Annuncicom 200 design simplifies installation and offers a single connection to a network switch and loudspeaker
Barix Annuncicom 200 two-way IP audio devices were employed for public address

Barix AG is helping Goodwill Industries of East Texas reduce theft and vandalism at its stores by adding voice to its existing video surveillance systems. The security team reports a 99 percent donation retention since installing Barix two-way IP audio and monitoring solutions at three locations, with plans to roll out the technology across all 15 regional stores.

The non-profit stores provide low-cost, high-quality items to customers, and regularly accept donations at all locations.  The company has long used a closed-circuit television network to monitor and record visitors as they drop off donations at store exteriors  -- and capture evidence of criminal activity. They recently began looking at ways to communicate directly with visitors when necessary.

"We have always done live video monitoring for after-hours donations at our stores, but have experienced a lot of theft over the past year," said Chris Ryter, loss prevention and safety manager for Goodwill Industries of East Texas. "I had this idea that the thefts would stop or subside if we could communicate with subjects, let them know they are being recorded, and warn them to leave the property before we call the police.  And we have had a significant reduction in theft and vandalism since adding Barix."

Ryter was looking for an IP-based audio solution that could complement his CCTV system but operate independently with low overhead costs.  He also required a solution that offered centralised monitoring, simple installation and a quick learning curve with overall ease of use. He opted for Barix Annuncicom 200 two-way IP audio devices for public address, and Barix ICGraph software for centralised remote device control and location monitoring.

Ryter noted that the Annuncicom 200 design simplifies installation through Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability, offering a single connection to a network switch and loudspeaker. Furthermore, an integrated amplifier reduces equipment costs and infrastructure, with plenty of power to drive intelligible human voice at store exteriors. 

But he stressed that ICGraph was the key driver of the system, offering a series of 36 customisable buttons that allow security personnel to target announcements to one or more locations with a simple mouse click.

"We have spent about a quarter of a million on video equipment, and while it has given us a good return the addition of Annuncicom and ICGraph has changed the game," said Ryter.  "Letting people know that there is someone on the other end of these cameras and monitoring the situation makes all the difference.  Barix was also the only company that could offer us an audio solution that wouldn't interfere with our video system, or otherwise cost us additional money for rental and monitoring fees.  We're saving at least $30,000 in comparison to other solutions we looked at, and based on early success we estimate a potential savings of $16,000 a week by stopping the nighttime donation theft at our stores."

Ryter confirms that he has been "greenlighted" to expand the solution to all 15 stores, and potentially to administration and warehouse buildings as needed.  He is also looking into how to utilize the return channel of the Annuncicom 200 for audio recording in compliance with federal laws.

"Barix specialises in bringing the 'ears' and the 'mouth' to go with the 'eyes' in professional surveillance solutions," said Johannes G. Rietschel, CEO and founder of Barix AG. "Barix is capable of directly integrating audio capabilities into video systems, or providing low-cost solutions for customers like Goodwill Industries of East Texas that wish to use audio solutions autonomously.  The common goal is helping our customers better communicate with subjects, from general public address and intercom capability to reducing or eliminating criminal activity through alarms and verbal warnings."