Historic dealership goes for modern security solution

Ginn Auto has been serving the greater Atlanta, Georgia area since 1922. When the company decided to build a new facility in Covington for its Ginn Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership, they knew they would need high-resolution surveillance cameras to protect the hundreds of vehicles on their seven-acre property. They also wanted a multi-purpose, crystal-clear audio solution to facilitate communications with technicians and other staff.

Having seen the quality of the solutions Compass Security Solutions installed at other dealerships, Ginn Auto turned to the integrator for similar support. Compass steered the company towards the Axis portfolio of cameras and speakers as the best technology for their needs. A total of 36 Axis cameras were installed on the property, drawing on a mix of HDTV-quality and megapixel fixed dome cameras, wide angle cameras, and 360o multi-sensor cameras.

“We wanted to make sure we could cover all the angles with the fewest cameras possible,” said Brad Long, VP of operations for Compass Security Solutions. “Whether an incident or issue happened on the inventory lot, around the service bay, customer drive-up, or other area, we wanted to make certain Ginn Auto would have clear, forensic quality video to help them quickly investigate and resolve it.”

Compass also installed a total of 16 Axis network speakers, using a combination of PoE powered ceiling, cabinet, and horn speakers with built-in amplifiers and processors. Models were deployed based on ceiling height, ambient noise in the environment, and whether the primary use was paging or background music.


From hunting keys to documenting vehicle damage

“I’ve been really impressed with the great coverage and detail we get from the Axis cameras,” said Richard Carnes, IT Manager for Ginn Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. “Anytime we have an incident we can zoom in and see exactly what took place.”

In one instance, a customer was ready to pick up their vehicle after it was repaired, and the service manager couldn’t find the car key. “We pulled up the video and were able to track where the key went,” said Carnes. The video clearly showed the key’s journey from the write-up desk to the service lane, then to a technician who took it into the shop. The technician had set the key on the desk in the service bay and left it there.

Another area where the Axis cameras are proving invaluable is mitigating claims of vehicle damage. “Sometimes a customer pulls into the dealership for service and doesn’t know their vehicle has dents or scratches,” said Carnes. “They assume we did the damage and it ends up being a public relations nightmare. Or unscrupulous people come in knowing they have damage but try to scam us that it wasn’t there before.” With cameras monitoring the property, it’s easy to get to the truth of the matter.

One event that really stands out for Carnes is the night the police came looking for a vehicle that allegedly was involved in a hit-and-run. Carnes was able to review the video and prove that the vehicle in question had been traded in two days prior to when the accident occurred and was sitting in their used inventory lot during the hit-and-run. The customer was exonerated since it was obvious that the license plate number triggering the search had been incorrectly recorded.


From car talk to easy listening music

“One of the best features of the Axis speakers is the ability to adjust the volume of each through the AXIS Audio Manager,” said Carnes. “In some places we have 20-foot-high ceilings, so we increase the volume on the speakers mounted there. In the eight-foot ceiling areas we set the speaker volume a bit lower.” Carnes can set and schedule the volume as needed, such as when they run a video display to showcase a particular vehicle they’re currently promoting.

The dealership uses some speakers strictly as paging systems, tying them into the building’s VoIP phone system. In the showroom and waiting area, the speakers are also used to pipe in news and music from local radio stations to keep customers entertained.

“The Axis horn speakers were a great choice for our mechanic bay and warehouse,” said Carnes. “They’re heavy duty so they can withstand the dust and heat. Plus, they’re really loud. So you can hear a page even when the air compressor is going.”

Compass configured each space with two horn speakers so that the page would reflect off the floor and walls, amplifying the sound. “Even though these areas are quite large, the coverage from only two speakers is fantastic and the sound is really clear,” said Brad Long.


Steering towards greater security control

Ginn Auto sits right off Interstate 20, making it convenient for customers, but also vulnerable because it provides a quick exit route for thieves and vandals. With 200 to 300 vehicles on its lot at any given time, the busy company plans to eventually add analytics to further protect the property. Among the analytics under consideration are AXIS Motion Guard to trigger an alarm when a vehicle or person enters the area, especially after-hours. They’re looking at AXIS Loitering Guard to help the dealership prevent vandalism and break-ins by tracking and raising an alarm if a vehicle or person is detected suspiciously lingering too long in an area. They’re also discussing AXIS Perimeter Defender with PTZ Autotracking to be able to zoom in and follow any intruder on the property when an alarm has been triggered. They can then tie these analytics to AXIS horn speakers around the perimeter of the building to automatically broadcast a warning to the intruder that he’s being recorded and that the police are on their way.

“Flexibility has really been the key attraction for us doing business with Axis,” said Richard Carnes. “We love that we can easily add more cameras, more speakers, analytics, even a subscription service for streaming music whenever we want. Plus, the whole surveillance and audio solution is so easy to use.”