The New Normal
Why IoT smart sensors improve monitoring and intelligent building management and efficiency
- By David Antar
- Mar 02, 2021
With the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic
spreading across our nation like wildfire in
2020, the new normal had to adapt itself
quickly to all situations. Facilities across
multiple vertical markets had to come up
with ways to put out fires by working smarter and more efficiently
in a short amount of time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do business
and has significantly impacted the healthcare market. Healthcare
facilities across our nation had to react rapidly and adapt to the
changing environment by relying on the latest technologies to
help them navigate through these unchartered waters. From environmental
monitoring to ensuring that all buildings are properly
sanitized; the IoT Smart Sensor has become the new normal in
the healthcare market.
As a pioneer for this type of sensor, IPVideo Corp. first introduced
the HALO IoT Smart Sensor at the 2019 ISC West show in
Las Vegas, it was known as a real-time vape detection and security
device. A big draw was that this sensor not only detects regular
vape; but can detect real-time smoke and vape with Nicotine or
Marijuana (THC oil). It was also a great way to monitor privacy
areas where video surveillance cameras could not be installed.
In addition to vape and smoke detection, HALO introduced safety
features including abnormal sound detection, chemical detection
and air quality monitoring. Back then, the focus was on vaping and
abnormal sound detection in schools and when introduced in April
2020, it included expanded capabilities such as spoken keyword alerting,
gunshot detection and masking signature identification.
In the middle of 2020, the focus was still on schools and combatting
the vaping epidemic in our nation; but as the vaping epidemic
focus shifted to the health pandemic sweeping the nation;
the IoT sensor naturally evolved into much more than a vape detection
system. With the ability to capture more than a million
data points per day, and 12 sensors included per device, the environmental
monitoring functionality became a crucial focal point
and was a natural fit for the healthcare market.
With an open platform philosophy, the solution can seamlessly
integrate into a facility’s existing video surveillance system and
now with its recent BACnet integration with its firmware release
2.2; it has become part of the overall building management system.
The integration with BACnet allows communication of building
automation and control systems for applications such as heating,
ventilating, air conditioning control (HVAC), lighting control,
access control and fire detection systems with no additional
cost to end users. All alerts and sensor readings can now communicate
with these various building control systems to address
and make improvements, which helps improve building efficiency.
Our preliminary data shows that there can be a significant energy savings with integration into BACnet creating an extraordinary
return on investment (ROI) to a building manager. In addition,
building managers can manage multiple locations across
the country from a single interface with data being brought to one
centralized location. With nothing being recorded or video-taped,
privacy concerns are eliminated as key words are recognized by the
sensor that triggers a response to any type of emergency situation.
A CLEAR PATH TO AN INTELLIGENT
BUILDING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
With people returning to school and work amid the COVID-19
pandemic, the proper cleaning and safety protocols needed to be
put in place quickly. Building managers were looking for smart
sensors that offered health and safety features that included the
ability to recognize cleaning chemical signatures by measuring
chemicals in the air.
With the COVID-19 virus being transmitted through the air,
the EPA and ASHRAE strongly recommend cleansing the air by
filtering using MERV filtration systems or by ventilation which
includes bringing fresh, clean, outside air into buildings. By having
an IoT Smart Sensor on premise, facility managers can be
notified when it’s time to change filters, which helps eliminate
the risk of spreading the virus. It also sends alerts when to open
dampers to let in fresh air and can be set up in a classroom to
flash when the air needs to be ventilated.
Being able to now monitor, record and have validation when
specific locations have been sanitized helped facilities ensure proper
cleaning protocols were being followed and buildings have been
sanitized properly upon opening to the public. Another important
safety feature was being able to measure the air quality index (AQI)
inside the building. It is imperative for buildings to have good filtration
systems in order to keep healthy air quality flowing indoors.
Security integrators can benefit from selling and installing
these types of sensors in multiple vertical markets that includes
commercial buildings, education, healthcare, hospitality, aviation
and the list can go on.
“We noticed early on that the HALO IoT Smart Sensor could
do much more than vape detection,” said Aaron Simpson, president
and CTO at Stone Security. “In the past, environmental
monitoring was put on the back burner, but we are educating
our customers with webinars and live demonstrations on what a
video management platform should be and how the IOT Smart
Sensors can add more value to a traditional video system.”
Another important part of this is touchless access control and
having the ability to know how things are going at your building when
you are not able to be on-site. Whether a maintenance person is out
sick or are quarantined for weeks; it’s important to rely on IoT smart
sensors to bring intelligence back to you remotely and ensure that all
systems are functioning properly when no one is physically on-site.
After Fairfield Properties installed the HALO IoT Smart Sensors
at one of their class “A” New York facilities, the data was
analyzed to help determine the impact on building efficiency.
“The preliminary data presented shows interesting trends that
have the potential to be analyzed and integrated into building
HVAC controls. By operating HVAC equipment and louvers
when actually needed, based on occupancy, and not just based
on a schedule, there is potential to reduce energy costs and to
operate building systems more efficiently,” said Michael Lantier,
assistant vice president and senior electrical engineer at H2M architects
A SMART PRESCRIPTION FOR KEEPING
HEALTHCARE FACILITIES SAFE
When it comes to healthcare facilities, prescribing IoT Smart
Sensors as a safety solution is an important diagnosis. The sensors
can monitor air pressure in healthcare environments to
ensure positive air pressure is present to prevent the spread of
harmful germs in hospitals and any type of assisted living facility.
Another huge advantage is having patients monitored 24/7 with
sensors listening for emergency situations in real-time.
If a patient needs help, there is no panic button needed as the
keyword detection functionality will trigger an emergency alert
and even turn into a two-way intercom over the IP network if
necessary. In addition, another huge benefit to the healthcare industry
is how touchless caregiving has been made possible thanks
to the IOT Smart Sensor technology. A leader in remote support
technology, Ohio-based THS Remote Support Services (THS
RSS) is one of the first companies to successfully implement the
use of IOT Smart Sensors.
The company helps anyone with a developmental disability
who is living on their own. Remote support is essential in today’s
world as caregivers can be made aware of unusual activity
through sensors to keep people safe and secure in their home.
“Instead of having a caregiver in the home, we use the IOT
Smart Sensors in our customers’ homes to keep an eye on sound
and air quality in the least intrusive way possible,” said Nicholas D.
Alexander, vice president at THS RSS. “We have found the HALO
Smart Sensor to be the next level in remote support services, which
allows us to have the best knowledge of what’s going on in someone’s
environment and be able to respond quickly to mitigate risk.”
With more than 300 customers in Ohio, THS RSS is making a
huge impact on touchless caregiving and helping people stay safe
without having to interrupt their daily routine. Information is
gathered in real-time and reviewed by their staff using an online
As we move forward, we will see a wider deployment and
adoption of environmental monitoring technology. Facilities
across multiple vertical markets will need to be able to remotely
monitor their buildings 24/7. More intelligent sensors like HALO
will be installed and integrated with security and building management
systems; creating a safer world for all.
If we look at camera systems as being our “eyes”, IoT Smart
Sensors can be our “ears” and “nose” providing unparalleled situational
awareness. By sending alerts if a patient falls out of bed
or if there is an environmental issue at an office building; these
sensors are invaluable. Integrated solutions will be expected and
not just a convenience as more and more people get educated on
the benefits of IOT Smart Sensors and realize that they can’t live
in this world without them. The future looks
bright for IOT Smart Sensors as they are projected
to be the center that brings everything
together for more efficient intelligent building
This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Security Today.