Combating Vaping Epidemic - Halo Smart Sensor Profile

By IPVM Team, Published Dec 21, 2018, 07:41am EST

Youth vaping has become an epidemic, according to the US Surgeon General, while the market leader, Juul, just received a $12.8 billion investment from the largest cigarette manufacturer, with the WSJ saying that "Teen Vaping Has Created Addicts With Few Treatment Options".

In the midst of this crisis, more and more schools are looking for ways to combat this, including detecting when vaping occurs.

IPVM Image

One company, IPVideo Corp believes they have an answer to this with their Halo Smart Sensor. Based on our research and interview with company principals, we take a look at:

  • Large investment in vaping
  • Vaping statistics
  • IPVideo Corp overview
  • Halo overview
  • Testing
  • 3000 units already sold
  • Residential version forthcoming
  • Looking for funding partners
  • Competitive advantage
  • Market strategy

Executive *******

*** **** ******** ****** to *** ** ** learn ********* ****** ** ambient *****, *********, *** noise *** **** ***** and ****** **** ***** levels *** ***-******. *** Halo *** **** ** integrated **** ******** *******.

*******, *** ******** ***** for ****** $*,*** * unit, ***** ** **** expensive **** **** *********** security ******* **** **** legacy *******, *** **** smoke, **, *** *** detectors.

***** ******* **** *** been ****** *** **** than ** *****, *** Halo ** * *** (not ********* ********* ***) product *** ** **** not ****** **, ****** the ******* ******* ********* of ********* ** *****.

Large ********** ** ******

********* **, **** ***** on ***************** * ***** $**.* billion ********** ** ******/*-*** company **** ** ******** parent ******—*** ******* ******* company ** *** **. Atria's **% ***** ** Juul ** * *****-******* dollar **** ** ********** in *** ****** ** vaping. ******'* ********** ***** Juul * ******** ******* as **** ** *** excerpt *****:

IPVM Image

**** ***** **** ****** puts * ******* ****** of ********* ****** ****** Juul *** ******.********* ** ***********.***, **** is *** **. ******* ***** *** ****. While *** ***-** **** Altria ** * **** for ******** ****** ******* Juul, *** ******* ********** of ******, ************ ***** young ******, ** * real ******** *** *******.

Vaping **********

**** ******** **** *** National ********* ** **** Abuse**** ****** ** ****** among **** ****** **** 70% ** ***** **** exposed ** ****** ********* as ***** ** *** screen *** *****:

IPVM Image

***********, ***** *** **** of***-******** *******, **** ****, mango, **è** ****é, *** fruit ******. **** **** ********** to ** **** **** and **** **** *** sneaking **** ****** ********* to ****.

IPVideo **** ********

******* ****, ******* ** 1996 *** ***** ** Bay *****, **, *** 80 ********* *** ********* itself ********* * ************:

**'** * ****** *** of * ******. ** manufacturer * ******** *** then ********** ***** ********, like ********* *** ****** control, *** *********, *********, Axxon, ******, *** **** for *****.

************ *******'* *************, *******-******** ****** ** 2016.

*** ***** ***** ********** some ** *** ****'* features:

******* **** ** ************ all *** **** ******** itself *** ********* ********* ****** ** *********** University*** ******** ***********.

Halo ********

*** *******, **** ********, gas, *****, *** ***** detection, **** ** ******* schools ***** ****** *** school-violence *********. *******, *** company **** ** *** applications ** ***** ***** as *************** *****:

IPVM Image

******* **** *** ****, with ** **** ** $995 ***** ********** *** integrated **** * ********'* VMS ** ***** ******** backend, ********* * ***** chip ****** * *** and ******* ******* ** a ****** *****. *** company **** *** ****** also **** ** ** learn ******** *** **** go **** ***** *** notify **** ****** ** a ********* ** ***** were ***-******. *** **** can **** ******* ** 3rd ***** ******* **** water ********* *** ** equipped **** ********* *** that *******. *** **** unit *** ** ******* or ****** *******.

Their *******

******* *** **** *** very ********* ******* ****. They ********* ******* **-***** with * ******-***** ******* chamber:

** **** *** ** in *** *** * test ******* ***** ** mount * **** *** inject ***** ******* ** gases **** *** ******* to ***** *** ********** to ****** ***** *****. And **** ** *** 'vape ****.' **’** ******** one ** *** *** companies **** **** ******* employees ** **** **** work *** **** ** order ** **** *** sensors.

