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Security, Safety and the experience of the consumer: The story of Mall Plaza

Mall Plaza currently operates 21 shopping centers in the region: fifteen located in Chile, five in Peru, and one in Colombia, which are distributed in twelve cities. Of special note among them are Mall Plaza Egaña, Chile’s first sustainable shopping center, located in the city of Santiago, and Mall Plaza Copiapó, the first shopping center in the Atacama Region, and the first built with sustainability standards located outside the country’s capital.

In addition, Mall Plaza is developing five projects which will open during the next few years.

The Pain and the Opportunity

The following case study studies the centralization of all security and operations systems of all the shopping centers in operation in Chile, Peru and Colombia in a single control room located in Mall Plaza Norte (Santiago, Chile) in order to maximize the operational efficiency and risk mitigation efforts of the Mall Plaza chain.
In 2009, Mall Plaza came up with the idea of centralizing the security systems and standardizing the subsystems of the central control area of all the shopping centers in operation in Chile, mainly due to the difficulty of having access to reliable and timely information that would allow real-time decision making, in particular under a disaster scenario.

Mall Plaza
A Mall Plaza mall


The 8.8 earthquake which affected the central-southern region of Chile on February 27, 2010, emphasized Mall Plaza’s need for a command center capable of remotely running and centralizing the management of an emergency, and real time decision making.

Project Objectives

Mall Plaza’s executive team outlined their objectives before organizing a team of internal and external resources.

  • Increase the operational efficiency of our shopping centers.
  • Make a responsible and efficient use of energy.
  • Optimize operating costs of shopping centers.
  • Increase security levels of each Mall Plaza shopping center.
Define the High Level Requirements

Mall Plaza created a high level baseline of their situation followed by an action list and requirements summary before they chose external vendors to work with them. Their work defined their mission as well as the support elements needed to make their vision a reality. Note the strong emphasis on the customer in the following elements outlined below:

Statement of Purpose

Mall Plaza has two customers, guests and lessees. Mall Plaza defines as a strategic objective the need to improve both the experience of guests who visit the shopping center, and the experience of lessees in terms of security and operation of the shopping center. In order to meet said objectives, we have defined some conditions which the shopping center needs to meet, such as:

  • Improve the operational efficiency of the shopping center.        
  • Control the operation of the outsourced security services.        
  • Supervise the operation of systems which are important for the flow of people and guest experience, such as verifying that entry gates and/or doors are working correctly, that people counting systems are operational, and that escalators are working in the proper direction.        
  • Improve the security of lessees in relation to criminal acts.        
  • Improve the security of the office sector with security access control, video surveillance, and intercom system.        
  • Improve the sense of security of guests ensuring a minimum response time in the event they require assistance.        
  • Improve the quality of information and minimize decision making times in the event of disasters such as earthquake, fire, or flooding.        
  • Improve communications with emergency services such as police, fire department, and ambulances.
Create the Team

Before the earthquake, Schneider Electric had contacted Mall Plaza in 2009 to work on a BMS solution that would meet the aforementioned requirements.They visited several countries worldwide looking for a similar solution to be used as a basis, but were unable to find anything similar.

Mall Plaza decided to call for tenders for a solution and invited different world-renowned manufacturers to participate, Schneider Electric among them. In the end, the offer from Schneider Electric, supported by Vingtor-Stentofon, was the only one which met the standards required by the client.

Mall Plaza realized that, in order for a project with these characteristics to be successful, it must include: direct backing from the technology manufacturers; Schneider Electric and Vingtor-Stentofon. They knew they needed in-country support, training for the different user levels (operator, supervisor, maintenance employees), network of technology partners (systems integrators with the backing of the brand) to offer coverage during installation, and countrywide support.

The external and internal team that was created included:

Schneider Electric        

  • Jorge Martinez, Schneider Electric BMS Manager: Jorge was in charge of the assessment and the BMS design effort.
  • Alvaro Labrana, Schneider Electric Video Manager: Alvaro was in charge of the assessment and design of the video system.

Vingtor-Stentofon

  • Paul Rux, Director of Sales for Latin America and the South Central Region of the United States. Paul provided commercial support and was the key contact person for Vingtor-Stentofon        
  • Bennie Cooper, Operations Manager.  Bennie was the technical advisor and support contact for Vingtor-Stentofon.

