OLDSMAR, Fla. — Feb. 20, 2020 — Because things like lumber and mulch can’t easily fit into a shopping cart, home improvement stores provide customers with drive-up access to nearby yards where they can pick up large or heavy items. While this makes things easy for customers, it also turns the yards into targets for criminals.
It’s the reason one major home improvement retailer turned to industry innovator PlateSmart Technologies for loss prevention assistance at its yards. After suffering millions of dollars in losses to brazen thieves who took advantage of good-natured employees and certain security limitations, the retailer said enough is enough.
“Thieves would visit the retailer’s locations in other cities or states with a receipt and a fictional hard-luck story about having forgotten to pick up their products,” said John Chigos, CEO, PlateSmart. “Customer service-oriented employees would let them in. Because the client’s POS (point-of-sale) system did not yet communicate with stores in other regions, thieves would hit multiple locations and double-, triple- or quadruple-dip.”
Enter PlateSmart ARES® AI- and deep learning-based automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) and vehicle recognition software, which was deployed to hundreds of the retailer’s stores. When a vehicle approaches the security guard shack, PlateSmart ARES automatically reads the vehicle’s license plate and jurisdiction with a time/date stamp and captures a picture. This data is recorded and accessible via the retailer’s new POS system, which now connects all locations, regardless of state/region.
If security suspects that someone might be trying to enter the yard under false pretenses, the guard can check for the vehicle information in the POS system.
“Thieves can’t sweet-talk their way into the yard anymore,” Chigos said. “If they say, ‘I wasn’t here before,’ the security guard can say, ‘Your vehicle was at such-and-such location on such-and-such date. Here’s the plate information.’”
The store can also share the license plate with law enforcement, if necessary.
Chigos said that AI-based tools like PlateSmart ARES are rapidly replacing traditional solutions for vehicle access control across a number of markets because they can provide more data than just the vehicle plate. ARES can also complement traditional technologies like RFID by providing secondary vehicle verification. In either case, PlateSmart ARES ALPR and vehicle recognition technology is rapidly becoming the most sought-after vehicle perimeter security solution.
PlateSmart engineers performed a custom integration between its ARES ALPR and vehicle recognition software and the retailer’s POS system. Chigos said that such integration is all in a day’s work. As a software-only solution, PlateSmart is easy and cost-effective to integrate with a retailers existing surveillance cameras and security infrastructure, such as a video management system (VMS) or POS system. And when it’s time to upgrade or expand, it’s a software upgrade rather than a costly hardware replacement.
For retailers who want even tighter security, they can work with local law enforcement via PlateSmart Network. The first tool of its kind, this extension of PlateSmart ARES allows a retailer to share every plate read with local cooperating authorities who compare it to their eyes-only hotlists. If they get a hit on a vehicle associated with a wanted individual, law enforcement can be dispatched to the location immediately and apprehend thieves.
“Retailers can enjoy a rapid return on their investment due to the ease of installation and maintenance as well as the improvement in loss prevention,” Chigos said. “We’re in talks right now with other major retailers about providing similar perimeter security to their locations.”
PlateSmart was the first company on the market to offer ALPR and video analytics as a software-only, camera-agnostic solution. The company was also the first to utilize early AI technology in the software. PlateSmart recently rolled out a new AI- and deep learning-based version of the PlateSmart ARES enterprise software that can identify multiple vehicle attributes, including the plate, its jurisdiction, vehicle make, color and orientation, to name a few.
PlateSmart never touches the data its software creates without express permission; that data is the sole property of the end user and is subject to access and retention policies within their jurisdiction. When PlateSmart does ask to access data, it is only to improve the software’s capabilities.
PlateSmart Technologies developed the original software-only license plate recognition (LPR) solution, PlateSmart ARES®, which is compatible with virtually all video management systems (VMS) and IP cameras. Designed to function as a stand-alone tool or integrate with third-party software and hardware, PlateSmart ARES provides near-real-time actionable vehicle intelligence for complete situational awareness. The software offers true object recognition instead of simple optical character recognition (OCR), which allows it to read the plate as well as the state jurisdiction and vehicle make. PlateSmart has earned multiple industry awards for excellence in security technology.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS: This press release may contain forward-looking statements and/or predictions. These statements are based on history, current knowledge, and current market conditions. They are subject to change without notice as conditions and knowledge change; therefore, undue reliance should not be placed on such statements.