3,000 ***** ******* ****

**** ** *** ********* to *** **** ****** yet *** **** ** there ** * ****** of *****, ******* ****:

** **** ********** *** product. ** **** ** pilots ***** *** ***** now. *******, ** **** another *,*** ***** ****** in ******* *** ***** are ******* ****. **** we’ll ** ** ******* availability.

Residential ******* ***********

***** ***** ***, ******* said *********, ******** **********, hospitality, *** ********** *** driving ****'* ******, ***** was * *********** ***** planned:

*****'* * *********** ***** that **** ** ****** out ****. **'** ****** Q4 ** **** ****.

******* **** *** *********** and ****** ** *** residential ***** **** ****** largely ** ****** *******. They **** *** *********** unit ***** ** ****** back, **** ****** ***** be ******* ******** ** PoE *** ***** **** a **** ***** ****.

Looking *** *********

******* ** * ********* held, *********-****** *******, *** said ** *** ******** pursuing ******* *******.

**’** ******* *** ******* partners *** **** ******* to **** ** ***. We’ve ****** **** * number ** ******* ******** and **’** ******* *** the **** *** ***** now.

******* ************ $** ******* ********** in ****.

Competitive *********

*** ** *** ******* competitive ********** ** *** Halo **** **** *********** like******** **** ******* *** ******* ** integrate **** * ********'* existing ****-****** *** ******** infrastructure:

*** ****** ********** **** various *** ******** ***** their ***** ********. **** we **** **** *** ability ** ******* **** fire *** **** *** a ******* */* *****. And ** ******, ** can **** ************* *** email *** **** *****. Through *** *****, ** can **** ** ******** to *** ****** ******* system.

**** ** ********* ********** to ********* ***** ***** Generic ***** *******. **** a ******* ********* ** triggered, **** ***** ***-******* string ****** ***** *** or ***. **** ***** messages ***** * ******* string ** *********, ** event ****** ********* *** be *********. **** *** platforms ********* ***** *******/*********, Exacq, *** ******* **** support *** ******* ***/** Socket *********** ** ***** specifications.

***********, ******* **** **** while *** ***** ***** for ***********, **** *** also ******* ***** ** develop ****** ************ *** access *******:

** **** ***** *********** next **** ** ****** integration **** * ****** different ****** ******* *******. We've *** * ****** reach *** ** ** and *** **** **** the ***********.

******* **** **** ** certification ** ** *******, as ** ** ****** to *** **********. *** Halo ** **** ********* for *********, ***** ***********, ****** ** *** an ******** ******-********* ****, is ***.

***** *** ****** ** Soter ************ *** ***** on ***** ******** ******** were *** ********.

Market ********

******* **** **** **** were ****** * ************ path ** ******, **** a *********** ** ************ through *** ************ ****** channel ** **** ** direct-to-consumer *******:

**'** ** **** ******-**-******** and **** *** ****** channel. ** **** ***** 12 ******* *** **’** talking ** * ****** of ******** *********** ****** like ****** *****, *** example.


***** ** **** *** tested **** *** ***** this ******* ** ** new, ** ****** ***** much ** ** *******. However, ** ****** *** continues ** ****, ** would ****** *** ****** for ******* *************** ** increase.


**** ******* *** *** West '**** ** ****'******, ********* ** ****, ISC **** **** *** test *** ******** ** this ** ***** ** the *******, *** *** implementation.

Comments (77)

Dan, good reporting.

Btw, one ironic note: In final edits, I removed a reference to this product winning awards (including from ASIS) since industry awards are generally nonsensical. This product won an ASIS award 3 months ago and it is still not shipping today.

In what domain does a thing get an award that has not been released? Do movies win Oscars before they are released? Does a car win an award before its released? Our industry's approach is embarrassing.

Do movies win Oscars before they are released?

Certainly worthy of a razzie is their epic NSFW* short:

*Not Safe For Wrestling

Knowing you, I thought you literally made up this video but it's theirs and I was just the 5th view:

Nobel Prize

Dont we do the same thing with the Nobel Peace Prize?

Will it also detect dab pens? If you’re not familiar with the term, it is a device very similar to a vape pen, but substitutes THC for the nicotine. Not sure if this tech would know the difference. I would assume it would detect any vape type device. 

Hey Jon,


I talked a little with IPVideo Corp this afternoon. Here's what they have to say about Halo and vaping THC:

We have experimented with the different types of vape devices and are able to detect vaping no matter what device type is used. However, a recent study has shown that vaping THC can lead to toxic levels of ammonia in the vapor. Since ammonia is one of Halo’s detectable chemicals we can identify the vaping of THC.