MKM: System Integrator

  • Christian Maennle, Head of Support and Technology. Christian was MKM’s installation engineer and was involved in the commissioning of the Vingtor-Stentofon System

Mall Plaza Management

  • Mario Inostroza / Head of Operations Center (Operations Management)        
  • Antonio Braghetto / Operations Manager
Define the Solution

Given the requirements collected from the Schneider assessment and the collective feedback from the team a solution was advanced that consisted of the use of the BMS platform from Schneider Electric called SmartStruxure. This would be the platform to integrate the different shopping center systems, create an integrated sustainable energy and security plan and optimize the shopping experience of the customer. This included the following enterprise applications:

  • CCTV.        
  • Fire detection.        
  • Intercom system (Vingtor-Stentofon).        
  • Security guard radio communications (Vingtor-Stentofon).        
  • Access control.        
  • Panic buttons in retail spaces.        
  • Communications with Police (Alfa-2).        
  • Audio evacuation.        
  • People flow counters.        
  • Escalator monitoring.        
  • Metering and management of energy.

The communication platform premise included three elements:

  • Intelligibility: the ability to hear, be heard and be understood in any and all situations        
  • Interoperability: the ability to seamlessly integrate with other critical enterprise applications        
  • “Ilities”: Mall Plaza’s values included sustainability, but their optimization and cost structure demanded reliability, availability and maintainability

Mall Plaza integrated command center
Collaborating with Schneider, Vingtor-Stentofon and the integrator allowed Mall Plaza to design an integrated command center that served multiple locations.

In the command center, each operation station is flexible enough to be configured to operate one, two or three shopping centers. In this way, the operator on duty can take control of up to three shopping centers in a single station. In the event that the operator is absent from his or her workplace when an event takes place, it can escalate to another previously defined operator station.

Mall Plaza command center
Command center

The implementation of the solution required a team comprised of Mall Plaza Operations personnel, Mall Plaza brand representatives, systems integration companies specialized in the systems, and third-party consultants.

As a result, Schneider Electric designed the initial solution, with the support of the technical department of Vingtor-Stentofon in the United States and Norway. EcoXpert (the systems integrator certified by both companies) was in charge of the implementation and launch of the solution.

Other technology vendors chosen were

  • Video surveillance is by Pelco Endura and Digital Sentry, with Pelco and third-party cameras        
  • Fire detection is by Notifier        
  • Retail space alarm central is by DMP        
  • Communications networks are by CLARO.
Benefits

Mall Plaza has been able to document the impact of the project on operational efficiencies including the following:

  • Savings of 40% on operating costs of control rooms.        
  • Savings of 8% on energy costs.        
  • Centralized operations room with capacity for the remote monitoring and operation of 72 shopping centers.        
  • Data centralization allows the immediate availability of the right decision-making and crisis management information, ensuring operational continuity and improving the security of both guests and lessees.        
  • 50% reduction in the number of third-party operations personnel in control rooms.        
  • The backing of two world-class leaders such as Schneider Electric and Vingtor-Stentofon providing assurance of long term support and continuing innovation        
  • The support of an EcoXpert network, certified by both manufacturers, which ensures the quality and continuity of processes.        
  • The reassertion of Mall Plaza’s leadership in innovation. 
  • Visibility of all facilities in a single location. 
  • State-of-the-art control center with a crisis management room and controlled environment. 
  • Achieved a 15% reduction in motor vehicle theft in the shopping centers 
  • In four of Mall Plaza’s shopping centers they were able to achieve a 36% reduction of crimes against retail spaces.        
  • Identify any new capabilities and future plans that the customer has as a result of the solution.
Future Plans

In the future, the Schneider Electric platform will incorporate energy management, parking space monitoring, integration of new shopping centers in Chile, and expansion to the region with Peru and Colombia. In the end, Mall Plaza has a standardized solution for all future shopping centers, which will allow savings in design and engineering.

Since the first project was finished, 14 other shopping centers have been migrated to the new platform, and 12 have been centralized in a Central Operations Center. In relation to Peru and Colombia, Mall Plaza is in the process of data collection and technical feasibility analysis in order to be able to migrate and centralize at the local level (in each country), monitoring the security and control systems from Chile.

“Schneider Electric Chile recognized quickly the value of the Security Function as fundamental to Mall Plaza Norte’s business continuity processes. In choosing Vingtor-Stentofon they were able to find the best of breed solution to add the benefits of voice communications to their CCTV system to increase their protection of People, Property, and Profits.” Paul Rux, Director of Sales for Latin America and the South Central Region of the United States.

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