For retailers who’d like to cost-effectively manage store operations and enhance security while off site, there is a new product coming to market that one beta tester describes as “unique and amazing.”
ADT Pulse Interactive Business Solutions was developed by ADT Security Services, a leading provider of security and management solutions for homes and businesses.
Jason Feng, operations manager of the Wireless-To-Go chain, one of the retailers that beta tested ADT Pulse, is impressed with “how it works and how it’s made us more efficient and productive.”
Wireless-To-Go, a Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer, sells smartphones, tablets and Verizon cellular plans through 13 stores in southwest Florida. ADT Pulse Interactive is currently installed in five stores; Feng says it will be chain-wide by the end of the year.
In addition to providing a shrink deterrent and/or evidence in case of a theft, ADT’s Pulse Total Productivity helps protect Wireless-To-Go. Feng says a customer recently came back a week after purchasing a cell phone to return the phone without its box. To avoid paying a restocking fee, the customer claimed the sales associate had kept the box and insisted on getting all his money back.
“With ADT Pulse,” Feng says, “I was able to view the time and day that customer came in and we could see that customer walk out of our store with the phone in its box.
“There is very little theft in our stores, but I can imagine how much we could save if there was.”
Because the system stores 30 days of event information, “it would be very easy to go into the system, go through the video and figure out what happened if we detected theft,” Feng says. “Plus, the system fully integrates with our ADT alarm system.”
Saving on energy costs
ADT Pulse helps retailers save money because “it gives our customers more control of their business,” says Steve Shapiro, group director, product management, for ADT North America Residential/Small Business.
“If the trash gets taken out the back door six times a day, that could be a warning. But now the owner or manager can monitor that for themselves vs. [having] an ADT monitor calling the store whenever incidents happen. When retailers monitor for themselves instead of paying someone else to watch the cameras, they can save 50 to 60 percent a month.”
Three versions of ADT Pulse are currently available. A basic premises protection plan consists of intrusion detection for two doors/windows, remote access and a motion detector; the Enterprise View delivers everything in the premise control package plus two wireless cameras and secure real-time video viewing.
Total Productivity, the premium package, includes all the above plus the ability to remotely control lights, thermostats and small appliances.
In addition to secure, real-time online video viewing, the software can be programmed to create events that will trigger messages to the monitors. One of the events that Feng set up programmed the cameras to film and save everything that happens in the 30 seconds before and after a front or back door opens. The video clips are saved for 30 days.
Feng says the initial investment in system hardware was reasonable, and the monthly charges are paying for themselves through energy cost savings. If managers forget to turn off lights or turn up the temperature on the air conditioners when they close the store, the program does it for them. It will even turn off a coffeepot if someone in the store forgets to do so.
“We have 13 stores pretty spread out, with some three hours away from where we are,” says Feng. “When we hire new people, we can remotely log in and monitor employees, so we don’t always need to be on locations to see what is going on. My most-used features are remote video viewing and remote access.”
Wireless-To-Go will generate an ROI on its up-front costs “very quickly,” he says.
Unique and solid
ADT Pulse can be set up for additional users. At Wireless-To-Go, Feng has given store managers the ability to log in and see what’s happening in their stores, but they do not have the ability to arm or disarm the stores.
“I want to know if something goes wrong,” he says. “If an employee doesn’t open or close a store on time ... I’ll know it because of the event messages, and I’d be able to talk to that employee the next time I see him.”
Feng also appreciates that the program gives him the ability to remotely put out fires and catch things employees may have missed. “I can … do things that need doing even if I’m not on-site, so problems can easily be resolved ... I can easily turn lights on or off or change the thermostats, all from my phone and computer.”
Employees, he says, can usually remember to activate the alarm at night and turn off the lights because they can see these things need doing, but they will sometimes forget to change the temperature controls on the air conditioner.
“That costs us money, but now since we get messages on our mobile devices whenever that happens, we can fix it and the money we save easily offsets the monthly costs of the program.”
Going forward, ADT Pulse will be installed in all new Wireless-To-Go stores. “This system was created very well,” Feng says. “It’s a solid product — it just works. Nothing is too crazy, too fancy or too pretty. And it’s very reliable and affordable.”
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