The following update is included in the story inline above:

HALO is currently integrated to Milestone using their Generic Event feature. When a defined threshold is triggered, HALO sends pre-defined string values using TCP or UDP. When these messages match a defined string in Milestone, an event within Milestone can be triggered. Many VMS platforms including Video Insight/Panasonic, Exacq and Genetec list support for Generic TCP/IP Socket connections in their specifications.


Let me be the first to proclaim that I have zero confidence that what this company says their product can do can be reproduced ITRW.

test chamber?  man, please.....

that video with their CEO pitching it's potential uses - in particular as a vape detection unit (relative to this string)?  he's dreaming.

spend a grand and put one up in the boys bathroom and - even if it works to detect vaping (which I have no confidence it would) - you have succeeded in moving illicit vaping to another location that doesn't have these 'detectors'.




spend a grand and put one up in the boys bathroom... and you have succeeded in moving illicit vaping to another location that doesn't have these 'detectors'.

like the girls bathroom ;)

But the bathrooms can’t have cameras. The rest of the school can. 

It’s not a camera.


Really? That was my point. You can’t put a camera in the bathroom but you can put this sensor. You don’t need these sensors everywhere else because you can monitor those areas with cameras. 

"You can’t put a camera in the bathroom but you can put this sensor. You don’t need these sensors everywhere else because you can monitor those areas with cameras."

...which makes it a great platform for introducing vaporware to the needy.

If I was the school administrator, I'd wait for the real world tests in actual school bathrooms before I sign up.

Also, in the CEO video he can't help but to dangle the current buzz term (AI) in his pitch.... as if the sensor needs to 'learn over time' what acceptable levels of various gasses are in school bathrooms - and then be able to alert on variances of same.

Serious question:  What does the sensor do if I blow a seriously large cloud of vapor from my vape device while simultaneously pressing the trigger on my 'can of air' that I use to blow crud off my keyboard?

The whole idea of alerting based on anomalous gas level readings in school bathrooms would be a joke if someone wasn't offering a product that claims to be able to do it.   


Sorry, I read it backwards :(

I do that sometimes myself. No biggie. 

Hey UD#3, thank you for the comment. I appreciate your input. I haven't seen any testing, so I can't vouch for its accuracy or the device's actual effectiveness in the real world. When a unit becomes available, I can imagine we may obtain and test the unit ourselves and publish a report.

However, in regard to your statement:

spend a grand and put one up in the boys bathroom and - even if it works to detect vaping (which I have no confidence it would) - you have succeeded in moving illicit vaping to another location that doesn't have these 'detectors'.

I have to ask, what should school administrators do in the face of a problem like illicit vaping on school grounds? In the bathroom or library or wherever? Just because putting up a deterrent in one area may succeed only in forcing the rule breakers to move to a different location, that's not a reason to NOT attempt to stop the problem where you can, right? 

I feel that to not attempt to prevent the bad behavior in one area just because people will perpetrate the behavior elsewhere would be like the police saying "if we pull someone over for speeding on this road, they're just going to go and speed somewhere else, so we're not going to pull people over for speeding." Or a school saying if I put in lockdown capabilities at my school to drop all fire doors and lock all exterior doors, the shooter could just shoot out a window, so I'm not going to have access control on my school at all." 

I'm not sure I agree with your analogies - but that is neither here nor there.

My primary point is that I don't believe their device can accomplish what they say it can - at least related to vape detection via gas level anomalies in school bathrooms.

Blow a huge cloud right into the sensor?  maybe.  measure ambient gas levels in a school bathroom?  c'mon man... please.

My secondary point is that solutions that deter a certain activity are not 'solving' the root problem at all (the proliferation of vaping) - but instead imagine that they can provide value by purporting to deter the behavior.

And anything designed to deter addictive human behavior is destined to be challenged and beaten with little effort - if it ever worked in the first place.

If this device doesn't actually work, it will presumably be evident quickly in the marketplace. I don't know that it's productive to insist that it won't - it's simply either true or not.

As for the value - *assuming* it's important for a school or organization to find out if people (students) are vaping in their building, this seems like an ideal solution, given that cameras shouldn't be in the restroom. 

Sensor goes off, there's a camera outside in the restroom in the hallway, pretty easy to find out who was in the bathroom vaping. Seems pretty simple and effective to me. 

