Halo Smart Vape Detector Tested

By Rob Kilpatrick, Published Jan 16, 2020, 11:01am EST (Research)

*** **** ***** ************ ** ****** ******, ********* ******* brand **** *** **** *** *****. But *** **** **** ** **** in **** ***** ************?

IPVM Image

** ****** *** ****** * **** sensor ** *** *** ** *********, testing ** ** ******** *********, *********:

  • **** **** ****** ****** ** *****, mid-sized, *** ***** *****?
  • *** ******* ** ****** ********?
  • **** *** **** ** **** ****** impact ***********?
  • *** ** ******** ****** ******* **** brand ****?
  • **** ** ********** ****** *** *** non-THC *****?
  • **** ******* *** ** **** ** circumvent *** ********?
  • **** ************* *** ************* *** ********?

Key ********

  • **** ******** ** ***** *** ******** Rooms:** *** *****, *** **** ***** Sensor ******** ****** ** ***** *** mid-sized *****, ** ** ~*** ****** feet, **** ******** **+' **** **** the ********, ***** ******** **'***' **************.
  • ******** **** ***** ********:******* ***** ** **** **** ******** successfully, ********* ****, ***-******* ***** ** different *******, *** ******* *** ****.
  • **** ******** ******* *****:****** *** ***** ******** **** ******** attempted ** ****** *** ******** ** exhaling ******* ***** ***** (****** ***** methods ***** ****** *** ********, ********* below).

** *** **** ******* *** ********* though:

  • ********** ******** *********** ******** *** ******* Performance:** ***** ** ***** ***** ** missed ********** ** *** *******, ************* were ****** (**** ******* ****'* **********) to ****** ********** *** ******** ******** level ******** *** **** ****.
  • ************ *** ******:*** ****** **** ************, ********** ********** on ****** ******** ** ******** ***** or ******* *** ***** *******. ***** issues ***** ** ******* ** ********* settings (***** **** ******* ****'* **********), but ***** ***** **********.
  • **** ******* ******* ******* *** *****:**** ******* ***** *** **** *** triggering *** ***** ***** ******* ******** was **** *** *******. ***** ********* thresholds, ***** **** *** ******* ** about *** ******. *******, **** ** still * *********** ****** ** **** and *** ***** ********* ***** *** triggered *** ***** ** * **** traffic ****.
  • ****** ********** ** ****:**** ***** ********** *** ****** **** vapor ** *** **** ** *** user ***** **** **** *** **** one ****, **** ***** ******* ************* with * ****** ****** ~* -*' away.
  • ***** ****** ** *****:***** ***** (***** * ******** *******) triggered **** **** **** **** *** vape ***, ********** ** ******** *********. However, **** ***** ** ***** ** unlikely ** ** *******, **** ** locker *****.
  • ** ********** **** ***** *** ****** or ** ******:**** ***** **** ** *** ******* area ** ******** ******, ** ** could ** ************ ** ******* ***** out * ****** ** **** * bottle.

Halo *******

**** *** ** ********* ******** **** IPVideo *********** *** ************* ~$*,*** *** MSRP.

Competitive *******

***** *** *** ***** ************ ********* vape ********* *******. ****'* **** *********** is***** ************' ******** ********, ***** *** ******* ***** ** Halo *** **** ********* (**' ***** on *' ********) *** ** **** as * ************ *******, **** ***** alerts *** **********.

**** *** *** ****** ***** ** other **** *********.

Vape ******** *** ***** ****

**** ** ********* ** ****** ****** in * **'***' ****. ** *** tests, **** ******** ***** **************, ********* vape ** * ****** **'***' ****. Halo *** **** ** ****** **** being **** ** *** ***** ** the **** **** *** ******* *** not ******** ****** ** ********** *********.

IPVM Image

Long ******* ** ******* ******

** *** ***** ***** *** *********** latency **** *** **** *** **** is ******* ** *** **** ** alarm. **** ***, ** *******, *** minutes *** ****** ******* ***** ******* settings. **** ** ***** ***** ** reduced ** ~* ****** ** ********** threshold **** ** ** **.

**** **** ******* ***** ***** ********* in **** *****, ** *** ******* triggering *** ***** *** **** ******* left ** *** **** ** ** triggered. **** ***** ***** ******** ***** unable ** ********* *** ******* ********* the *****.

