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Video adds new dimension to Bonhams' bidding

By Retail Technology | Thursday March 28 2013

New high-definition network IPTV camera system adds sight and sound to global bidding application of world-famous auction house

Bonhams, one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, is using Axis cameras to bring live video feed to its worldwide ‘LiveBid’ bidding application.

The indoor internet protocol (IP) based surveillance system installed at the world-famous auction house incorporates Axis P5534 pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) dome network cameras that have been introduced to its existing LiveBid bidding application to provide a live sound and video feed meaning that bidders could not only hear the auctioneer but actually see them.

Taking technology step further

Robin Porter, business development manager of Quru, which installed the system, said: “We have worked with Bonhams to streamline its IT and develop a bespoke ERP [enterprise resource planning] application to manage its entire auction process. Taking this a step further, we developed an interactive application, LiveBid, that would allow registered users to bid live on auction lots from anywhere in the world.

“We developed the video application and started the pilot at Bonhams New Bond Street HQ and the trial coincided with a renovation of the building so the solution could be installed at this time.”

The initial proof of concept was trialled for six months before it was rolled out and uses Axis P5534 Network Cameras specified and provided after close collaboration between Axis and its partner, Azlan, the enterprise division of Tech Data Corporation.

Matthew Girling, chief executive of Bonhams in Europe, added: “We wanted to make the auction process accessible to those parties that cannot make it. Auctions shouldn’t be exclusive to those that can attend, and telephone bids require an intermediary.

Beyond simply security benefits

“Video has made improvements to our business that we could not have conceived before the trial. Historically, surveillance cameras and CCTV were something that we saw purely as a security measure and not a tool we could use to really improve the way we run our business.”

Atul Rajput, Axis Communications regional director of Northern Europe, concluded: “This is a great example of the convergence away from analogue CCTV to digital IP surveillance. It is capable of so much more than traditional security, enabling applications that optimise business processes, built upon an open standards platform that offers opportunities for IT integrators to offer bespoke development.

“All our cameras provide Bonham’s with the benefits of remote access via the internet and excellent HDTV-quality images, offering distinct advantages over legacy analogue systems in the way that footage can be accessed and analysed. The LiveBid system has been so successful that it has been rolled-out to other Bonhams’ auction houses across the globe.”

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