"My secondary point is that solutions that deter a certain activity are not 'solving' the root problem at all"

I'm not sure a single product ever discussed or reviewed on IPVM has "solved the root problem" - do IP cameras solve the root problems of theft, assault, vandalism...? 




Instead of installing one of these in every bathroom, I'd think about rotating one or two - one in the third floor boy's room for a week, a second in the girl's locker room for a week, then move them to other floors, areas. Spot-checking for vaping.

A few kids get caught, the problem may be significantly reduced or eliminated without a having paying for one in every single restroom.


"My secondary point is that solutions that deter a certain activity are not 'solving' the root problem at all"

you only quoted the first part of my sentence - which was just the set-up for what you left off:

"- but instead imagine that they can provide value by purporting to deter the behavior."

While I may have worded that weakly, my point is that I don't think a vape detector in a school bathroom deters the behavior (vaping) at all...

No more than I think that (as in your example) surveillance cameras 'solve' crime.

They both simply try and protect against 'the bad thing' from happening in close proximity to itself - just by being there.

So, if the goal is simply to get kids not to vape in school bathrooms (epidemic?), I can think of a far easier way - that I suspect would probably be more effective.

A printed sign saying VAPE DETECTION SENSORS IN USE outside the bathroom entrance would 'move the bad thing somewhere else' - and cost maybe 52 cents.

I agree with some of the past comments.  If a device (any device) claims to do something, then put it to the test of time.  Companies/People dont continue to spend money on something that is a dud...normally :).  A few members of our company sat down with some representatives of IP Video and the bottom line is that the Halo sensor can do A LOT, one of which is the Vape detection.  If you were to ask me would i pay $1000 for a device that only detects Vapeing?  Probably not, but would i pay $1000 for a device that 1 of its many features was Vape detection, then absolutely.  And IP Video has come out with some pretty phenominal products previously, so they have a few notches in their belt.  


As far as the point of a detector not being able to eliminate the problem of Vaping.  I agree that there is no way to eliminate an "epedimic" with a simple sensor, just the same way that putting smoke detectors in a building just pushes smokers outside, it does not make them quit entirely.  


But if that is the case, then what is the point of trying at all.  We shouldnt bother with metal detectors at schools, or smoke alarms in hotels.  the defenition of "deterence" is the action of discouraging an action thru instilling doubt or fear of consequence.  If a school puts these in their bathrooms or where ever might be a convenient place for a group of students to be vaping, and they are able to stop 1 more student from starting it becuase of that "doubt or fear" then money well spent.  

as the primary antagonist in this yarn, I will say that I do not disagree with the premise of your words.


breaking down your three paragraphs, lets start with the first one, right after:

"and the bottom line is" - ok?

you go on to include some claims in the rest of paragraph 1 that are not quantified beyond the sentence mentioning them.

paragraph 2 we are clearly both on the same page.

paragraph 3 appears to me to be a defense of your position in paragraph 2.  so - we agree here.

please expand on your claims in paragraph 1.


apologizes on not expanding on the other parts of it.  

Below is the link to the Halo webpage and also a link to the write up of them winning the Astors award, by using a mixture of Chemical, Sound, and Light, and Air Quality sensors they are able to detect a vast array of situations.  It can work as a smoke dectector, occupancy sensor, and also detect raises in sound levels.  Add in the integration (either software level or thru relays) to a VMS platform and your able to trigger events based on the alarms.  

Like i said before, $1000 for a Vape detection sensor, ehh.  $1000 for all of those sensors in one, doesnt sound bad. 

And also, apologizes on the miss on the sign,  lets make it $1000.52 and we have a deal. using a mixture of Chemical, Sound, and Light, and Air Quality sensors they are able to detect a vast array of situations.

Can it detect hot air?

a link to the write up of them winning the Astors award


I scanned through the Astors link you provided but it's just your marketing material and other generic comments, no analysis or testing or anything that would indicate they did anything. Am I misreading it or missing something? If so, please clairfy.

also, you ignored my cost analysis regarding the 52 cent sign.

I can't say whether it does what they say it can or not. Time and deployments will tell that. As to your second point about solving the root cause, of course it doesn't. Tylenol doesn't cure the root cause of your headache, but you still take that on occasion, probably. There's a lot more (including human resources) than one piece of technology that would need to go into solving the root cause of why kids try addictive substances, break rules, disrespect authority, etc. This device doesn't claim anywhere to permanently "cure" anything. It's branded on their site as a "detector."

