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Making Gains with Security

​When Planet Fitness’s leadership evaluated security at its 70-plus corporate-run locations a few years ago, it chose to incorporate a video surveillance solution that would address security needs and be advanced enough to help with management and operations.

Each of Planet Fitness’s corporate-owned clubs in North America is outfitted with approximately 8 to 15 video cameras. These provide continuous coverage of the parking lot, lobby, break room, and the fitness area where members workout—without invading private areas, such as locker rooms and other intimate spaces.

After issuing a request for proposal through system integrator Adirondack Direct, Planet Fitness Senior Vice President of Corporate Club Operations Jim Esposito says the company tested several camera and video management software (VMS) solutions.

Planet Fitness ultimately decided on Hanwha video surveillance cameras managed by the Genetec Security Center platform. Utilizing this set-up would give Planet Fitness a single interface to simplify operations and empower users through enhanced situational awareness, unified command, and control and connectivity to the cloud.

Esposito says they wanted to use Hanwha’s 360-degree cameras because they provide more coverage yet save on hardware expenses because fewer cameras are needed. Hanwha’s SNF-8010 5 MP 360-degree fisheye camera provides 5MP at 20FPS, which captures smoother video at a higher frame rate with true day and night function. Built-in on-camera de-warping allows instant access to point-to-zoom, quad view, and panorama views.

Alarm triggers for the Hanwha SNF-8010 include intelligence motion detection, audio detection, tampering detection, alarm input, and network disconnection.

“We knew that Planet Fitness would need thousands of video surveillance cameras for this project, and it’s very important to consider reliability and functionality, as well as durability,” says Tim Collins, director of security and technology for Adirondack Direct. “Hanwha has the lowest customer return number, and that means that they manufacturer products that aren’t sidelined by constant replacement and repairs.”

The systems were installed and typically include placing cameras 25 feet from the wall and 50 feet apart—providing nearly 2,000 square feet of coverage per camera. Club managers, regional managers, and corporate employees manage the system via the Genetec Security Center. It provides bookmarks of recorded incidents, so events are tagged for system managers to view without searching for them.

Planet Fitness also utilizes Adirondack Direct’s 24-hour monitoring service and liaisons with law enforcement.

Business Intelligence

While the Hanwha–Genetec solution provides security for Planet Fitness, Esposito says it has also helped improve operations by providing business intelligence.

Planet Fitness’s mission is to provide a judgment-free environment for individuals who want to work out without the negatives often associated with gyms: loud grunts, dropped weights, and aggressive behavior.

With the new solution, anyone who engages in this kind of negative behavior will likely set off a Lunk Alarm—triggering flashing lights, sirens, and the unwanted attention that accompanies it.

Use of the Lunk Alarm, or lack of it, can be an indicator to management of how the club is operating. To keep track of these incidents, Adirondack Direct integrated the alarm into the solution so Genetec’s Security Center creates a bookmark of the event and catalogs video of what preceded the alarm and how it was managed.

Planet Fitness gyms also typically have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be used in the event a member suffers a medical emergency. At facilities with the Hanwha–Genetec solution when an AED is removed from its cabinet, a sensor is activated to shut off overhead music to provide a calmer atmosphere. The system also creates a bookmark in the VMS and notifies managers and regional managers that an AED was deployed.

Additionally, the system provides key employee analysis that can be used to help managers identify areas of improvement. Each facility has rubber floors that must be cleaned daily. Adirondack Direct placed a sensor on a floor scrubber that creates a bookmark and recording when the device is moved. Video evidence can then be used to verify that the floor was actually cleaned, or if the scrubber was just relocated.

Each break room at Planet Fitness is outfitted with a sensor to create a video bookmark every time a door is opened. If an employee visits too often, management can reorient that employee on the proper policies and procedures.

The system’s video analytics can also provide valuable information, such as tracking if an employee is constantly leaving the front desk to go to a storage closet for an item.

“If during an overnight shift the camera indicates that there was no motion at the front desk for a prolonged period of time, then that’s a problem,” Esposito says. “We expect someone to be in that position greeting and welcoming members; so if someone isn’t there, the video can help us understand why.”

Planet Fitness is looking into new ways to use analytics to address business needs, such as member recruitment.

“What we’re exploring now is a virtual line that counts the number of people that come and go in the club,” Esposito says. “We know how many people check in. So, if a club checks in 500 people in a day but there are 600 people that enter the door, that can be lost revenue.”

Planet Fitness chose the Hanwha–Genetec solution because it knew it needed a system with the flexibility to grow and meet future needs, along with delivering a safe environment.

“It’s somewhat of a security blanket for our members and employees,” Esposito says. “They appreciate our no intimidaton mantra and the fact that we have created this safe and secure environment that offers a judgment-free zone where people can do their own thing.”

Ray Cooke is vice president of business development at Hanwha.

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