Interface lands 8,200-location deal with Family Dollar

Managed services bundle includes all physical and network security, video verification, PCI compliance, will include mobile applications, big data analytics in future
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ST. LOUIS—Systems integrator Interface Security Systems (ISS) is more than halfway through a technology makeover for all of Family Dollar’s 8,200 retail store locations.

“It’s a big deal for us, and it’s the widest array of services we’ve ever sold to a single customer, and that’s compounded by the number of locations Family Dollar has,” ISS VP Jeff Frye told Security Systems News. Frye declined to reveal specific revenue figures.

The “Flat Rate Managed Services Project” bundle includes Internet, [which ISS likes to refer to as "secure managed broadband"] cellular backup, VoIP phone service, WiFi, PCI security series, intrusion detection, video surveillance and video verification.

This deal should not be confused with ISS’s project with Dollar General, a similar “mega-multisite location managed services” project that ISS began in 2010. Read the details of that project here. Today, ISS does managed services for 12,000 Dollar General locations.

At Family Dollar, the “total overhaul” of technology will “facilitate a lot of new things,” including the use of security video and other data points for business intelligence and mobile applications as well.

The project has been underway for a couple of years. ISS completed a 100-store pilot project for Family Dollar in the fall of 2013. It was awarded the contract for all stores in April of 2014. The deployment started in July and is expected to be completed this June. 

ISS is converting close to 1,000 stores per month, which equates to about 50 stores per day. “They really standardized the entire store infrastructure and migrated all technology in the store to IP,” said Michael McLeod, president and COO of ISS.

To avoid interrupting store operations, “we build everything, assemble it, test and prepare it and put it in a prefab cabinet,” McLeod explained. “The average downtime for a store is two or three minutes.”

“The deployment is a two-stage process for each site. We first send a technician to replace and migrate the security system to IP/GSM, and hang the cabinet that contains our network and voice gear.  This allows us to test the network and 4G remotely for a burn-in period. A week later a technician arrives for final test and turn up of the voice, secure managed broadband, and Wi-Fi in the store, and to connect the DVR to the network for video verification” McLeod explained.

About 5,500 stores are up and running now. Interface has a 60-month contract with Family Dollar that automatically renews.

As this phase of the project is completed, ISS will be doing pilot projects testing how security data from the stores can be used for business intelligence. “We’ll figure out what they want to deploy, what is meaningful for them,” McLeod said.

“The point is that we’ve lit up technology that allows for that future feature set,” McLeod said. “It not only improves the [current security and network systems], it give them a platform to grow on.”