A.L. Bank Celebrates Ten-Year Milestone With IP Video Surveillance
Arbejdernes Landsbank (AL) in Denmark secures customer, employee and asset safety with a future-proof expandable solution.
Digital Video Surveillance System
It all started ten years ago in the local branch in Hillerød, when A.L. replaced analog videotapes with their first digital video surveillance system, based on open platform software from Milestone Systems. Since then, the solution has been installed in the bank’s 66 branches spread across the country, and thus secures the safety of the bank’s customers and employees.
24 hours a day, 650 cameras keep an eye on A.L’s 66 branches nationwide. A.L. is one of the ten biggest banks in the country, and provides services for thousands of customers, so security has top priority to ensure their well-being along with the employees.
Like most banks, A.L. had installed analog stationary surveillance cameras in 1990. These only recorded images from the time they were activated, for instance, by an attack alarm in the bank, resulting in a lack of video from the entire course of a robbery. So in 1999, A.L. decided to replace the analog video system with a digital network-based solution from Milestone Systems. The solution still works today in all branches of the bank, and the investment proved very fast to be a wise one.
Compensations in Total Cost of Operation (TCO)
“The costs related to the purchase and nationwide installation of the IP video solution was compensated by all the advantages we gained. Handling the digital solution proved to be much less time consuming compared to the analog one, and required fewer resources. Therefore, over three or four years we replaced several analog cameras in our branches, and today all our cameras are based on the Milestones IP platform,” states Henrik Krog-Meyer, Distribution & Operations Manager, responsible for the security system.
The replacement of the analog surveillance happened in phases, concurrently with the renovation of different branches. In 2005, a new law was passed to save all video recordings of incidents that took place outside banks, for example at the ATMs.
A.L. has made the most of previous security investments by still using some analog cameras that are run through Axis encoders to digitalize the video date managed by Milestone XProtect Enterprise. The software handles all recordings from the 650 cameras, providing views of live or archived video and export of evidence to share with authorities.
Bank Security System
Daily system checks centrally, remotely
Each branch of the bank has a server that stores the local data, and at any given time employees with special clearance and access are also able to remotely find specific recordings from the bank’s central security department.
Every morning Mikael Skovgaard, the Traffic Manager of the bank’s distribution and supply, arrives at A.L. headquarters and checks first thing all cameras and components of the bank security system throughout the branches. They operate over separate networks in each branch. However, it is always possible for the administrators of A.L. to monitor and control the surveillance remotely.
Moreover, the central administrators can assist employees of the bank, correcting errors in the camera installations if necessary (re-align positioning, for example). This saves time and thereby money, since it is no longer necessary to send people out to each branch.
The employees in each branch do not need to bother checking the recordings, however, which are handled by the security system administrators, letting the bankers focus on doing their job: financially servicing the customers.
Less robberies and greater safety
The video surveillance records 24 hours a day, from both outside the bank at ATMs and inside the branches where the cameras are placed strategically.
“The primary goal is to protect our customers and employees. We also use surveillance to monitor and prevent card misuse at the ATMs, and we are also able to check if customers use false checks. Finally, surveillance has become indispensable in robbery cases. The recordings provide additional security for the employees, and at the same time great help for the police when conducting investigations,” says Krog-Meyer.
Previously, A.L. experienced robbery attempts once a month, but the number of robbery attempts have now dropped significantly. The general introduction of video surveillance has contributed greatly to this decline, points out Krog-Meyer.
In case of bank robberies or card misuse at the ATMs, A.L. shares the video recording of the incidents to the police. They are high quality recordings, and the police are able to watch all recordings to get an overview of the entire course of actions. It is also possible via Milestone software to zoom in on the video images to get more details of a perpetrator, which makes it easier for the police to compare the images with photos in existing criminal databases.
When the evidence is given to the police, A.L. creates a log with exact notations of which police employees the pictures have been shared with and when. Otherwise, the daily video recordings are set up to be automatically deleted after 30 days. Other banks also notify A.L. if their customers have experienced card abuse at one of A.L.’s ATMs. In such cases a CD with the relevant video is made, and kept in the custody of the police for further investigation.
Great support from the employees
Video surveillance has resulted in increased security for A.L. employees. However, before deciding whether video surveillance should be introduced, the bank’s health and safety committee discussed the matter with them. An essential factor was that all video recordings should be managed centrally.
In the beginning, there was some skepticism among employees. However, the acceptance of surveillance increased as the employees realized that the video system did not entail their manager watching their daily work, but instead involved only a small group of trusted security responsible employees to watch the recordings, and only in case of robbery or other abuse.
Today, the employees are very satisfied with the security system, even coming up with suggestions on how to extend the existing video surveillance,” notes Krog-Meyer.
Ten years with the leading technology
How does the future look regarding surveillance in A.L.? For now it looks like the bank’s needs in video surveillance are fulfilled but ten years expanding the system have proven its scalability. This also goes for the additional five branches of Roskilde Bank which A.L. acquired recently. Three of them already used Milestone’s surveillance solution and the others will be easy to add.
“During the last ten years we have upgraded our surveillance system via the Milestone platform, and thereby continuously future-proofed the security we want to ensure for our customers and employees. And the word has spread: representatives from Swedish hospital services and several foreign banks have visited A.L. to see how well the technology works. They were impressed,” concludes Henrik Krog-Meyer.