Smart Labs heads to Indiegogo with Halo WX, a smarter smoke detector that can also warn of natural disasters

Whereas most smoke alarms only warn of fires, Halo WX can alert you to dangers such as floods, tornadoes, and even nuclear emergencies.

One of the pitches Smart Labs makes on its website promoting Halo WX, purportedly the smartest smoke alarm ever created, is that "safety shouldn't discriminate." The company's referring to Halo's ability to connect with most smart-home systems including Iris, iControl, SmartThings, and Apple's reportedly delayed HomeKit, but it could have just as easily been in response to Mother Nature's indiscriminate tendencies when it comes to natural disasters ranging from hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.

Smart Labs says its Halo WX is the first alarm to quickly detect flash fires, smoldering fires, and carbon monoxide in a single device, but that's not all it does. Halo WX is pre-configured to receive geographically localized tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service

Why this matters: Halo and Halo WX aren't the first smart smoke alarms on the market, but Smart Labs does have ambitions of them being the best. In addition to the advanced functionality of Halo WX, both also supposedly do a better job than competitors like Nest at reducing false alarms through "intelligent monitoring of five different sensors." Nest has been criticized for sounding a false alarms, and if you prescribe to the 'boy who cried wolf' philosophy, that could make you less likely to react appropriately to a real emergency.

The Halo WX's weather-alert feature was born out of a close call involving the father of Smart Labs co-founder Ben Stagg, who had a close encounter with the tornado that struck Joplin, MO and claimed 160 lives back in 2011. While working on a farm not far from Joplin, Stagg senior happened to hear a weather bulletin on a radio in his barn as he walked by. He had barely enough time to take cover, though according to an accounting of his event in the Charlotte Business Journal , winds had become so strong that he couldn't close the cellar doors before the storm passed. He survived the incident, though many others weren't so lucky.

Combined with a house fire that later struck one of Stagg's family members in 2014, he was sufficiently motivated to develop a better, smarter smoke alarm. The end result is Halo WX, a connected device that can pull weather alerts from the Internet and deliver them to your mobile device. You're in control of which alerts you want to receive, so if you're not concerned about hurricanes or tsunamis tearing through your location, you don't have to be bothered with related notifications.

Halo WX also boasts a 10-year battery backup that ensures those annoying chirps warning of low battery life will be few and far between. The device itself is hardwired directly into your home's power source, though if you lose power, it can still receive emergency messaging for up to a week. These messages might include helpful information such as evacuation routes or safe drinking water locations, to name just two examples.

Smart Labs is currently accepting pre-orders for Halo WX through a crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo. If you can do without the weather alerts, Early Bird pricing for Halo is set $60. Halo WX offers the same flash fire, smoldering fire, and CO detection as Halo, but adds natural disaster alerts for an Early Bird price of $80.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iControAppleHome techhome securitysecurityNational Weather Servicesensors

More about AppleNestSmart

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Paul Lilly

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place