OPERATIONS

Penney teams up with Motorola to take a bite out of retail crime

BY Dan Berthiaume

In the 1980s, animated public service commercials featuring McGruff the Crime Dog exhorted viewers that: “Together, we can take a bite out of crime.” Two decades later, department store retailer J.C. Penney is taking that spirit of teamwork to cooperatively use technology to combat retail crime in the greater Chicago area.

J.C. Penney is donating a 5,500-sq.-ft. center in the North Riverside Park Mall in North Riverside, Ill., to assist efforts of the Cook County Regional Organized Crime (CCROC) Task Force in combating the prevalent problem of organized retail crime (ORC). The center will house law enforcement offices for various police departments, government agencies and retailers for the purpose of hands-on training and collaboration.

Mark Van Beest, director of global security investigations for J.C. Penney, said the project launched roughly three years ago when the Cook County State’s Attorney Office formed a task force to bring together retailers and law enforcement, but picked up steam about eight to nine months ago when J.C. Penney realized it had spare brick-and-mortar space at the North Riverside Park Mall location.

“It’s a one-stop shop for building an investigative strategy,” said Van Beest. “You can delve into incidents utilizing the technology available and pull cases together for prosecution.”

Technology is a key component to the success of this joint venture aimed at disrupting ORC, both locally and on a broader scale. The Motorola Real-Time Crime Center solution serves as a fundamental platform for helping coordinate the task force’s crime-fighting efforts. Using the Real-Time Crime Center solution, the task force will integrate streaming video, incident and criminal complaints, arrest records, photographs and multimedia inputs stored on separate databases for the purposes of deterring crime as it occurs and also in conducting investigations.

When researching incidents that have already occurred, this functionality will allow task force members to dig into individual aspects of crimes, aggregating information and events with data from other participating retailers and law enforcement agencies. As a result, they will be able to uncover evidence that might link apparently isolated incidents to larger series of crimes that may be local, national or even global in nature, and also serve to aid successful prosecution of criminal activities.

In addition, data from the Real-Time Crime Center solution is made actionable with the integration of a radio console to enable real-time direct voice communications with officers in the field and real-time video streaming to a vehicle or hand-held device over existing carrier or private wireless networks. The solution includes sensing capabilities that can pick up input — such as gunshots, alarms and security camera feeds — and deliver them in real-time to retail or law enforcement personnel in the field.

“We’re exploring use of the technology over retailers’ wireless LAN infrastructures,” said Van Beest. He said the Real-Time Crime Center solution also could have non-security applications, such as visually identifying loyalty customers who a retailer may want to give more personalized treatment during a return or other transaction.

The center goes fully live Sept. 1. Van Beest said the task force has about 1,000 members total, including representatives from 120 different retail companies.

“This is a public/private partnership with no constraints,” concluded Van Beest. “Competitors are collaborating in big ways to solve a major problem.”

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REAL ESTATE

Forest City Ratner selects Boingo Wireless for Wi-Fi deployment

BY Dan Berthiaume

LOS ANGELES — Boingo Wireless announced a new agreement with Forest City Ratner Cos. to provide free-to-shopper wi-fi at the company’s high-traffic shopping center the Atlantic Terminal Mall, in Brooklyn, N.Y., that serves more than 40 million shoppers and commuters annually.

Boingo will manage and operate a centralized wi-fi network that provides consumers fast, reliable wi-fi on their smartphones, tablets and laptops as they shop, relax or get ready for their commute from Atlantic Terminal, one of New York City’s busiest mass transit hubs. Boingo wi-fi will be offered as a customer amenity, and will be available in fall 2013.

“Boingo has extensive experience in operating high-quality wi-fi services at leading shopping destinations nationwide, and carrier-grade networks in high-density locations like some of the world’s busiest airports. Boingo is an ideal fit for the Atlantic Terminal Mall, which includes not only some of the region’s best performing retailers, but which also sits at Brooklyn’s key hub for subway, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and bus service,” said Kathryn Welch, EVP of retail for FCRC.

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News

GE uses digital space to spread brand awareness with contest

BY CSA STAFF

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — GE is leveraging social media as part of its Reimagining Home brand campaign, and holding a contest on its Tumblr page.

The brand is inviting consumers to submit their best cooking failure story to its Cooking Fail Redemption Tumblr page for a chance at redemption at GE’s headquarters, where the winner will re-create the same dish under the guidance of Chef Jeffrey Saad. Saad hosts United Tastes of America on the Cooking Channel.

“At GE, we asked ourselves: If your kitchen could study you, and your failures, how would it adapt to make your life easier, your meals better?” said Eddie Martin, chief marketing officer for GE appliances. “To answer that question, we launched our ‘Reimagining Home’ campaign, a new way to look at the functionality of the kitchen, where we sometimes succeed, sometimes fail — and it’s these moments of human fallibility that make the campaign so easily relatable to consumers.”

GE’s Kitchen Reimagined interactive space, an extension of the ‘Reimagining Home’ campaign, offers contestants and other visitors the chance to explore clickable hot spots to pull up insights, tips, smart design features, infographics, demo videos, social streams and little lessons to learn more in the kitchen. The virtual kitchen is continuously updated with new information from GE experts, cooking pros and consumers.

Participants can click on a plate on the counter at Kitchen Reimagined to access the Cooking Fail Redemption Tumblr page to submit their cooking failure story in one of three categories: entrees, desserts and other.

The grand prize winner will be awarded a trip to Louisville to re-create the cooking failure with Saad, as well as three GE appliances. The first runner-up winner will also be awarded a trip to Louisville, as well as one GE appliance. The second runner-up winner will be awarded a trip to Louisville.

The contest runs through Sept. 3, and the winners will be announced between Sept. 6 and Sept. 13.

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