When we spoke with Ted Johnson (Systems Administrator) in June 2020, his team had just finished replacing a legacy DVR system with Verkada video security at the organization’s 300,000 square foot production warehouse. Mounted to high ceilings, their first camera deployment provided a high-quality aerial view of production operations for quality assurance.
Johnson faced three key challenges with their legacy security system that Verkada helped solve. First, he has gained remote access to HD video feeds for production monitoring and quality control. Second, he has a floor plan view of the warehouse with system health alerts to ensure no gaps in coverage. Lastly, he now has an effective tool that aids in objective incident resolution and liability protection, with unlimited cloud archiving and ease of digital evidence management.
“We’ve saved dozens of hours in investigating loss prevention, which helped us prevent tens of thousands of dollars worth of material loss.”
By installing a Verkada camera in a discrete location, the organization was even able to apprehend an ongoing loss prevention case and prevent tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of cabinetry material from being stolen. A year after their initial investment, they have since multiplied the number of cameras, and added Verkada's Environmental Sensor line their product fleet.
New Challenge: Environmental Monitoring in Critical Areas
“When the air conditioner went out in our server room, we had no way of getting alerted and could’ve potentially lost a lot of hardware. Being in the Central Valley of California, it’s not unusual for it to exceed 100℉ outside.”
Barbosa Cabinets’ manufacturing site is located in Tracy, California, where it can reach temperatures of 115℉ in the summer. The combination of hot temperatures and low humidity also elevates the risk of wildfires that lead to reduced air quality and higher levels of harmful particulates in the air. To ensure employee health and well-being, Johnson needed spatial data on how seasonal events and weather conditions impact environmental variables (such as temperature and air quality) inside the facility. Working in the manufacturing industry, he also sought a way to automate the collection of environment, health and safety (EHS) data for a record of being in compliance.
What’s New: Environmental Monitoring for Worker Health and Safety
“We use Verkada to identify potential health and safety hazards, but also to ensure that our employees feel safe and comfortable. Our EHS Manager is immediately alerted if any drastic changes occur in our environments.”
Johnson uses the Environmental Sensor to monitor for temperature, noise level, Air Quality Index (AQI), smoke and vape emissions, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), and particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5). These data streams are shown in Command with recommended sensor value ranges based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), World Health Organization (WHO), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). With native camera integration, environmental sensors provide Johnson and his team complete visibility over events happening across the plant floor.
“Our EHS Manager and Facilities Manager each have their own account with role-based permissions; they can check sensor readings from anywhere, at any time. We set custom thresholds for each sensor feed that they monitor, manage alerts for, and respond to as appropriate.”
Control Noise Levels
“Verkada is deployed in one of the louder areas in the building near our machinery. We are immediately notified if noise levels rise above 95 decibels, so we can check to make sure our employees are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) for their ears.”
Verkada’s Sensor Series features an onboard microphone that measures noise level variances. Unlike other microphone sensors, the Environmental Sensor is designed to only monitor noise and is never recording actual audio. Without jeopardizing privacy, monitoring noise level enables Johnson and his team to detect when conditions rise above the acceptable range set forth by OSHA.
Detect Spikes in TVOCs and PM2.5
“There’s a lot of paint and varnish in our finishing room, so we use the Environmental Sensor 1 to ensure TVOCs and PM 2.5 stay isolated to that area and don’t seep into the rest of the facility.”
VOC emissions, emitted by paints and varnishes, as a contributory element to the formation of PM 2.5. Even short-term exposure (up to 24-hours duration) to both TVOCs and PM 2.5 are associated with adverse health effects. With the Sensor, Johnson has a continuous reading of TVOCs and PM 2.5 in a particular space. If concentrations rise above a certain level, he and the EHS Manager are alerted via SMS text or email so they can proactively identify and prevent an incident before it escalates.
Temperature and Humidity Monitoring
“Temperature monitoring is partly for equipment health, but mostly for employee well-being. We want to make sure our employees are taken care of and take adequate breaks if the temperature gets too high. If we receive a temperature, TVOC, or PM 2.5 alert, we turn on fans to circulate air through the building and cool the space down.”
Temperature measurements are accurate from -23 °F to 122 °F. As with other data streams, users can customize temperature alerts if a space fluctuates outside of the recommended green zone. In Command, he and his team can view a high-level trendline of sensor readings over a 30-day period. All event data is automatically retained for up to 365 days, so they can retrieve any historical data as needed.
Vaping and Smoking Detection
“We received some hits on the Vape Index, which came as a surprise to us. After investigating the event, we found some employees had been sneaking cigarettes in a non-smoking area and prevented a potential safety hazard.”
Using a range of onboard sensors, devices can accurately detect the presence of cigarette smoke, THC, and vape emissions. They analyze the air for environmental signatures of smoking or vaping, then factors that into a 1 to 100 Vape Index. Verkada’s Vape Index gives Johnson and his team the ability to detect and mitigate risks associated with these events.
Air Quality Index (AQI) Monitoring during Fire Season
“Monitoring air quality, especially during wildfire season, helps us understand how local conditions impact indoor environments. This insight allows us to take steps to address it.”
The U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI) measures total air pollution and provides benchmarks for healthy values. AQI values from 0 - 100 are considered good to moderate; when AQI values exceed 100, air quality is unhealthy—at first for sensitive groups of people, than for larger groups as AQI values increase. By measuring air quality, Johnson and his team can better understand how seasonal trends may impact employee health.
New Products and Innovation
“In a short amount of time, Verkada released three new product lines—access control, sensors, and alarms—plus new features like Heatmaps and Person of Interest alerts. It speaks to their continued growth and innovation, I’m excited to see what’s next.”
Verkada delivers an end-to-end security solution with a software-first mentality; automatic software and firmware updates are included at no additional cost, so Johnson always has the latest in security and feature enhancements. All Verkada devices come with an industry leading 10-year warranty, ensuring that Barbosa Cabinets’s investment holds its value over time as the system continuously evolves and improves.
Looking Ahead: New Sensor Technology
“I’d like to deploy a few more sensors throughout the plant to give us more coverage and insight on the overall facility. Because the field of view (FOV) and quality on Verkada is much better—4K vs. 480p—we’re able to deploy fewer cameras but have better visibility.”
Johnson is looking to deploy more SV11 sensors throughout the plant, as well as another 30 cameras for manufacturing use cases such as production line monitoring. He is also adding cameras to monitor construction in the finishing room as it undergoes an infrastructure upgrade.
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