I have a question. If these are placed in areas with no cameras (e.g., bathrooms) and the student is already breaking school rules by vaping, what stops said teenager from breaking the Halo device? 

You would have to assume the kid had:

1/ Knowledge of the existence of the Halo

2/ Ability to reach it

3/ Ability to destroy it

As the parent of a teenager with many friends that are high school teachers, I can confirm: kids are dumb. :) 

I can't imagine any of them knowing such a detector would exist, let alone recognize it on site to do something with it. Vandalism is much further down the road of delinquency than vaping - many many kids are vaping that wouldn't go so far as to destroy school property, even if, as Jon notes, they even knew about the device.

I can't imagine any of them knowing such a detector would exist

The device is not meant to be covert, correct? Even if they don't know when it's first installed, once someone gets caught with it (e.g., teacher runs in), it won't be that hard to figure out that the school has a device monitoring them.

But let me step back - what is the process to respond to a vaping alert? Presumably, you can't just punish everyone in the bathroom. A teacher or staff would need to go in and verify. The student then hides the Juul. Can the teacher or staff than search them? I don't know. I am genuinely curious about the process.

You send a same sex staff member casually into the restroom and bust them based on smell. You don’t tip your hand about the sensor they know nothing about. 

All the schools we have installed cameras in having cameras outside the bath rooms has be very high on the list.   This sensor along with the cameras outside the restrooms will help narrow down the suspects who where in the bathroom at the time the sensor went off. 

1. Make hole in wall.

2. Blow vape into hole using straw.

3. System defeated.

4. Smarter sensor invented, works for beta...kid at school again defeats new sensor.


How come most cannot see that the hack overrides the system.

Do we need drug testing? AKA, smart toilets?

We have technology and we do not use it. Why buy a vape sensor that is familiar to the typical $18 dollar smoke/Co2 sensor available at target, Walmart anywhere? 

So school systems are going to fork over a grand for each sensor? 

RIP OFF. Not on my dollar.

Why not offer a $500 dollar reward system for kids to narc on kids?

You all should be embarrassed. Offer a solution, be creative and not just sit here and talk about Halo like it is some type of de facto genius system. HOAX!

I'll keep screaming until I get modded by IPVM.

If the system is OBVISOUSLY flawed as mentioned above, state it. Test it. 

Bench test before review or it is all gossip. Test now, can I just blow the vape into the wall and that sensor sits there useless????


Offer a solution, be creative and not just sit here and talk about Halo like it is some type of de facto genius system. HOAX!

I'll keep screaming until I get modded by IPVM.

That's funny...

I think it's pretty clear from my comments I don't think it's a 'genius system' but I also doubt it's a 'hoax'. We are covering this since vaping detection is a genuine rising security issue (which our members are interested in) and there are currently few options to consider.

You're welcome to continue to object to it. Try though not to scream...

Ok, no screaming.

Can IPVM test this out? Catch the speeding train please.

Yes, we would test it. Dan, please coordinate.

Awesome, you guys are the best.

Happy New Year, I will stop being such a troll.


Our children's health matters, even mental health. Using a device such as this could be invasive, perhaps useful if the design and education on it's intended use is perfected, field tested and analyzed. I just feel the rollout has been too fast, I just heard of it and it is already installed? Parents have a right, we all want what is best but we should still be given options before spending money and manipulating exemptions to privacy. There are a lot of broken obstacles our kids have to navigate, participation pays what it weighs.

Yes, we would test it. Dan, please coordinate.

IMHO, it’s a waste of time.

School bathrooms, in general, and stalls in particular, don’t use drywall construction, hence “poking” a hole into the next room is not so simple.  Maybe with a decent masonry bit and cordless drill.

Perhaps you can remember your own school, maybe painted cinder blocks or brick...

If it was Sheetrock, a vaper would not need to poke anything, as it would be already kicked in.

Exactly the reason to test scenarios prior to some company bring a thousand dollar device to the table.

Once a hole is drilled it is free for all. If Bruce Willis can figure out an asteroid he has never been too...quite sure our children will surpass ceramic tile, cinder block and even sold concrete wall.

The point is our children now being governed by an IoT/AI device prematurely before knowing what freedoms may exist or be upheld.

Yes we can deploy any complex system while the future simplifies and beta tests the results. However how come these innovators cannot provide the data upfront?

If the $10k worth of sensors, cameras on the outside of bathrooms are too difficult why not just find an alternate location to vape?

You can install sensors everywhere, but then what is the point of expressing free will and freedom that has already been governed, dictated, regulated and dictated.

