Page 93 - Security Today, July/August 2020
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this current release broadens the applications of the sensor beyond vaping detection in schools as a critical security device.
“HALO will continue to assist schools as a vape and THC detector,” Antar said.“With the added 2.0 features, like spoken key word alerts and gunshot detection, HALO is a cost effective all in one school security device for privacy areas where you cannot have a camera installed.”
HALO is now able to safeguard both the health and safety of not only children in schools, but in any type of situation, especially areas of privacy. HALO can be used in dorm rooms, hotel rooms, hospitals, nursing homes, commercial properties and retail establishments to alert security of an emergency in real-time by saying the key word. Addressing privacy concerns, the audio is not being recorded. Alerts are automatically sent to security for immediate response and to help diffuse situations, the alerts can also trigger an audible message that an emergency has been declared and security has been notified.
Another new feature “masking signature identification,” enables the device to detect when someone is trying to spray perfume, cologne or some other type of aerosol to try and conceal vaping. Gil- bert Public Schools located in the suburb of the greater Phoenix- Mesa area in Arizona was looking to be proactive regarding these negative types of student behaviors that are being experienced at high schools nationwide.
Join the Crusade
As part of the crusade to deter vaping, the school installed HALO units in both the girls’ and boys’ bathroom at one of their high schools and learned quickly that vaping was an issue at the school.
“Good news...they work!....Bad news...they work!. By this, I mean that HALO has met our need of detecting vaping incidents and has led to an increase in the need for campus security officers responding to the HALO installed locations,” said Allen Cain, Safety & Security Director at Gilbert Public Schools. “We did detect many students vaping when HALO was first installed, but once they knew it was installed our vaping encounters with students decreased and the neg- ative behavior was curtailed at these locations. Some students at the school tried to defeat the device, however due to the sensor being tamper-resistant were not successful.”
Pequannock Township High School (PTHS) in New Jersey has always been focused on staying in front of safety and security issues. With the thought process that education, detection, and deterrence was the right combination to tackle the vaping issue; HALO proved to be the perfect solution once again. After researching new detection technology to help mitigate future issues at the school, the director of security and IT director were relieved to find that the perfect device did exist and can be implemented seamlessly.
Finding the right dose of security to keep students healthy and safe was made easier with HALO. After installing the devices, the school was able to catch and document all vaping incidents. “The HALO device was incredibly accurate with its real-time alerts, be it vaping, THC or vandalism,” said Ron Lucas, director of security at PTHS.” Initially, we had a few attempts at disconnecting the devices and a few incidents of where an object was thrown at the sensor to disable it;
but both were unsuccessful due to the tamper-resistant features. Hav- ing the HALO device enabled us to see the problem vaping has become at our school and now we finally have a tool to help us address it in an effective way.”
Gunshot Detection and Enhanced Audio Analytics
In addition to spoken key word alerting, another new feature of HALO 2.0 includes active shooter detection technology. When a gun- shot is detected, HALO will instantly alert users to the locations of shots fired and simultaneously send alerts via SMS text messages, email or third-party alerts systems to security personnel.
IPVideo Corp. has added machine learning capabilities to the HALO sensor that will enable it to learn normal audio levels within a facility and thus send alerts when normal thresholds are exceeded. This can be used to catch indicators of possible bullying or violence at schools and prevent an incident.
Clayton Valley Charter High School benefited from this new enhancement and was able to stop a fight with HALO’s "abnormal sound detection for aggressive behavior" feature.
“CVCHS was able to make the campus safer by preventing a phys- ical fight, while also getting students help to overcome their chal- lenges all with one powerful device,” Shergill said. “There are no other products out there that offer what HALO does – a complete solution for vape detection and security.” Another issue at the school was van- dalism in the bathrooms such as breaking the paper towel dispensers; which was quickly resolved with HALO.
Future Roadmap for Schools
With the current global health pandemic, schools are faced with setting up online courses and sanitizing their buildings to ensure a healthy and safe learning environment upon students’ return. “Next on our roadmap is going to be based on how we can help schools return in the fall after the COVID-19 shutdown,” Antar said. “The next release is going to focus on air quality as we add an Air Quality Index (AQI) and BACnet integration to tie into building HVAC and filtration systems. The AQI along with our pressure sensor and HALO’s ability to detect when environments have been cleaned should give organizations proof of areas being disinfected regularly.”
With every school district comes budget constraints and challeng- es prioritizing how the money should be spent.
“We understand the implications of school budgets, so we are adding these additional features that come with HALO 2.0 at no additional cost to the schools,” Antar said. “The health and safety of our children should never be compromised and needs to be the number one priority of every school in our nation. We all need to join forces as one united community to combat the issues facing schools today, be it vaping, violence preven- tion or coping with the pandemic, as we are all in this together.”
Monique Merhige is a freelance writer based in Port St. Lucie FL, and president of Infusion Direct Marketing.
* According to Statistic Stats.

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