Today's Technology Do-Gooders: FlySense Vaping and Bullying Sensor from Soter Technologies


Detect. Educate. Deter.

This is the ongoing mission of Soter Technologies; to modernize the real-time detection of both vaping and bullying instances in today’s schools, to help spread general health safety awareness in any building equipped with Soter solutions, and to supply up-to-date, anti-vaping educational materials for institutions in need.

Named after Soter (or Soteria, per the Greek mythos), Soter Technologies embodies this storified personification of safety and deliverance from harm, but in our real world with very real problems.

And while in IT and IoT (Internet of Things), themes like safety and harm avoidance are of great importance, Soter’s quest is more intensely focused on students being bullied and students engaging in harmful vaping.

“While other companies home in on cybersecurity and securities in general, we’re all about wellness,” said Derek Peterson, founder and CEO of Soter Technologies. “We don’t live in that security realm, per se. We’re secure, but we overall prioritize people’s well-beings.”

I had the opportunity to speak with Peterson at length. Together, we leapt into the whats and whys of Soter in general, and of Soter’s flagship product:

The FlySense 286 product suite. (Or FlySense, for short.)

FlySense addresses the needs of schools and educational enterprises around the world. “In every state in the U.S. and 25 total countries,” Peterson clarified. “We’ve established a great foundation for helping schools globally.”

In 2017, even with FlySense in its infancy, Peterson found himself in front of cameras at GMA (Good Morning America), MSNBC and CNN. Needs for FlySense became amplified in 2019, when vaping hit all-time highs. (“An epidemic-level problem,” as Peterson put it.) FlySense devices flew off shelves, given schools’ interests in combatting rampant vaping.

Now, the FlySense 286 sensor has embedded global cellular (4G LTE), LoRaWAN, and YoLink support. It enables educational settings to reinforce student safety measures; to detect and deter, per Soter’s mission, undesirable behaviors that affect the mental and physical health of students and other individuals necessary for school functions.

“The integration of additional wireless capabilities expands our application footprint for FlySense in nearly every world region with variable preferences and regulations, when it comes to wireless technologies,” Peterson said. “It also addresses the many security concerns of school network administrators and IT departments.”

“See,” Peterson continued, “we’ve been asked a lot by IT departments about our devices on their networks – for various security reasons, I recognize – as no one wants to increase risks. While none of our devices have ever been hacked, the concern is a genuine one. Therefore, we needed a tool that – when a school goes to use it – is safe and lives outside the IT world.”

“So, third-party networks have become of value to us. 4G LTE, LoRaWAN and so on. We want IT workers to be able to sleep at night, knowing that FlySense devices aren’t on their school networks. It’s a closing of the vulnerability gap for schools and for us.”

Peterson also noted that the variety of both wired and wireless connection methods in FlySense help address challenges across the world’s geographies; therein, the new initiatives from Soter will expand the ways in which its offerings will pave the way towards new ways to help people.

In addition to FlySense 286, Soter offers ancillary packages to schools. (e.g. online courses, mobile packages, other educational services etc.) Soter supports nonprofits in this area,  as well.

So, the long story short? FlySense 286 sensors detect the chemical signature of vaping pen emissions, enabling automated alerts for appropriate personnel. The sensors also monitor ambient noise levels without the invasion of student or faculty privacy, and they send alerts when noise patterns change in ways indicative of conflict or outright bullying.

“No microphone, no recording,” Peterson assured. “Just what’s needed to fit into all types of environments; even school buses now, as a matter of fact. And unfortunately, the demands in these environments are all too prevalent. So for those in need, FlySense is a proven and channel-friendly tool that is compatible with school infrastructure.”

“Myself, growing up,” Peterson said, in closing, “I was a victim of bullying. I was the shortest kid in my high school’s graduating class at a lovely height of 5’1”. I had to learn to run fast because of bullies, and that is sincerely not a scenario I want for any students today. So if our teams at Soter can do our part, then we’re doing the right thing.”

The FlySense 286 product suite is currently available for purchase through Soter and its authorized partners.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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