There are smart ways to educate and inform the younger generation about drugs, vaping, food, caffeine and the internet in general. 

Installing in your face recognition systems and technology will deflate the mind of the child that has the opportunity to grow.

So, you don't want them to vape? Tell me which sensor will protect your child forever?

I think this sensor is not needed to regulate and control freedom. The money should be spent to liberate the minds that reciprocate the wellness of not vaping to an extent of health risk(things not normal), the minds that do not reciprocate are the exact people we need to help in everyway we can. The case may be as simple as those children's mentors, parents and idols do not explain the give and take of your own actions, abilities and desires.





I’m confused by your position:

Are you concerned that the device won’t work?

(Your hole-in-the-wall argument)

Or are you concerned that it will?

(Because of the premature abrogation of the right to vape)

It is obvious the hole in the wall will circumvent the sensor, just like your argument.

Please try harder, I encourage you.

Read between the lines, even if you have basic 5th grade logic gates you should see what I am deciding on.

However you cannot troll. That is my job and I already have you.

Halo technology is broken, they can prove it otherwise. 

Case Closed.

U#1, I'm quite sure the device will function correctly if the event is a big rip of vape smoke in the air. As far as the hole in the wall, that can be anywhere not just in the bathrooms. Kids hang out all over the place in school, I would suspect to find holes everywhere imaginable. 

I might have to take up vaping myself to test some of the ideas I have to circumvent the system, cough.

Kids hang out all over the place in school, I would suspect to find holes everywhere imaginable.

1) Ciggarettes make far more smoke than vaping 

2) Since time immemorial kids have been smoking cigarettes in lavatories and trying to avoid getting caught

3) The typical way they get caught is by someone smelling or seeing smoke.

Therefore, such blowholes, as you describe, would be even more helpful to traditional smokers of years past.

Yet, it was not common knowledge, at my school at least, where these helpful holes were located.

Does anybody remember these in their school?

We had an unofficial dedicated smoking bathroom in my high school.  No blowholes though.  Some kids would hide the lit cig in there mouth when someone stopped in to check. 

Once a hole is drilled it is free for all.

I don’t know about you but my school bathroom didn’t have any blowholes in the concrete.  

And it would come in quite handy for ‘one-hitters’.


#5 -

Cameras can be defeated, access control can be defeated, intrusion alarms can be defeated. Do we only ever install access control unless it has a turnstile or security revolving door that prevents tailgating? The device does not have to be foolproof, it just has to help. 

Your skepticism is understandable, as I am also doubtful of a product that is vaporware (pun intended). I am sure there are a lot of challenges such as the size, height, and construction of the room. Will it be more likely to trigger false positives or miss detections? 

I like John's earlier question about response. This is the true measure of the tool. How would you respond if it false alarms (ever) and how would that affect your policy on searches? This device will be one tool and it's always about how tools are used and their usefulness.  

It is certainly an interesting product and it is attempting to address an issue that is likely the biggest disciplinary problem schools face today. 

Bravo for them and their ingenuity. "Necessity is the mother of invention."

John, bet you $5 in IPVM credit that you have a very difficult getting your hands on one for testing. I don't think they would want to subject their product to your testing standards, no matter what they say.

A note - vaping rarely has enough of a smell to really detect easily, even THC.

John, based on your question, I reached back out to IPVideo Corp to see if they had encountered these issues with any of their pilot schools. They introduced me to an outside security consultant they work with on such matters. His name is Joe Pangaro from True Security Design. Joe is a former NJ Police LT and School Safety Director. Here's what he had to say on the process of actually following through on a vaping-detector alert.

Your questions will no doubt be the basis for some precedent-setting court cases in the near future. With the rising number of schools adding SRO's and class III officers (in NJ), the presence of law enforcement in the schools will change the environment. 

Until that happens we can look to current practices for guidance on what school personnel can do when a HALO alert comes in.  Generally speaking, school officials (Not police officers assigned to or working in the school) can take actions such as searching students, lockers, book bags and backpacks to uncover violations of school rules or district policy.

The concept is this: the school officials can do what they need to do to maintain the safety of the school and enforce school rules. Therefore, vaping or smoking must be specifically banned by school rule and be part of the school's official policies.

