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Antonine Centre Chooses Customisable, Dependable, Next-Generation Communications with Increased Coverage and Enhanced Voice Clarity
The Antonine Centre in Cumbernauld, which opened in 2007 has 42 shops in 350,000 square feet of retail space and 3,000 parking spaces and is one of Scotland’s newest retail and leisure complexes. Part of an urban regeneration initiative, Antonine has been hailed by councillors as signalling the rebirth of the town Centre and has led to the creation of more than 600 jobs. Retail analyst CACI estimates that the creation of the new mall will increase spend in Cumbernauld town centre by as much as 84%.
Deterring Retail Theft with Instant, Secure, Discreet Communications
The Antonine Centre needed a reliable communications system to enable members of its shop watch scheme to alert each other and the Mall Security Officer to the presence of known criminals or troublemakers. Shopalert was created to help protect retailers against the rising cost of shoplifting by enabling stores to work together to tackle criminals.
The Antonine Centre was already using Motorola Professional Series analogue radios to streamline some of its routine, day-to-day activities. Cleaning operatives, security personnel and the managerial team were using Motorola Professional Series radios to keep in touch with colleagues throughout the 75-hour trading week.
The Centre now wanted to extend its use of 2 Way Radios to build a system that could provide the most effective deterrent against groups of well-equipped, fast-moving thieves.
MOTOTRBO Offers Better Value for Money with Improved Coverage, Greater Operational Flexibility and Backwards Compatibility with Analogue
Digital two-way radio was chosen to provide a secure, discreet communication system with no risk of transmissions being compromised by eavesdroppers. The Centre’s local Motorola Authorised Dealer demonstrated how MOTOTRBO digital radios could provide greater coverage and improved audio clarity than analogue and enable users to make both one-to-one and group calls. The increased battery power would extend battery life by up to 40%, enabling the radios to be used throughout the entire 11-hour trading day without recharging.
The radios were pre-programmed to users’ needs by the Centre’s Motorola Authorized Dealer, which ensured a rapid set-up and seamless go-live. User training took only 20 minutes thanks to the cellular look and feel of the handsets. MOTOTRBO handsets cost around 10% more than analgoue, but their higher specification and wider feature set meant they could meet Antonine’s needs more effectively and offer better long-term value.
Shopalert was an immediate success, with 10 of the larger outlets, including Next, River Island, Woolworth’s, Dunnes Stores, TK Maxx, Dorothy Perkins and Birthdays, joining immediately. Each
shop has a MOTOTRBO DP 3400 hand portable that is used by managers or door security staff to alert all other scheme members and the Mall Security Officer simultaneously to troublemakers. Around 70% of all calls made are broadcast to all users but retailers can also request a one-to-one call with the Mall Security Officer if they want to discuss an incident discreetly, without alerting all users. Pushing the blue button
on the side of the radio sends a pre-determined text message to the security officer asking for a private call. The on-duty security controller carries a MOTOTRBO DP 3600, which has an alphanumeric display enabling the controller to identify the caller instantly.
Around 30% of transmissions are one-to-one and caller identification is a particularly useful feature for the Antonine Centre. Knowing who is calling
enables security staff to respond more rapidly to any situation that arises. They can also take advantage of MOTOTRBO’s interoperability between analogue and digital to ask the CCTV controller using the Motorola Professional Series radios to train cameras on any particular store or alert the police immediately if required
If an emergency situation arises, users can press the orange button located on top of the MOTOTRBO radios. This transmits their identity to the controller and all other radios which emit an audible signal to alert users. The radios can also be deactivated remotely by the controller to protect against theft and misuse. If a lost radio is subsequently found, it can be revived over the air by the controller.
Around 40 calls each day are made by the mall security officer and three or four by each Shopalert member. Most transmissions last only 10-20 seconds but some longer calls last for up to one minute. MOTOTRBO’s high-quality audio transmission virtually eliminates background noise and ensures that there are no black spots across the entire complex. Speech clarity is excellent, there are no scrambled messages, and all communications are transmitted loud and clear. The ability to transmit messages securely, knowing that there is no risk of them being intercepted, is a major advantage over analogue and of considerable benefit in the fight against crime.
The wider range of digital reduces hardware purchasing and operating costs by eliminating the need for a base station to provide coverage across the entire shopping area and its three outlying car parks. MOTOTRBO’s broad feature set means that new functionality can be added incrementally as the shopwatch scheme’s needs expand, making it a scalable, future-proofed, cost-effective solution.
Shoplifting Cut as 30% Join Shopalert Immediately and a Further 20% of Retailers Set to Join when all Outlets are Fully Operational
Shopalert has been very successful in deterring theft at the Antonine Centre where notices announcing the crime prevention initiatives in place have been displayed in every participating shop. Since going live with the MOTOTRBO radios very few instances of attempted shoplifting have been reported. The scheme is currently live in 30% of the stores that are already open, a figure that is set to increase to 50% when all outlets are fully operational. Most non-participants are either very small stores or shops that provide a service rather than sell goods, such as
hairdressers, where the risk of theft is not a significant problem.
Digital transmission prevents the risk of professional shoplifters with frequency scanners being able to eavesdrop on calls. The improved speech clarity
of digital over analogue means that messages get through first time, even against the constant
background noise of a busy mall. MOTOTRBO’s ability to enable callers to make one-to-one as well as group calls ensures that users who are not part of a call remain undisturbed.
MOTOTRBO’s interoperability between analogue and digital means that the Shopalert radios could be programmed to operate with the Motorola analogue hand portables used by cleaning staff, security
and Centre managers. MOTOTRBO will ease user migration from analogue to digital in the longer term.