Frequent ***** ** ****** ****** ** ***

***-*** ***** *** ******** ******** ** THC ** *** *****. **** ***-******* and **** ***** ********* ***** ***** detections ** ***** *** **** *****. Shown ***** ** * ***** *** alarm ** ***** **** **** *** contain ***.

********* ** ******* ****, ***** ***** alerts *** ****** ** * ***** up ** *******, * ***** ********* in *** *****, ** *** ******* rooms. ***** ****** ***** ** ******* by ********* ******** **** ***** **********, but *** **********.

************, ** ****** ********* ***** * medical *** ********* (***** * ******* with ************* ******* ********* ****). ** *** *****, *** *** detected ***** ******* ******** (****** ***** alerts ** ***-*** **** **** *********), but **** ********* ****** ** ***** on ***, **** **** ** *** directly ******* ******* *** ********.

Missed ********** ** **** ****

* ******** **** ********* ***** *****, Juul, *** ****** ** *** ***** due ** *** **** ******** **** smoke ***** ******** *** *********** ******. Halo ********** ***** *** **** ** the **** ****** **** ** *** used *** **** **** * ****** was ~*-*' ****, **** *** ** more ***** ******* *** ****** *** a **** *****.

Vape ***** ******** ** ******* **** *****

******* ***** **** * *****, * common ****** **** ** ****** ***** exhaled, ***** ****** ** ***** *** to ***** ********** ** ***** ***** being ********.

False ****** ** *****

***** ******* **** * ******** ******* was ****** ** *** *** * false **** *****. *******, *** ******* had ** ** ** ***** ********* to *** **** ****** *** ** the ***** *********** *******. ** **** applications, ****** ** ***** **** **** are *** ******, ****** **** ***** use ****** ***** *** ** ** issue.

Defeated ** ******* *** ****** ** ** ******

** *** *****, **** ***** ** defeated ** ****** ******* ***** *** of * ******. ***** ******* **** not ****** ** ******* ******. ******* of ****, ***** ****** ********* **** Halo ********(*) *** ****** ******* ** needed.

** ***** **** * ****** ***** also **** ***** **** ***** **** a ****** ** ********** ********* ** the **** ******.

IPVM Image

VMS ************

**** ********** ****** **** *****, ** Witness, *** *********, *** ** **** not *** ********* **** ******* ** Avigilon. **** ******* ** **** *** in ***** **** ***** ************* *** future ***********.

*******, *********** ** *** ***** ***** below ******** **** ****** ***** ** TCP *** **** ******. ** ** not ****** **** *** ****.

Exacqvision ***********

**** ********** **** *********** ******* *** serial ******, ***** *** ** ******** on ***** ** **** ** ******* alarms. ***** *** *** *** *** interface ** *** ******** ** **** levels *** **** ***** ** **** time.

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Milestone ***********

******* ** *****, **** ********** ** Milestone ***** *** ****** *******, ***** may ** **** ** ******* ******/****** in *********, ***** *****.

IPVM Image

Nx ******* ***********

**** ********** **** ** ******* ** adding ******* ********** ** ******* ****** to *** ** ******* ******. ***** may **** *** *** ********'* ***** stream ******* ********* ****** ** * camera ***** **** *********.

Teardown *** **** ********

** **** **** *** **** ***** to *** **** ********** ** ****. The ****** **** ********** ** * (*+)*** **********:

IPVM Image

*** ** ******** ***** * ********** laser *** *******/*********** ****** (********* ***.*).

IPVM Image

*** ******* **** */*, ********, *** other ********** *** *** ********* ** a *********** *****, ******* ** ****.

IPVM Image

** ***** **** ***** ***** ********* selection *** **** ******* **** ******** on ***** ***** ********** *** *** shelf **********:

** **** ** *** ****** ******** and ************* ******* ******* ******** ********* top-quality **********, ** **** ************* **, to **** *** ********** ************. ** have ****** ** ***** *** ******* financial *** *********** ********* ****** *** firmware *** ********, ********** *** *** custom ****** ***** ** **** ** the ******* ****** *** *** ****, protection *** **********. *** ****** ***** is *** *** *********** ****** *** utilizes ***** ** *** *** ******* to **** ********* *** ******** ** Vape *** **** ***** ******* ********** in ******** ** ***** ********* ************. We *** ************ ****** *** **** sensor ***** ** *********** **** **** features **** ***** ** ** *** many *** ********** *** ************ ** our *********** *******.

