Access Control, Building Controls, Security

The Brainpower Behind Smart Sensors and Their Use in Facilities

There have been a number of advances in security technology, particularly in relation to sensor technology, that are being realized in ways that make the lives of facility managers easier. But what exactly is a “smart” sensor?

Smart buildings concept

Sasin Paraksa /

Smart sensors are microprocessor driven electronic devices that include communication capability and on-board diagnostics enabling more accurate and automated collection of data to make intelligent decisions. Anyone with a smartphone essentially has a sensor in his or her possession.

Smart devices can be IP cameras, tablets, iPads, computers, laptops, televisions, consoles, and other electronic devices. A wealth of data can be gathered from smart sensors to improve safety and system performance.

Advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) are giving rise to the use of smart sensors in smart buildings. Sensors are being deployed throughout enterprises to protect people, facilities, and resources from damage or harm. Physical security is one of the essential areas contributing to the growth of smart and IoT devices in the future. To date, these examples show how IoT and smart technology are being used to enhance not only a facility’s physical security, but also its general operation.

Smart Sensors for Facility Security and Operations

  1. Perimeter access control. Connected sensors can control access to restricted areas and detect people in nonauthorized areas. Security can be notified in real-time about perimeter breaches and approaching threats.
  2. Video surveillance and monitoring. Motion detection, audio detection, and alert systems trigger video that pinpoints the specific activity and allows a security guard to more easily detect a breach.
  3. Intrusion detection systems. Monitor suspicious activity, reduce false alarms, and prevent intruders.
  4. Equipment tampering. Using sensors to detect movement, misplacement vandalism of equipment, etc.
  5. Suspicious behavior. Measuring key identifiers such as a high heart rate or nervous movements and other erratic personality characteristics.
  6. Automobile tracking, traffic, and parking control. Monitoring of vehicles to optimize driving routes and alerts for accidents and traffic jams. Secure entrance gates or smart parking garage to allow entry and track traffic coming in and out. Monitor parking space availability.
  7. Safety of structures. Monitor vibrations and material conditions in buildings, bridges, and other structures.
  8. Noise control. Sound monitoring in bar areas and entertainment venues.
  9. Lighting. Intelligent and adaptive scene lighting.
  10. Fire and explosion detection. Monitor combustion gases, chemicals, and other potential fire hazard conditions.
  11. Earthquake, landslide, and avalanche prevention. Monitor soil moisture, vibrations, and earth density to detect dangerous patterns in land conditions.
  12. Water monitoring. Monitor the quality of water or chemical leaks and waste.
  13. Indoor air quality and temperature. Ventilation, control of temperature, and monitoring of toxic gases and oxygen levels.
  14. Fall detection and patient surveillance. Monitor conditions of patients in hospitals and people living independently.

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