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Morrisons secures critical infrastructure sites

By Retail Technology | Friday April 25 2014

Successful upgrade of facilities security and management systems ensures monitoring and rapid response capabilities for UK supermarket chain

Wm Morrison Supermarkets has upgraded key facilities security and management systems to secure access and reduce management complexity, it has been revealed this week.

The UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain is using digital high-resolution, network-based video security systems from manufacturer MOBOTIX across 40 critical sites to support its retail “farm to fork” business strategy.

Wm Morrison Supermarkets operates over 500 stores, various online retail brands and subsidiaries, including a manufacturer and distributor of food products Farmers Boy Limited; meat processing business Woodhead Bros; wholesale flower business FlowerWorld Limited, and other business interests.

The company prides itself on its hands on approach to the food distribution chain and, in 2008, the newly appointed data centre services manager, Darryl Shears, launched a programme to strengthen the resilience and security around its critical IT infrastructure as part of a wider software migration from legacy systems to a unified Oracle based platform.

Proactive monitoring requirements

“We have sites that range from northern Scotland, to Bridgwater in the south west and Sittingbourne in the south east and managing this estate from a centralised team in Bradford is a logistics challenge,” explained Shears. “We need to be able to monitor key comms rooms and IT equipment remotely both proactively to stop any issues from escalating and to react quickly to ensure any problems are dealt with effectively.”

Morrisons to upgrade each of these vital IT and communications rooms with environmental monitoring, remote surveillance and remote access control technology. With a requirement for an ultra-reliable, easy to manage yet flexible system, the firm turned to Express Data, a longstanding technical adviser and installation specialist, for assistance.

Following an extensive evaluation programme and based on a number of strong reference site examples, the supermarket group selected a solution including MOBOTIX CCTV cameras, Panduit environmental monitoring and access control technology. 

“The MOBOTIX solution, especially the hemispheric technology allows us to use just one or two cameras to cover single or multiple rooms with the resolution and reliability we required,” said Shears. “In addition, the built-in flash storage support means that we can still record the site even if we have a network connectivity issue.”

Low energy technology specification

The team based in Bradford can use the MOBOTIX cameras to view anybody requiring access to a secure room and remotely open doors and monitor any activity within the room. The system has the option for fully bi-directional audio and requires only 5W per camera, which aligns with the company’s stated aim to use low energy technologies across its operations.

Over the last 24 months, Express Data has worked with Shears and his team to implement upgrades at an additional 11 sites and created a standard blueprint for the resilience and security at each of the critical sites.

The build includes power redundancy and best practice access procedures with a full visual audit trail. In total, the supermarket has deployed around 140 cameras. 

Shears added: “As we roll out new sites or make any changes, we now see MOBOTIX as part of our standard build and the system has proven extremely reliable while seamlessly integrating into our other operational systems and processes.”

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