This is the main area to understand: If the school is looking for violations of state laws and the uncovering of crimes, any searches, and their permissibility are different than if they are looking for the violation of school rules. This may seem confusing but involves constitutional issues afforded to people subject to criminal prosecution. If that isn't confusing enough, if the school is searching to secure the school and enforce school rules as it is their right and responsibility and something criminal is discovered, such as drugs or weapons, then the evidence will be admissible in any criminal investigation that follows involving the police.  As long as the original search was done to uncover a violation of a school rule or policy then it will usually be OK.

Any time the police are involved it changes the situation drastically. The police are subject to the constitutional requirements for searches for criminal activity and may need search warrants to search students, bags, lockers etc. It is for this reason that we usually advise school officials to have a policy in place that specifically bans smoking and vaping as well as the investigative procedures that could be followed if smoking or vaping is suspected (E.G. searches). We also tell them that unless there is an immediate physical danger to the students such as a student with a weapon, they should conduct their investigation of school rules and policy and conduct any searches they need to gather that evidence before they call the police.  If the facts at hand indicate immediate danger then they should call the police immediately.            

If vaping and smoking in school is officially banned then a HALO alert indicating a violation of a school rule (not the violation of state or federal law) allows the principal or his/ her designee to take action to investigate and uncover violations of the school rules and recover evidence of those violations.  This means if a school official can indicate why he/ she believes student John Doe was the person violating the school rule then they can ask that student to empty their pockets, search a backpack etc.   If there are multiple students involved then proper investigation to narrow the scope of any searching is always the best practice and should be documented very carefully.

Your question about searching or patting down a student to find the vape pen in the student's underwear is going to be the area where the lawsuits will come and case law made. It is clear that a school administrator conducting an invasive search of a students person must be done with great care and only after proper training in accordance with state law.  

If the suspected vape pen is secured in a personal area of students clothing or body, then the students should be isolated and their parents should be called to participate and help locate the vape pen.

This entire area of policy is evolving as we speak. I am working with an expert on these topics as we speak and should have a sample policy we can distribute to schools who purchase the HALO system.   

I hope this helps you, please let me know if you have any other questions.   


Btw, on this:

If the suspected vape pen is secured in a personal area of students clothing or body, then the students should be isolated and their parents should be called to participate and help locate the vape pen.

Wow, this has the potential to be one crazy situation.

Thinking out loud - wonder if there is any way to detect the Juul device itself? Surely Juul could make it discoverable...

Surely Juul could make it discoverable...

Maybe do guns too.

My thought on the utility of these devices (which is definitely an open question - would I rather have our local middle school have, say, ten more cameras or ten of these chemical detection units? Or neither?) is different than this. 

To me, it's not about rushing in to arrest a kid for vaping in the bathrooms... as a parent, I'd like to know if my kid was doing it. I see it as: system detects vaping, camera clearly shows Sally, Sarah, and Stephanie leaving the bathroom moments after the detector goes off, school counselor lets me know (as Sally's mom) that it's possible or likely my kid was vaping, which I didn't know about. 

Much less about a criminal action or about searching, etc., "proving" which kid was vaping, but more about letting parents know if your kid may have a problem you didn't know about. I also think after these kinds of interventions happened, there'd be a lot less vaping at school - there would be a significant deterrent effect. Less about deterring kids already vaping (though I think that would happen, too), but more about reducing the likelihood of "on the fence" kids from picking it up by reducing exposure. 

Not sure how many posters have high school kids, but vaping has become *huge* in a very short time. It's likely not nearly as bad as smoking, but a large swath of the teenage population self-medicating with nicotine, THC, and worse is simply not a good thing. 

If these are placed in areas with no cameras (e.g., bathrooms) and the student is already breaking school rules by vaping, what stops said teenager from breaking the Halo device?

I’m assuming because they would get caught right away via tamper alert.  If it can detect aggressive behavior/sounds, why wouldn’t it know it was being attacked?

That's a good point. I do wonder how long it takes to respond, i.e., if the school is even moderately sized, it could take a minute (or a few minutes) and the students could be gone by then.

I would be worried that the guards who are tasked with responding would eventually stop going because of false alarms, or that the kids are gone before they actually make it up to the bathroom. Boy cried wolf sort of thing.

What about underage drinking, any type of sensor you can install in the schools to monitor that? Analytics that spot drunken behavior(teachers getting caught as well).

What about bad foods, it is not healthy for kids to blow up like balloons? Perhaps sugar and cholesterol tests before and after lunch? A weekly health report card for the parents to see what their kids are consuming be it, nicotine, thc, alcohol, excess glucose, excess caffeine, excessive food. 

Let's just tighten the wrench on everyone. If all you are going to detect is vaping because you can it is not enough to resolve the issue. I am sure money can be made, just persuade the school system into buying into vaping.

