Monday, May 16, 2016

Walgreens Shares Best Practices for Enterprise Video Management and Strategy

Tim Mueller (left) and Hal Friend (right) of Walgreens
shared best practices for enterprise video management
and strategy
At RILA’s recent Retail Asset Protection Conference, Walgreens shared best practices with other retail industry leaders, including that of its strategy for transitioning to a common analog, hybrid and IP video platform. At the event, Hal Friend, Director, Physical Security & Fire Prevention and Tim Mueller, Manager, Physical Security Operations, for Walgreen Co. explained how the company utilizes a risk-based strategy for creating a safe and secure environment for both employees and customers.

With the risk-based approach, Walgreens has improved its process for providing physical security resources to its store locations. As part of this, the company’s Security Operations Center (SOC) – a UL-listed, 24/7 central monitoring station – serves as the nerve center for the organization, providing information to support both store team members and  field asset protection management to ensure “they send the right people, to the right place, at the right time,” said Hal Friend. “Video is a critical part of the SOC, which uses it to support overall enterprise security, alarm verification, emergency management, and to verify store-related information coming in over social media. We’ve saved a significant amount of dollars in false alarms fines by verifying intrusion alarms with video,” continued Friend.

With over 8,100 drug stores across all 50 states, in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Walgreens currently has a mixed enterprise video architecture. While new stores and major remodels are equipped with IP video technology and high-risk locations are leveraging IP video in critical areas, there remained 7,200 stores with legacy analog equipment at the beginning of 2015. The company sought a way to upgrade analog equipment and gain efficiencies through the use of one common user interface across all 8,100+ stores.

Common Platform Video Conversion
Faced with aging analog DVRs installed over 10 years ago in 7,200 store locations, one of the nation’s largest retail chains was dispatching field service technicians to repair nearly 20 DVRs every day. The company required a new approach that would transition stores to a common, more modern platform and gain efficiencies in labor in its Field Services department.

Walgreens rolled-out an innovative break-replace strategy, managed by the Asset Protection Physical Security team, to upgrade its analog recording equipment over a period of 18 months. When a legacy DVR breaks, the store enters a fix-it ticket to the company’s Field Services department. Instead of repairing the device, a new Bosch DIVAR AN 5000 digital recorder is ordered to replace the DVR, and the device is shipped directly to the Walgreens store location. The Field Services department tracks the package and dispatches a technician to install the new recorder when it arrives at the store. The Physical Security team commissions the installation remotely and maps point-of-sale cameras to the company’s AP Dashboard. “We broke the mold with this approach,” said Tim Mueller.

All Walgreens store locations using the new DIVAR AN 5000 digital recorders, as well as those with an IP video or hybrid infrastructure, use the Bosch Video Client software to view live or playback video and to export video from storage.

“The holy grail for me is moving to one common platform, with one vendor and one feature set to manage,” continued Mueller.

Training for store personnel is a multi-pronged approach. Field Services technicians train store personnel on how to use the new DVR and leave behind a one-page job aid. Specially trained Asset Protection Retail Security Experts serve as subject matter experts for field asset protection team members and store management, and Bosch also created short 1-2 minute videos accessible online for quick references on how to perform certain actions. This strategy has been essential to streamlining the training and support for store leadership teams – which amounts to more than 32,000 people across all store locations.

Walgreens also worked closely with the Bosch product development team to enable a unique new feature to help safeguard how video from its stores is used. Every time a team member logs into a device to view, playback or export video, they must acknowledge the Walgreens Video Security Policy. This serves as a constant reminder for employees to act according to the policy when accessing video, especially when it is of a sensitive nature. The Walgreens Physical Security team also has the capability to restrict access to store video when needed. A universal dynamic address book within Bosch Video Client makes it easy for them to quickly locate a store using its number for faster access to video.

Results
The break-replace strategy has helped Walgreens realize significant labor efficiencies and cost savings. Walgreens estimated it saved approximately $2 million using the break-replace strategy instead of a more traditional outsourced rollout model, and the new Bosch DIVAR AN 5000 digital recorders consume significantly less power than the legacy DVRS, helping Walgreens save additional money in energy costs each year. Providing access to video to corporate partners within the organization also helps those departments improve efficiency and reduce costs. For example, accessing video to verify vendor performance has saved the company’s Facilities department approximately $1 million. 

Walgreens has already converted 6,200 stores to the DIVAR AN 5000 digital recorders and will continue to upgrade the technology at 1,000 additional stores this year. For more information on the DIVAR AN 5000, visit http://bit.ly/1SGTOZY

For an example of how Walgreens has implemented a Bosch IP video solution at its flagship store in Chicago’s Bucktown/Wicker Park area, visit http://bit.ly/21xTyyO

No comments: