A network of Italian consumers’ co-operatives, Co-op Italia Società Co-operativa, operates the largest supermarket chain in Italy, generating annual revenue of 13.2 billion euros. From a humble beginning, with the first Co-operative shop established in 1854 in Turin, the chain now has 1,444 shops and 56,682 employees. Looking to update their in-store CCTV, two pilot stores from the chain have had their coax cable based analogue surveillance systems upgraded to IP, using Network Video Technologies (NVT) Ethernet over Coax (EoC) technology.
For many years, Co-op Italia has employed comprehensive CCTV systems across all of its stores as part of its overall security strategy, installed throughout its buildings and car parks. However, with advancements in electronic surveillance performance, the existing analogue systems were proving to be lagging behind the image quality and systems capabilities of today’s technology, so an upgrade to IP cameras was considered.
Wanting to take advantage of IP cameras, but not to simply discard the investments Co-op had made in their coax cable infrastructure over the years, the company turned to Sistemi e Integrazioni Srl and their partner Videoline by Trolese (a brand of Trolese Srl), with their experience of more than 15 years working with CCTV and NVT to provide practical solutions.
Supported by the experience of Videoline by Trolese, Sistemi e Integrazioni Srl recommended employing IP cameras in the Co-op’s retail environment, to capitalise on the benefits of increased resolution and the ability to ‘zoom in’ to the recorded footage should an incident occur. The higher resolution advantage could prove vital in identifying individuals or the actions of individuals whilst in the stores and car parks. Additionally, the new IP cameras would enable the use of the latest generation VMS control software and advanced analytics that could be used to identify vehicle registration plates, etc.
Typically, for a new installation, IP cameras would be installed along with UTP Cat5 cable to transmit their images back to the control and recording equipment. However, in the case of the Co-op upgrades, replacing the existing coax cable infrastructure was not a desired option, as this would have caused major disruption to the stores’ daily business whilst it was being replaced.
To fulfill the requirement, Sistemi e Integrazioni Srl suggested an innovative and cost saving solution. Marco Zuliani – Technical Manager of Sistemi e Integrazioni Srl explains: “Initially, twenty-four cameras in the Savona store and sixteen in the Genova outlet were required to be replaced with new IP models. The Genova store had cameras covering only the car park, but the Savona store had cameras both in the car park and in the store. When we specified the replacement IP cameras, we also suggested the use of NVT EoC transmission technology that would allow 10/100 BaseT Ethernet and PoE+ power to be transmitted using the existing coax cable infrastructure at both sites. This would save valuable installation time, disruption to the daily business operation, and costs.”
Multiple NVT NV-EC1701-KIT4 kits were used, which allowed groups of four cameras to utilize their existing coax cable runs back to the control room where they were connected to a single NVT NV-EC1701. This ensured maximum economy from the installation and meant product spend was kept to a minimum.
Additionally, the Savona store had two existing analogue cameras transmitted via Cat5 UTP cable. These were also replaced with IP units and images transmitted back to the control room using the NVT Eo2 NV-EC1701U-KIT2. This again meant no change of wiring infrastructure, thanks to the flexibility of the NVT technology.
Using the existing cable infrastructure, images from the new cameras are transmitted to on-site monitoring rooms within each store. Additionally, the store managers can access live and recorded footage in their offices. This will assist the managers with overall site management, saving valuable time and increasing operational efficiency by providing an instant overview of each store and its adjacent car park.
“Since we finished the installations, Co-op managers have been extremely impressed with the quality of the camera images they are receiving at the various monitor locations,” explains Marco Zuliani. “Also, the access to high-quality VMS software the new IP surveillance systems brings is allowing vehicle registration plate recognition and basic analytics to be used. The increase in image quality is such a contrast compared to the old analogue systems, that the Co-op security team is finding it hard to believe that they were still using the existing cabling at the upgraded sites. This is a great compliment and the best result we could have hoped for.”
Marco Lazzaroni from Videoline By Trolese concludes: “The strategy for an upgrade from analogue to IP surveillance has been very successful, and has already simplified and improved site management, health & safety, and security procedures for Co-op staff. Using these installations as a pilot, it is likely that this same format using NVT’s EoC transmission equipment at its heart, will be rolled out at other Co-op stores across Italy.”