Smart Sensor Devices Alert Panels When Objects Are Moved

Some things just shouldn’t move, or at least not very far.

The fact is that company assets such as expensive equipment and home valuables like flat-screen televisions make attractive targets for ambitious thieves. Take for instance a hotel lobby in the early morning hours when only a single employee is working the desk. A watchful thief needs only to wait for that employee to disappear into a back room for a few minutes to make off with a valuable vase or painting. But what if these valuables could actually tell a security panel that they are being stolen? New wireless asset protection devices that use micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to recognize movement can do just that. And the benefits represent additional services that dealers can use to expand their businesses.

These asset protection devices are small enough to be attached to items such as monitors and paintings, or even smaller objects such as a jewelry box while being completely obscured. Dealers can program the devices to send alarm signals to security panels, alerting guards and other security personnel or central stations when the object is being moved. The MEMS technology in the asset protection device uses an accelerometer – similar to those used in automobiles to detect impact and deploy air bags – to detect lateral and tilt motion.

These new sensors can perform one of three operations (loops):

High security/short-travel loop – This loop is designed for objects such as paintings, house safes or gun cabinets that should rarely, if ever, leave their locations. The asset protection technology is programmed to transmit signals if it is in motion between 1-3 seconds.

Standard security/long-travel loop – Objects such as monitors, flat-screen TVs and computers can sometimes be adjusted by the end user; however, they shouldn’t be in motion for too long. In these cases, the device transmits signals when the object has been in motion for 5 seconds or longer.

Tilt loop – Intended for assets with opening lids, the devices are programmed for tilt loop and transmit signals when the sensor detects a tilt of 30°. A perfect example application is a jewelry box. If the device is installed in the inside cover of the box, the sensor will detect tilt when a burglar opens the lid and immediately sound the alarm.

Great potential for these applications exists in both the residential and commercial markets. Office settings in particular could benefit tremendously from this technology because the sensors can transmit signals even if a security panel is not armed. This is a key feature because many commercial environments – such as colleges or hotels – require free-flowing human traffic, and the traditional use of a constantly armed panel is not practical.

One prospective customer, for example, recently considered this technology for a university where thefts of classroom projectors were on the rise. The low-tech solution involved putting metal cages around the projectors in each room. Using the asset protection devices, though, would prove a much easier and time-saving alternative.

Although most of the applications are designed to protect indoor assets, upcoming versions of these devices will be available for outdoor assets such as boat trailers, construction tools and equipment – virtually anything that should not moved off of the premise. Besides the end-user features, asset protection technology also benefits the integrator who can offer more content per sale through these easy-to-use and easy-to-program devices. Dealers can also increase monthly monitoring fees to improve recurring monthly revenue (RMR).

By selling the concept of motion-based asset devices, dealers and integrators can offer their customers protection of their valuables in a way no traditional security system has done before.

Mike Garavuso is the product manager for Louisville, Ky.-based Honeywell Security. He can be reached at


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