******** **** *** *********** ********, ***** sensors ******** “**********” ***** *** ******** to ******** *** ****** ** *** children *** ********* ***** *********** *******. As *** *****, ** ** ******* a ******** *** *** ***** ********* to *** *** ******** ** ** is * ***-******** ********* ** *** operation. ****, ***** ****** **** ** UL, ** *** *** *** *** certified. ** ********, *** ******* ** ROHS *********, **** *********, ****** ***** and ****** **** *****.

Device *****

******* ** **** ****** ******** ***** to ******** *** ****** ***** ****'* setup ****. **** *********, *** *** interface *** ** ******** *** *************.

IPVM Image

**** **** ** ************* *** ******** out ** *** *** ** ****** vaping. *** ****** ****** ****** ** be *******. *******, ** ******* ***** alerts *** ****** **********, ******* ************ was ********.

Installation ******* ** ** ******

**** ************ *** ******* ** * typical ******** ** ******. *** ****** requires * * **** **** ** the *******, **** **** ** ********/*** connection. **** ****** ** *** *******, two ****** *** ********* ** ****** wings ** *** ****** ***** ******* down ** *** ******* ********.

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Versions ****

*** ********* ******** **** **** ****** testing:

  • **** ******* *.**

****: **** ******* ** **** ***** Sensor ** * **** ******* *** is *** ** ******* ***** **** month ********* ** ****.

Comments (37)

What I'm getting out of this test is that someone got paid to vape. Awesome.

Was there any issues with fans or HVAC systems reducing the sensor effectiveness?

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We didn't see any issues in our testing when it was installed according to their Installation guide, away from HVAC exhaust and return ducts. If there was airflow in the room from a window and door open it would take ~30 seconds longer for the alarm to trigger.

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the first IPVM Smokeout?

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Just use edibles.

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Given the pros and cons, does IPVM recommend Halo?

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does IPVM recommend Halo?

We generally don't do specific yes/no products recommendations. As you noted, given the pros and cons, our position is that readers should understand the tradeoffs and see if it makes sense in one's own environment.

What do you think about your own scenario #3?

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In high school restrooms (busy chaos), the significant latency that was experienced in testing would be a deal killer.

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We thought that the latency and sporadic THC detection would have been big issues, but we talked to a school principal who says they've had to close bathrooms in parts of his school because they were known vape hangouts, and Halo would be worth the money to him. The generally feeling we're getting from school administrators is that vaping is such a widespread problem, they're desperate for any sort of solution that's even a little bit of a force multiplier.

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We are indeed desperate for a solution, but at $1k each we need to be fiscally responsible to our tax payers.

Why does that latency exist and is it being addressed by Halo?

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Halo response on the latency issue:

In most cases it takes time for the vape cloud to drift from floor level into the ceiling mounted device, where it is then analyzed by our sensors and software. Most students are not simply taking a single puff and walking away, I would assume they are in the bathroom for minutes at a time, so there are normally multiple opportunities to detect vape / vape THC with each incident.

Typical latencies are measured in 10’s of seconds, the average is approximately 30 to 40. This is generally enough time for Halo Smart Sensor to match a Vape signature and generate a notification (email/sms) or alarm that can be received by supported VMS systems. The ability to couple the Live MJPEG Dashboard from Halo and Live video from camera(s) in close proximity to Halo is a powerful method of determining which students are involved. This eliminates the need to catch the students in the act. We have received very positive feedback from educational customers across the nation that this coupling is working quite well for them.

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Do you think you would have had better capture if the unit was flushed with the ceiling in lieu of being several inches below the same?

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No. We actually have it mounted permanently in the ceiling, now. Performance has been pretty much the same.

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maybe it should alert on people who are looking at it worryingly ;)

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For context, this won ISC West / SIA's Best New Product for 2019, which of course, they did not test.

This is why it's important to test things to know how it actually works, otherwise one is just judging on the concept, not the execution.

