PROBLEM DESCRIPTION: Point of Sale integration with Avigilon NVRs.
Our client operates a casino, which also features a great restaurant. Unified Systems Inc did the initial installation of an Avigilon based HD Video Surveillance System in the casino. Our client informed us that they were experiencing ongoing shrinkage problems in the restaurant. The client wanted to have the ability to audit point of sale activity through the camera system. Specifically, they wanted to be able to use the camera system to search for the specific point of sale events, then watch the video of the related transaction to determine if the theft was occurring. Other requirements were; the ability to filter out information not relevant to their investigations, bookmarking recorded video when specific events occurred for easy review, and to separate and isolate the activities of a single staff member if required.
The client was using Squirrel Professional, which is an outstanding Point of Sale solution for food & beverage. The point of sale system was on its own network and both the point of sale server and cash registers are capable of sending key press and receipt information to another network location. The client was using Avigilon NVR’s and was also on its own network.
Squirrel Professional sends a mixture of information upon event occurrence. Some of the information is human readable, most of it is not. Making the information suitable for humans to read and research was our greatest challenge. The second challenge was to securely isolate the networks from each other while allowing the point of sale information to flow quickly and efficiently. Our third challenge was isolating specific user activity and saving transaction time stamps. Our final challenge was to put our extra ‘icing’ on the cake…what could we provide that was above and beyond expectations while staying on budget?
SOLVING THE BUSINESS PROBLEM
Unified Systems Inc. has a dedicated service department, and a dedicated IT department. Our IT staff regularly reviews and tests new and upcoming hardware and software. Our specific goal is the identification of technologies that are cost-effective and allow us to design and build integrations that solve business problems. So, our first stop was in the IT department.
Our design pros in IT quickly sketched out a network design using a dedicated “Point of Sale Transaction (POST) Server”. This server would sit between the networks, monitoring and routing traffic, all while maintaining security. The IT department then proposed using a brand new software product that they had tested and found to be very exciting; Universal Data Relay. This software is essentially a ‘digital swiss army knife’…it has so many network attachments that it can connect anything together!
Finally – the IT department had to get down to the grunt work of programming and configuring the server, Universal Data Relay, and the Text Transaction service on the Avigilon NVRs. This is Unified Systems’ competitive advantage – dedicated IT personnel, experienced in programming and interfacing a wide variety of technologies.
The deployment went very smoothly and our client began seeing the embedded point of sale transaction within his Avigilon camera system immediately. Transactions were tied to the cameras that were viewing the cash registers. Testing was successful. Transactions that were previously unreadable were easily understood by operators. Only useful information was recorded – unnecessary data was removed. Searching for specific items sold within the camera system yielded matching results with the point of sale reports. A simple search for ‘void’ or ‘no sale’ or ‘vodka tonic’ immediately gave them a list of every event with linked video. Clicking on the event allowed them to immediately view the video footage.
The ‘icing on the cake’ was setting up pan/tilt/zoom cameras to turn and focus on specific events.
After deployment, our client used the integration to eliminate the sources of shrinkage.
Another business problem solved!