Morrisons ramps up IT and comms room security

UK supermarket Morrisons has been upgrading its IT and comms rooms across the country with environmental monitoring, remote surveillance and remote access control technology.

As part of the Yorkshire-based retailer's wider technological investment, which has involved the launch of eCommerce operations in partnership with Ocado and a multimillion pound implementation of the Oracle Retail platform, the business was keen to strengthen security around its critical infrastructure sites.

Working alongside technical adviser and system installer Express Data, the grocer selected a solution that included MOBOTIX CCTV cameras, Panduit environmental monitoring and access control technology. The Morrisons team based in Bradford can use the MOBOTIX cameras to view anybody requiring access to a secure room, as well as remotely open doors and monitor any activity within the room.

The system allows for fully bi-directional audio, while approximately 140 cameras have been installed in total and the business said it is confident that it has created a blueprint for further work of this nature as it grows.

Data centre services manager Darryl Shears said: "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.

"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."

Shears added: "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. In addition, the built-in flash storage support means that we can still record the site even if we have a network connectivity issue."

Morrisons recently announced results for its first quarter, showing that like-for-like sales were down 7.1% year on year in the 13 weeks to 4 May 2014.

However, despite the sharp fall in revenue, the company indicated that the IT infrastructure upgrade was going to plan and that the recently launched is performing ahead of expectations. The retailer began the roll-out of the eCommerce service in London this week, following an official launch in Warwickshire and Yorkshire earlier this year.