Introduction to Environmental Sensor Monitoring
Most factors that affect an organization’s ability to ensure security and compliance in the workplace are evident through observation; however, not all facets of physical safety are as straightforward. In fact, many of the repercussions that come with overlooking undetected safety hazards can be just as costly, or detrimental, to an organization.
As a result, many teams deploy a number of sensor devices to get alerts of intangible elements that may jeopardize the well-being of people, property, and assets. While all sensors gather meaningful insights that provide a comprehensive outlook of the environment around them, managing a number of physical security devices comes with expected investments in time, money, and space.
That’s why Verkada built a lineup of all-in-one environmental sensors that streamlines data insights across up to 15 different environmental readings into a centralized dashboard.
As a cloud-based solution, Verkada's sensors are designed to send proactive alerts to teams in the event of unusual changes in the environment, so teams can triage situations and maintain healthier spaces at scale.
Verkada sensors can monitors for the following environmental changes, among others:
1. Air Quality Index
One of the easiest ways to determine how safe the air is in your facility is to refer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI). Based on a scale from 0 to 500, the AQI uses a variety of sensor readings to inform on how safe the air is for breathing.
With Verkada sensors, teams can continuously monitor their facility’s AQI. By measuring indoor air quality; organizations can help ensure the safety, wellbeing, and comfort of building occupants, employees, and visitors.
AQI is also an early indicator of potential issues with air filtering components, such as HVAC systems, as well as filters reaching the end of their use, allowing organizations to remain compliant with local, state, and federal air quality regulations.
2. Vape Index
The rising popularity of vaping products has introduced a new challenge for school administrators and facilities managers. Vape sensors can be an effective way to detect and deter vaping in bathrooms and areas where video security is not an option. Verkada's sensors factor multiple data points from a range of onboard sensors into a 1 to 100 Vape Index that can accurately detect the presence of cigarette smoke, THC, and vape emissions.
"We installed the environmental sensor across campuses in areas like bathrooms that are difficult to properly monitor and are therefore likely places for inappropriate activity such as vaping. Paired with Verkada's video monitoring solution, Verkada's sensors provide a new level of visibility into what's happening in those spaces without infringing on students' privacy, giving principals, superintendents, and office administrators a more holistic understanding of student activity in school."
- Marty Oliver, Director of Technology at Godley Independent School District.
Verkada sensors can be paired with Verkada cameras to provide additional context around areas where vaping is detected. If a sensor alert goes off in the bathroom, administrators can review the event and its associated footage in Command without having to switch between different solutions.
Outside of education, monitoring vaping and smoking levels can greatly benefit industries such as restaurants where smoking has been prohibited indoors, as well as the hospitality space where hotels and guest accommodations look to proactively prevent damage to rooms caused by smoking.
3. Noise Level Monitoring
Verkada's sensors feature an onboard microphone for detecting variances in noise levels. Unlike other microphone sensors, Verkada sensors are designed to only monitor noise and is never recording actual audio.
Without jeopardizing privacy, monitoring noise level enables organizations to detect when conditions are continuously above a certain threshold, which can be an indicator of harmful conditions and a violation of regulations such as those set by the Occupancy Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Additionally, users can set different thresholds for detecting specific noise levels. For example, events like bullying and fighting can be identified when noise levels reach anywhere between 90-95 decibels.
4. Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) Detection
Particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) are any tiny inhalable particles or droplets in the air that are less than 2.5 microns in width. They can be emitted from a variety of indoor and outdoor sources that include vehicle exhausts, fuel burning, tobacco smoke, domestic heating, and even cooking.
By continuously monitoring levels of PM 2.5 in a particular space, Verkada's sensors allow organizations to monitor an environmental threat that can’t be visibly detected, but nonetheless has adverse effects on health and safety. Sensors can be set to send immediate alerts if unacceptably high concentrations are detected, so organizations know when to take action. A sudden rise in PM 2.5 may indicate a leak, an issue with the HVAC system, or something else entirely to cause these harmful particles to be detected.
5. Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) Detection
Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) include a range of chemicals emitted as gases. TVOC levels are consistently more concentrated indoors, and can reach up to ten times higher compared to outdoors. Though chemical leaks are the source of some TVOC spikes, peaks are more often associated with everyday products used for cleaning, disinfecting, and degreasing.
Continuous measurement of TVOCs can provide organizations with insight on what impacts are occurring within their environment to elevate levels of chemicals in the air. This can range from a dangerous to leak to even someone spraying heavy amounts of aerosol sprays like deodorant. Additionally, monitoring TVOC levels isn't necessarily just for detecting potentially negative impacts within your facilities. It can also be a quick way to check that facilities are being cleaned to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as for having record for ensuring proper cleaning cycles are being met.
6. Temperature Monitoring
Across any facility, one of the most important factors to monitor is temperature. From ensuring comfort across your building to ensuring equipment in the IDF closet is protected, regulating temperature can be essential to preventing equipment damage, limiting inventory spoilage, and ensuring the comfort and health of building occupants.
This is especially true for IDF and server room monitoring, where damage to equipment can be very expensive while causing catastrophic disruption to operations. Extremely high-temperature alerts might indicate an emergency event, such as a fire or explosion.
7. Humidity Monitoring
Many industries use humidity detectors in climate-controlled spaces to keep sensitive equipment and supplies safe from moisture damage. When humidity levels increase, so does temperature and vice-versa, which leads to the growth of mold, dust mites, and mildew. This can easily cause perishable goods like produce to spoil and damage sensitive merchandise such as furniture or raw materials.
With Verkada’s custom alerts, users will immediately be notified if temperature and moisture levels fall out of balance. This provides peace of mind, protection, and assurance against inventory loss for climate-controlled areas such as wine cellars, warehouses, or food inventories for schools and restaurants.
8. Motion Detection
Using passive infrared sensors, motion detectors discover and observe the movement of people, animals, and objects. This is especially useful for intrusion and occupancy detection in areas where security cameras cannot be installed for privacy reasons (hotel rooms, locker rooms, and hospital rooms, for instance).
Motion is also a strong indicator for validating other events—such as vaping or noise—to detect if those were caused by people being present or something else. To prevent unwanted access, cloud-based solutions like Verkada will send a notification straight to your device if unusual motion activity is detected during off-hours.
Combining All Sensor Technology in One Solution
Environmental sensors detect threats that cannot be physically seen with cameras, but are nonetheless be damaging to health, safety, and quality.
Rather than purchase and install separate systems, many organizations opt for an all-in-one solution. This helps to reduce overhead, hardware installation and maintenance, and total cost of ownership.
Verkada’s Environmental Sensors can also be integrated into a larger security ecosystem to simplify building management, streamlining all physical safety onto a cloud-based platform. Instead of logging into disparate systems, IT and facilities managers can view all safety and security events in one place—making it easier to create and ensure healthier spaces.
Learn how Verkada Environmental Sensors combines all eight environmental sensor applications into one solution.