Getting to Know PACOM—Advantages for the Retail Market, Part II
In Part I of this continuing series of blogs aimed at specific vertical markets, Richard Joslin, Senior Director – Global sales for PACOM walked us through the unique needs of large retail operations and what PACOM offers to this huge and growing market. In Part II below, we drill down into the advantages PACOM brings to system installation, central system monitoring, real-time reporting, scalability, and more.
How has security for retail evolved—what are the latest innovations improving retail security? Retail security has evolved in several ways and it will continue to evolve. Historically, access was governed by who possessed the key to the front door, often referred to as key management. Key distribution and management are a headache, re-keying is expensive, and keys can easily be lost or copied. Alarm systems were enabled or disabled depending on the time of day and codes were shared among the staff. Loss prevention was predominantly done by internal investigators who “walked the floor” watching for “suspicious” activity. Fast forward and now security and loss prevention are part of a multifaceted electronic network that includes article tracking through imbedded RFID (radio frequency ID) tagging and electronic article scanning (EAS), high resolution video surveillance, centralized access control systems and monitored alarm centers. Exception reporting tools monitor cash register transactions looking for unusual activities such as multiple item deletions, very low dollar amounts, high refund amounts, and no-sales counts. Inventory is now much more automated, allowing shrink to be detected sooner and more accurately. All of these technologies combine to provide modern security and loss prevention teams with a high degree of visibility, control, and interoperability.
What advantages does PACOM offer retail operations when it comes to installation? PACOM solutions provide a highly reliable platform with access control integrated with intrusion alarms. Because it is one system, the inputs and outputs are common, so a passive motion detector can be used as an alarm input when armed and the same device can be a door release during normal store operating hours—eliminating the need for redundant devices. The PACOM system keypad can be used for both alarm and access control and can be combined with a reader to provide multi-factor security. The alarm system can be monitored by any Contact-ID capable third-party provider, and the versatile PACOM GMS software provides the user a single platform to install, configure, and manage both intrusion and access control functions. This makes for simpler installation and maintenance and a proven, cost-effective solution for retail operations.
Do major retail end users use remote central monitoring centers and does the PACOM solution make remote, centralized monitoring more effective? PACOM Systems Event Monitoring and Control System (EMCS) platform manages all the communications between the GMS headend software, the controllers in the field, and third-party monitoring facilities. EMCS not only provides the communications platform, it also provides a cost effective and resilient communications platform with scalable redundancy and disaster recovery options.
What about real time reporting? PACOM Systems’ core software, GMS and EMCS, reside on an SQL (Structured Query Language) database architecture providing a robust reporting and auditing platform. Many common report templates are included with the standard software and custom reports can be easily developed. Customers with 3rd party reporting tools, such as Crystal Reports, can query the database directly for any data element recorded by the system.
How well is the PACOM solution future proofed? What about scalability? PACOM has a long history of backward compatibility, and the company is constantly developing new hardware and software solutions, so as a customer builds out their deployment, they can be confident that what is installed today will continue to be supported tomorrow. The systems allow massive scalability from one to more than 10,000 sites, empowering even the largest retailers to deploy globally and manage centrally, regionally, and/or locally depending on their preferred management model. As we continue to develop new features, functionalities and third-party integrations, PACOM Systems will adapt and expand to meet the needs of the future in retail. In addition, the PACOM platform can often reuse the same devices that were in place with the retailer’s legacy alarm systems such as contacts, output devices (strobes, sirens, etc.), and if they had access control, the door locking hardware and readers can be connected to the new PACOM systems controllers. Not only are PACOM systems easy to install and massively scalable, they also protect the retailer’s prior investments.