Minimise loss of stock with Ethernet technologies

Every year, many supermarkets and do-it-yourself stores around the world face the same problem; inexplicable loss of stock. With this problem in mind, Justice Security Kft, based in Budapest, Hungary, has developed a forward-looking automated solution to avoid such problems.

Its POSeidon Control System which can be tailored to the specific needs of the client is able to detect inventory loss of unknown origin in retail shops and to investigate the reasons behind the loss. Existing customers include retail companies such as IKEA, Lidl and Praktiker in Hungary. 

According to various estimates, the value of inventory loss of unknown origin for Hungarian retailers amounts to nearly 100 billion Forint (around 0.4 billion Euros) each year. Around 40 to 60 per cent of all inventory loss is attributable to cash register abuse. The traditional methods to reduce mistakes and abuse at the cash register such as test shopping, receipt-checking, job instruction and back-office monitoring can have limited efficiency in identifying mistakes and are often ineffective in detecting any abuse occurring at the cash register itself. Indeed, cashiers with the wrong work attitude can obtain a considerable supplementary income with little risk of being caught. 

Full information integration

The main difficulty of detection is the lack of information. The available and storable information is either only image information (eg. conveyor belt activity) or text information (eg. cash point display). The information is only available separately, so it is very difficult to combine and compare both the amount actually entered into the cash register by the cashier and the goods really taken by the customer. However, the basis of the POSeidon Control System is an information technology allowing the full integration of the information generated by the cash register and a video recording of the cash register display. 

The simultaneous display of image and text information reportedly allows full and error-free control. The text information appearing on the screen during the playing of the video recording can be compared to the movement of goods seen in the image; therefore, any possible mistake, cash register abuse becomes evident. The system can also send a visual/audio signal to the operator of the control centre in the event of predefined critical transactions goods of a given article number, cancellations, employee shopping, etc. , facilitating efficient real-time control. All information can be stored for subsequent retrieval.

Moxa solutions choice

The POSeidon Control System is configured according to the needs of the client. After surveying the characteristics for the stores and finding out the needs of the client, the optimal system is planned. Based on this plan, the required hardware and software is installed. Justice Security Kft. decided on Moxas products to connect the different POS cash points with the camera-based core product. The cash points are connected via a RS-232 interface. Depending on different parameters such as the amount of cash points used by the customer or the distance to be bridged different Moxa products are used; such as Moxas Multiport Serial Boards CP-168U, CP-168EL or CP-102UL and Serial Device Servers such as NPort 5610-8/16.

CP-168U is an 8-port Universal PCI board specifically designed for POS and ATM applications. It is used as standard solution for the POSeidon Control System. Each port can be connected to one cash point, so the Multiport Serial Board can connect up to 8 cash points in total. It is mainly used by industrial automation engineers and system integrators, and supports many different operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and even UNIX. In addition, each of the boards eight RS-232 serial ports supports 921.6 Kbps baudrate for a fast data transmission. CP-168U provides full modem control signals to ensure compatibility with a wide range of serial peripherals, and works with both 3.3V and 5V PCI buses, allowing the board to be installed in virtually any available PC server. It also provides 15KV ESD protection on the board and has a wide range of connection cables and boxes. It therefore fully meets the customers requirements concerning quality and speed.

If there is a need to increase the number of ports, for example because more cash points have to be connected, CP-102UL is additionally used. This is an MD1 low profile board that only requires a 5 VDC power supply. It is compatible with both a 3.3V and 5V PCI bus, which means that the CP-102UL fits any host computer, ranging from shoebox to standard-sized PCs. Similar to CP-168U, CP-168EL is especially designed for POS and ATM applications. Compared with CP-168U, CP-168EL supports PCI Express and has a low profile form factor. So the boards fit in any host computer ranging from a shoebox to standard-sized PCs. This board is used for the POSeidon Control System if there are any space restrictions.

In case there is the need to handle long distances between the cash points and the camera, either NPort 5610-8 or NPort 5610-16 are used. Dependent on which NPort is implemented, either up to 8 or 16 serial devices can be connected to the Ethernet. Both products support 3-in-1 interfaces, and they can be used for RS-232/ 422/ 485. They allow easy networking of existing serial devices with only basic configuration. Data transmission between the serial and Ethernet interfaces is bi-directional. 

For configuration modes it can be chosen from Web console, Telnet console, and Windows utility. Versatile socket operation modes such as TCP Server, TCP Client, UDP and RealCom are supported. For the network management, SNMP MIB-II is used. By using NPort device servers, users not only protect their current hardware investment, they also allow for future network expansion. Users can both centralise the management of their serial devices, and distribute management hosts over the network.

Quality and reliability

The POSeidon Control System is currently installed in around 200 projects per year. For all existing installations, there have been approximately 400 Moxa products used. Justice Security reportedly decided to implement Moxas product because of their high quality and reliability, which is also reflected in the products 5-year warranty. Thanks to the deployment of Moxas high-quality hardware within our installations, it is possible to detect inventory deficiencies fast, effective and with little effort, commented Gaiger Csaba, product engineer security solutions at Justice Security Kft. As the data is very sensitive, our customers expect the highest system availability. This is absolutely guaranteed by Moxas products.

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