Agree: 2
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We are seeing a lot of traction with HALO sensors in schools We have been integrating them with Avigilon and linking the events to video and also making the events searchable from ACC client.

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Mike, how are you handling the operational issues involved? Is latency an issue for you? Any false alerts? etc.

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Having the video tied to the trigger events helps a lot. Once an event comes in they can see who came in and out of the bath rooms. Over time you see the same person or groups of people entering/leaving the bath rooms which they then address.

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Great test, thank you. Perhaps I'm not understanding but how does the device interface to external devices that are not VMS's- alarm panels or other stand-alone type systems?

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The Halo Smart Sensor has two normally open or closed relays which can be tied into an alarm system. If you want it to reporting stand alone, it can send emails/texts

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What is needed for it to sent texts/emails? An account with the manufacturer? Does it have a built in web server?

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So if a kid is vaping in the bathroom, the principals and SROs get a notification there is vaping going. They use the camera outside the bathroom to determine who enter the restroom around that time so they can hand down discipline.

No web server. Similar to an alarm sensor but in this case it is sending the signal via SMS/SMTP

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The sensor requires a 5 inch hole in the ceiling or wall, with only an Ethernet/PoE connection.

My team was provided Halo Certification Training, and we were specifically told that the unit must be mounted on the ceiling. If the ceiling is taller than 8 feet, a pole to lower it should be used (which IMHO makes it a target).

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Thanks for pointing this out, the Halo device is ceiling mounted, I updated the text to reflect that.

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What type of tweaking was required to lower the latency? Reducing the default notification time from two minutes to about one minute would be very beneficial in a school setting with three minutes between classes.

Can you give more details as to what you had to do to improve the latency? The report said "decreasing threshold from 50 to 30." Is that all it took? Just changing one setting or were there other things you had to change?

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Yes, decreasing the threshold is all that it took to lower the latency of the alarm, you can test where the threshold should be by vaping in the area and watching the bar fill. Halo did inform us that setting the threshold too low (~10 and lower) could result in false positives when the HVAC kicks on.

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What is the average size of a high school bathroom?

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With the ammonia issue, does it trigger on cleaning products or other chemical compounds?

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inspiration for product name?

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Back in the day, we used to blow the smoke into a bottle that had been stuffed with dryer sheets. Not sure you need to add that to your test, but where there's a will, there's a way.

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We have been testing this in a HS bathroom for 5 months. They can detect things but the reality is almost all kids are using JUUL and the amount the JUUL emits is almost nothing. This product is not a good fit for detecting JUUL devices. Large "tank" like devices emit a much larger amount of vapor and the unit reacts to those more effectively.

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To the testers of this device: Question - How long did it take for the readings to normalize, i.e. did you test the accuracy of any of the sensor measurements against standardized test sensors. By this I mean the environmental sensors like temperature, humidity, CO2, light levels, TVOC, etc?

If all this device needs to do is detect the "signature" of the air when vaping is present, I suppose the accuracy of all of these other sensors is immaterial, but it still would be helpful to know if the on-board sensors are accurate and if they are actually measuring or are they calculating some of the values?

Thanks

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Does the sensor trigger on hair products (sprays) that may be used in the bathrooms? We have had some interest from schools that are looking for a solution.

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We did not test specifically with hair products but it did not alarm on sprays like air freshener. We still keep the Halo device up so I can test with a can of hairspray or Axe body spray and get back to you.

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IPVM - can you update your unit to the new firmware and see if JUUL is detected more?

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Jason, thanks for the feedback / question.

Yes, we will re-test with the new firmware as we just bought the Verkada SV-11 and can then test side by side. Related, feedback from IP VideoCorp on the new firmware:

We have had hundreds of schools report that Halo has successfully identified students vaping with JUUL’s. Additionally, with our latest no cost firmware update we have added “Masking” detection which further enhances Halo’s capability to detect attempted masking of vape by an individual spraying aerosols and/or perfume while vaping to try and avoid detection. The new release also contains gunshot detection, key word detection and air quality index.

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Any updates on lawsuits?

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#11, yes, there is a second lawsuit that we did not cover originally with a response and new information from IP Video Corp. Our update on the lawsuits is here.

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