The Scope of Work
This company is a major home improvement retailer with 2,285 stores across North America and the Caribbean, and Black Box is one of its most strategic technology providers. In a partnership spanning almost two decades, Black Box has handled turnkey IT infrastructure buildouts for more than 2,000 new stores – including all structured cabling to support point of sale systems, A/V systems and monitors, security cameras, and other critical systems.
Throughout the years, the company has relied on Black Box to keep its systems on the leading edge of technological innovation. Most recently, the company sought the expertise of the Black Box team for two key projects:
The company turned to Black Box for a high-tech approach to a deceptively simple problem: how to streamline the process of updating price signage on merchandise as it goes on sale or prices change. Previously, a team of clerks in each store was required to manually update price tags, a time-consuming and sometimes error-prone process.
For the solution, Black Box devised an electronic pricing system that leverages the stores’ MPLS networks to enable instantaneous updating of prices on electronic devices. From the centralized headquarters location, marketing staff can make a single price update that is transmitted wirelessly and instantly to the electronic price tags – often tablet-sized or smaller – on the affected products in every store.
In April 2020, Black Box completed cabling and installation for the electronic pricing system in all of the company’s stores. While the initial focus has been on big-ticket items such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators, the next phase will be on garden center products and outdoor equipment.
With outmoded analog security cameras installed in most of its stores, the company was facing key challenges with loss prevention. The lack of clarity in the camera output made it difficult to identify shoplifters and offer usable evidence for local law enforcement.
In a phased rollout over the past four years, Black Box is nearing completion of the company’s comprehensive upgrade to state-of-the-art, IP-based security cameras with crystal-clear 4K resolution. With Black Box providing all installation, cabling, and ongoing maintenance, the company has outfitted each store with up to 25 new Axis Communications cameras aimed at the cash registers, the entrances and exits, and the parking lot. Each camera is equipped with facial recognition technology and the ability to capture fine detail, including license plate numbers.
In the next phase of the upgrade, Black Box will upgrade cameras throughout the stores including all merchandise areas and warehousing facilities. Already, however, the customer estimates that the new cameras have saved it at least a billion dollars through loss prevention over the past three years.
This company values its two-decade collaboration with Black Box for several key reasons: