3VR Video Evidence Retrieval Helps Parkway Protect Customers, Property
By Jeff Karnes
Parkway Corp. is an 85 year-old, family-owned commercial parking and real estate firm that develops, manages and leases approximately 90 parking facilities across the U.S.and Canada. The Philadelphia-based company has implemented completely automated parking processes at many of its facilities, and many are now utilizing solar-powered parking equipment.
Parkway had a basic security solution in place, one relying essentially on cameras and VCRs that were recording activity in its facilities and storing video for 30 days. The video was used initially to count cars to ensure that those parked matched the number of tickets issued at the entry gate. Even with the video recording, employees still had to walk the facility each evening to manually record every car by color and license plate to prove which cars were left overnight and accurately charge customers who claimed to have lost their ticket.
Parkway Director of Security and Asset Protection Charles Craige began looking for a more robust video surveillance solution that could offer easier access to video evidence for revenue control and claims detection.
He also was interested in finding a solution that could improve the company’s ability to prevent, detect and prosecute crimes, and centrally monitor activity at remote locations.
Craige selected the 3VR Inc. VisionPoint suite of software and solutions that combines the record-and-store functionality of traditional video management software (VMS) with a unique ability to search and analyze specific content within the video.
This forensic search capability enables investigators to find more granular data and evidence in just minutes. Craige was specifically interested in 3VR’s video analytics, such as license plate recognition (LPR) and “Dwell Time.”
Parkway conducted a pilot program with San Francisco-based 3VR, and the results convinced management to install the 3VR system in all its owned and leased locations.
• Dramatically increased efficiency in video review and retrieval.
• Improved proactive customer service.
• Increased customer satisfaction levels.
• Received two civic awards for prompt delivery of evidence to
Improving the Bottom Line
The system’s LPR analytic created significant efficiencies for Parkway, management said. Instead of requiring attendants to walk the garage nightly to manually record all license plates, now all plate numbers are captured by video as the vehicle enters the garage.
So if a customer loses his ticket, he can simply provide his license plate number, and the customer service representative (CSR) can run a search using LPR analytics to verify how long the car was in the lot and accurately charge the customer, preserving Parkway revenue.
The solution also directly helped Parkway solve several crimes, as reported in the Philadelphia region’s business journal in July 2013.
Around mid-June 2013, one of its larger locations had been experiencing an uptick in theft from autos, as a result of two people exploring the garage and searching for unlocked cars. The team burglarized about 30 vehicles over the course of six weeks, at not only Parkway locations, but throughout the city.
A witness spotted a purple PT Cruiser at the time of one of the incidents, and with 3VR video analytics, Parkway was able to get the license plate of the suspects’ vehicle and place an alert on it. The next time the suspects entered the garage, an email alert was sent to Craige, who was able to immediately notify police and catch them in the act.
Parkway also uses the 3VR Dwell Time analytic to offer added security in unstaffed lots. These facilities have parking kiosks where customers must enter their parking spot number to pay. Craige’s team discovered that criminals had started impersonating attendants, telling customers the kiosk was broken and taking their cash.
The company was able to use the Dwell Time analytic to alert security whenever someone was seen loitering near the paystation. This allowed it to catch criminals on multiple occasions, protecting the company’s revenue, as well as ensuring customer safety.
“As a result of 3VR video analytics and automatic alerts, our customers can be confident that our facilities are safe and their vehicles are protected,” Craige said.
(Parkway also uses the Dwell Time analytic to secure remote areas in garages that might be used for illegal activity. The 3VR solution will automatically send an alert when anyone is seen loitering in those areas.)
The VisionPoint VMS also includes powerful case management tools built into the solution to help build stronger cases for law enforcement by organizing video and documents into a centralized, online case folder. Parkway uses this functionality to save claims for review and to share video evidence across the company, as well as with law enforcement when appropriate.
“We have received merit awards from the Citizens Crime Commission of Philadelphia and Drexel University for our ability to deliver video evidence in a timely manner using 3VR,” Craige said.
A Better Customer Experience
The company also has leveraged video technology to improve customer service by creating a customer care center that is available 24 hours a day. Customers can press a button in a parking facility to contact customer service if they are stuck at a gate or a machine is not working, or if they have a question about their account or any general concern.
The VisionPoint API and Dwell automatically alerts customer care if a parker is stationed at a gate for more than 90 seconds, so he doesn’t even have to act − customer care will reach out proactively to ask if he needs assistance. CSRs can see the customer on camera and speak with him via Voice-over-IP technology integrated to a single user interface with 3VR’s API.
Parkway is now looking at integrating video with point-of-sale systems and upgrading to higher quality cameras.
Additionally, the company and 3VR are discussing how VisionPoint’s Dashboard feature can leverage the existing security platform to deliver a detailed analysis of activity, including people-counting, dwell patterns, and heat maps − all correlated with POS data that can be used to improve the customer experience, optimize staffing levels, and analyze performance across properties and regions.
“3VR’s unique forensic search capability has enabled Parkway to achieve significant efficiencies,” Craige said. “We also are now able to find video evidence of a crime in just minutes, allowing us to quickly provide evidence to law enforcement.”
Jeff Karnes is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Operations for 3VR. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org