sales. And if a customer leaves the car or pet wash too dirty for use by the next customer, we can go to the washes and clean them up to avoid lost revenue. But MobileCamViewer almost immediately confirms if there is an emergency or otherwise. If it’s not an emergency we can just go about our business.”
|PROJECTS in the News|
Cooperating with AUG and ADI, the telecommunication company installed 56 Axis IP cameras that are dedicated to monitoring entrances and activity at the two factory and office locations. Management wanted to better monitor and supervise operations and workflow at both locations, explained Ronald Douglas, IT manager at the telecommunications company. Moreover, the company wanted to prevent a repeat of a string of negative incidents that had occurred in the worker’s locker room.
Arecont Vision’s megapixel cameras monitor teller transactions and keep watch on bank employees and customers in a proof-of-concept video surveillance system installed for Absa Group Limited, one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups. Arecont Vision SurroundVideo® 8 megapixel 180-degree and 360-degree panoramic cameras (AV8185 and AV8365) also watch over customer queues, automated teller machines (ATMs) and the general banking hall. Seeking to streamline its processes and reduce costs while maintaining a clear focus on the individual customer’s experience, Absa Bank deployed Arecont Vision megapixel network cameras. Another benefit for Absa Bank is creation of a database of suspected criminals to allow operators to identify them easily.
Honeywell was selected to overhaul the video surveillance system at Casino Niagara, one of the top tourism attractions in Canada’s famed Niagara Falls. The project includes retrofitting the existing surveillance network with IP video technology that will allow casino officials to use a single command and control center to view and remotely manage the systems at both Casino Niagara and its nearby sister facility, Fallsview Casino.
The project calls for Honeywell to provide its MAXPRO® VMS (video management system) and VideoBloX video and audio matrix to oversee the casino, which encompasses 1,600 slot machines, 28 gaming tables, a 12-table poker room and several other attractions. Additionally, it will upgrade the casino’s VCR recording system to an enterprise-wide digital recorder network.
Firetide announced that the largest u-School project in Seoul, Korea, is now using Firetide’s high performance 802.11n Wireless LAN to provide Internet access to more than 1,200 students each day across three school campuses. The Seoul Metropolitan City Office of Education (SOME) selected Firetide for this first phase of campus-wide Wi-Fi access to K-12 schools in the Seoul area.