JD Sports Fashion Plc is established as the leading UK specialist retailer of fashionable sports and casual wear with over 900 stores, mainly bearing the JD Sports brand, and around 10,000 group employees. The Company also owns stores in France and Spain and earlier this year acquired the assets of outdoor clothing and camping equipment company, Blacks Leisure.
As one of the highest profile UK retailers, the safety and protection of JD’s employees, customers and property isanabsolute priority. CCTV and alarm monitoring of the Company’s estate is provided inhouse from JD’s own technically advanced control room using Gemini software developed and supplied by Bold Communications. Gemini software is widely used in commercial alarm receiving centres as well as private control rooms for alarm and CCTV monitoring.
The significant volume of desirable stock managed by JD inevitably makes it a target for thieves. In response, security processes and procedures are continuously reviewed and, in terms of technology, the Company has a forward looking and proactive approach.
JD Sports and Bold
JD Sports and Bold Communications, who have worked together for a number of years, carried out a thorough going review of the company’s security monitoring requirements. A number of objectives were sought, among them the capability for a monitoring solution which could bring together the various technologies and security products used into a single management system. Of equal importance was confidence that the software development platform and environment was capable of embracing new technology as it becomes available.
This was particularly relevant as the Company has in recent years acquired a number of existing sports and fashion retail businesses, some of them overseas and all with a diverse range of installed security solutions. Equally important was the need for the alarm monitoring software to be simple for control room operators to learn and use and, to maximise the investment, effective and responsive technical support.
Gemini Monitoring Software
On the basis of the JD’s requirements, Bold Gemini software was selected as the integrated monitoring solution. Gemini system features are based on working with an extensive and diverse group of monitoring customers over a period of 30 years in this sector. The customer types range from commercial BS5979 Cat II alarm receiving centres and remote video receiving centres to council clients and other corporate and retail organisations. The result has been software design innovation to enhance and automate the monitoring process, achieve overhead savings and enlarge the range of monitoring services which the control room can offer to its users. For the future, Bold’s software development team continuously add new interfaces, modules and features, ensuring that Gemini remains the best possible fit for the UK monitoring market.
One of the unique characteristics underlying the success of Gemini software is the way it has been developed with integration designed in at the planning stage. This differentiates the product from those solutions intended primarily as video management or alarm monitoring systems with integration added as an afterthought. With the ‘designed in’ approach, for example, multiple CCTV systems are presented to the operator in exactly the same way as conventional alarms, lone worker solutions and other security systems. Events generated from IP cameras or video analytics are processed and prioritised in the same way as a conventional digi or Redcare alarm. This design methodology makes Gemini a compelling proposition for control room monitoring.
Gemini handles the complete range of communications modes and alarm signalling protocols, and supports all the leading CCTV control room solutions, including Adpro, Dedicated Micros, Heitel and Tele Eye. UK and European industry standard IP alarm signalling systems can be handled within the software. The hybrid capability to manage IP panels, like Texecom Montex and Honeywell Galaxy, as well as conventional PSTN-based Digicom alarms was another reason that JD found persuasive in their choice of monitoring platform.
Setting up new sites and administering the system is simplified, and configurations are created specifically to match the user’s needs. Additional operators, software interfaces and modules can easily be added as required.
Technical Support Important
Tim Edwards, JD Group Loss Control Director, commented, “We were already familiar with Bold’s reputation for technology innovation and monitoring expertise. We required a single system to meet all our current and future requirements, and it was important that Bold were able to demonstrate continuous investment in and development of their monitoring platform. The Gemini software does exactly what we need and Bold were able to take care of all aspects of the installation, including working with existing installed equipment and all backed up with 24/7 technical support. The operators are positive about using the software which is well thought out, easy to use and provides surprising value for money.”
Bold Communications is a technology leader in the security communications and management sector, having completed a wide range of monitoring projects for many different types of clients. Gemini software is a UK developed, multi-protocol monitoring solution used in many of the leading commercial BS5979 alarm receiving centres as well as private control rooms. Gemini provides a total solution with CCTV monitoring, lone worker protection, asset tracking, access control and other modules and security product interfaces, all supported by a team of specialist field technicians.