Crew Clothing Company is a coastal lifestyle brand founded by professional skier, Alastair Parker-Swift in the summer of 1993. His keystone collection began with a simple idea: to create timeless clothes inspired by the British coast of Salcombe. When he wasn’t competing for England in the snow, Alastair was at sea running a successful windsurfing school. It was there that Crew Clothing was born – and today, it has expanded to over 100 stores across the United Kingdom.
As the Head of IT, Richard Surman is responsible for technology strategy and implementation across the business. “I look at new innovations that can help our business from a strategic perspective, as well as whether existing systems still meet our needs.”
“I'm a massive advocate of moving our infrastructure to the cloud, and eliminating our onsite servers so we no longer rely on other companies to look after those data centers.”
Scalability is a key consideration for Richard and his team of thirteen. They oversee the entire technology portfolio, as well as Crew Clothing’s expansion to international sites. To grow efficiently, Richard sought to reduce operating costs and the manual processes involved in daily work-life activity across departments. Specifically, he set out to solve for:
International growth and operating at scale.
False alarms and lack of visibility across stores.
Long lead times on backend changes.
Richard was introduced to Verkada’s physical security system through GAIL’s Bakery and immediately saw the benefit of having Alarms natively integrated with Cameras, Air Quality Sensors, Alarms, Intercom and Guest management solutions.
“Verkada brings value beyond just physical security. We’ve improved retail operations, footfall accuracy, employee training and customer experiences.”
From a single centralised dashboard, team members can manage physical security and retail operations across all locations. The cloud-based Command software platform is accessible through any web-based browser or a mobile app, making it simple for teams to respond to incidents and uncover new insights – no matter where they are in the world.
Immediate ROI with Loss Prevention
“Verkada brought an immediate return on investment – we caught four shoplifters at the first store with just the Proof of Concept.”
Richard began with a proof of concept (POC) to demo the quality and functionality of Verkada’s product offerings. The value was immediately clear. The retail operations team can now:
Find footage in seconds with AI-powered features such as face match.
Generate an instant Vehicle or Person of Interest alert.
Share archived footage or live video of an ongoing incident through email, text message or a direct link.
The Command dashboard is designed with user experience top-of-mind so that teams can navigate the platform independently from IT. Provisioned with site and role-based permissions, they are empowered to monitor their individual stores, saving time while enhancing security.
Higher-Accuracy Occupancy Trends
Powered by edge-based processing and computer vision technology, Verkada’s video analytics provide actionable insights – including Occupancy Trends. Richard expected their footfall counting company to be more accurate than Verkada’s Occupancy Trends, but instead discovered the opposite to be true. He was able to take the data and corresponding video evidence from Verkada and challenge the footfall company in the authenticity of their data.
“We found Verkada’s Occupancy Trends more accurate than our footfall counting company. This has been a huge benefit, because correct data ensures the validity of our conversion and sales statistics.”
Simplified Alarm Management
“Verkada gives us the ability and granular control to manage users, alarm contact lists and response flows without having to go through a third party.”
Across the growing organization, there are over 450 employees and 150 user accounts. With Verkada, he no longer needs to manually update each credential when store managers leave the company. Instead, he can set up SCIM integrations to automate and streamline user management. Any changes to Alarm response flows – such as call lists and permissions – can be configured directly from Command, eliminating the long lead times to conduct simple backend changes. With a drag-and-drop rules engine, Richard can easily set up and make changes to his contact list, monitoring rules and workflows in seconds.
24/7 Professional Monitoring
Professional monitoring can be added to any Verkada device, allowing Richard to turn his Cameras and Air Quality Sensors into monitored alarm systems. Trained monitoring agents will be alerted if an alarm is raised due to unusual events – such as after-hours motion or a significant spike in temperature. Through integrated Cameras, they can video verify whether there is an actual threat and carry out pre-configured response flows.
“Agents can dispatch police if a visible threat is present, or share live video feeds with first responders to ensure priority response. This gives us peace of mind and protection around the clock.”
Environmental Health, Safety and Quality
Richard creates a healthy and comfortable shopping environment both for customers and employees with Air Quality Sensors. By setting thresholds for contaminants such as temperature, humidity, PM2.5 and TVOCs, store managers are alerted if environmental conditions deviate from an acceptable range. He pairs Sensors with contextual Cameras to view integrated video events and investigate any atypical fluctuations.
“We receive reports at our Head Office and proactively fix issues before the store calls us about the problem. If the air conditioning breaks or they need additional heating, we are alerted and can monitor the environment in real-time.”
Modern Workplace Operations
Besides data centers and servers, Richard has also eradicated the pen-and-paper logbooks used for signing-in visitors. At the Head Office, Verkada Guest ties in seamlessly with Cameras and Access Control to leave guests with a positive impression of Crew Clothing.
“The idea is to create a sleek and modern experience for our visitors – from the second they walk in through touchless entry and remote door unlock, to the moment they sign out through an automated text message.”
Looking ahead: Point of Sale Integrations and Access Control
For his next steps, Richard is expanding Crew Clothing’s Verkada footprint to bring more stores under one centralised platform. He is also looking to set up API integrations – such as Helix video search – to understand purchasing patterns and streamline POS investigations.
“It’s comforting to know that we’re protected by Verkada. We have instant visibility and control from a security standpoint, but also improved daily operations and efficiency across teams.”
Interested in learning more? Request a free trial or a live demo.