Since people presume kids are dumb, why not just blow the vapor in grocery bag, or a battery powered filter where you just reload with some tissue? Kids are not dumb, they are smarter than most adults, whose brains have already hardened and molded by the society they grew up in. Since I do not vape, can someone take a straw and blow the vape into a bottle of water to see what happens? Use a long straw and just blow it into the toilet bowl.

Edit: I would just poke a hole in the wall and use the straw to blow the vape smoke into the wall. Case closed!

Note: A vape sensor is not a good idea, it can be defeated. Think smoke alarms installed in airplane bathrooms, get it? good. 

Use a long straw and just blow it into the toilet bowl.

Stop trying to blow smoke up everyones a**

Very Punny, I'm dying over here!


school bathrooms have toilets in them.

so do county jail cells (I watch the Discovery Channel and NatGeo).

puff and flush (or maybe flush and puff).

now you have a thousand dollar ceiling hanger that aint doin' squat and your water bill goes up $500/month.

The schoolboy fantasy of circumventing electronic security with countermeasures is not exactly a new one; here the school’s SOC is ultimately destroyed in pursuit of a few drags.

Countermeasures begin @ 1:50.

As seen on LinkedIn 4/10/19 - from ISC West: 

Update Added To Post

This product won ISC West 'Best In Show' though, important to note, ISC West does not test any products so this is based on the concept, not the implementation.

Found another vendor Xsponse at ISC with a vap detection device. 

Michael, thanks for sharing! Note they have a separate website for their vaping detected product. They also link to their LinkedIn profile but it only shows 1 employee right now - a social media specialist:

Neither website whois records return any material information about the owner.

Anyone here using vap detection devices with performance feedback?

Now that the Halo is becoming more mainstream and starting to appear on RFPs, I am very concerned that IPVideo is essentially "A+ Plus Technology & Security", a security integrator on Long Island. The two companies have the same address, phone number, and executive team. Also add in "A+ Stem Labs". How can other Integrators compete with this product if they are essentially selling direct to end-users? I am almost afraid to contact them for pricing for fear they may go direct to my customer. Anyone else concerned?

They are essentially the same parent company. We are a direct local competitor to A+ Technology and I have had limited business dealings with David Antar the owner. I do not believe he would shoot himself in the foot by stealing one of your customers. If word got out that he did that it would be detrimental to the success of Halo. I would reach out and express your concerns, perhaps a quick non-compete would be an option. Best of luck.

We asked IPVideo about this and they noted that they moved Halo sales 100% through distribution, with different dealer pricing discount levels:

IPVideo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Advance Convergence Group (ACG) and we have always sold 100% through our dealer channel which now is at over 200 across the US and Canada. In order to avoid channel conflict, we have moved sales of Halo to be 100% through distribution with Ingram Micro and SourceIT. We are in talks with several other major distributors to meet customer demand. IPVideo has established pricing for un-authorized dealers, authorized dealers, registered deals and registered large volume deals completely handled by our distributors. There is an established MAP price of $1195 and an MSRP of $1295 for Halo. No OEM or alternate branding of Halo is authorized.

We know of no channel conflict to date and would appreciate your putting the concerned party in touch with us or our distributor to address. As you have noted, A+ Technology & Security is also a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACG who operates mostly in the NYC metro area with its own independent team. We are very cautious to ensure that A+ does not compete with any of the IPVideo dealers and A+ is held to the same end-user pricing as our dealers. We specifically moved Halo to distribution to remove any perceived conflict within the channel.

Additionally, we are purchasing a sensor and will be publishing a test report.

So in order to avoid an integrator conflict, they move it to a distributor, SourceIT, owned by an integrator.

I can't wait for the IPVM test... and I hope it is staged in as close to a high school boys bathroom as possible.

Ethan, the gauntlet is thrown down.

sorry... I meant Ethan and Team.

I would also like to see Derek interview as many high school vapers from the school tested as possible and ask them their opinions about the effectiveness of such sensors in their bathrooms.

Projected Interview Result:

<start interview>

Ethan, or Team: "What is your opinion about the effectiveness of vape detectors in your bathrooms?"

Random High School Vapers: "OK, Boomers!"

<end interview>

Read this IPVM report for free.

This article is part of IPVM's 6,738 reports, 909 tests and is only available to members. To get a one-time preview of our work, enter your work email to access the full article.

Already a member? Login here | Join now
Loading Related Reports