Small chain upgrades to IP at own pace

Virginia’s Quik-E Foods points to high ROI
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Monday, March 24, 2014

LYNCHBURG, Va.—Family-owned and operated Quik-E Foods, based here, recently installed an IP camera in the rear of one of its 12 convenience stores. “The camera actually paid for itself on day 2,” said Quik-E Vice President Todd Burgess.

The March Networks camera captured images of an employee stealing cigarettes by taking them out in trash bags through the back door.

Quik-E, which also operates five automated car washes and a laundromat within about a 40-mile radius of Lynchburg, is a longtime March Networks end user, working with certified resellers and installer Integrated Technology Group.

The chain gradually has been upgrading its March Networks NVRs to the next-gen 8000 Series Hybrid NVRs. The product is allowing Quik-E to move from analog cameras to IP cameras at its own pace as finances allow. Quik-E also plans to soon deploy March’s Searchlight for Retail video analytics software.

The recent upgrade at Quik-E sites is “feature-rich,” Burgess said. “Our storage capacity has quadrupled. Where before I had systems that would only hold [images] for 30 days, I now can get up to three months. And it’s all user driven.”

The ROI Burgess experienced is not unique, March Networks project manager Ali Mahmoud said. Customers can use the system for 10 minutes each morning and capture $5,000 in thefts each week, he said. “The ROI is pretty quick,” and the fact that it’s a hybrid so users don’t have to rip out old equipment is another plus, he said.

Burgess has one of his new IP cameras aimed inside one of his car washes. “Equipment inside a car wash is extremely expensive,” in the $5,000 range for one washer arm, he said. “We have people who run into [the washer arms] and damage them.” The camera footage helps with insurance claims, he said.

He uses his cameras for POS, but also has them aimed at coolers, front doors and in back rooms where food is prepared to help him ascertain that employees are following food safety procedures, for example. When his stores close at midnight, the cameras are set to be motion-activated.

Burgess said he is looking forward to being able to set more of his own parameters with the upcoming Searchlight deployment, which will provide even more POS capabilities.

Once a user logs into Searchlight, Mahmoud said, it will alert and go directly to that video when, for example, there are 10 sales voids over $50. Other functions of the system will be more operational, such as showing if the stores and food prep areas met cleanliness standards during the previous shift.

March Networks plans to have real-time analytics for Searchlight available later this year, Mahmoud said.