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Air Pollution Science

Free Business Guide! How to Choose an Air Pollution Data Provider

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By Daniel Elkabetz on February, 21 2021

Isn’t the air we breathe the same, regardless of data source? Why is one source of air quality information saying something completely different to another?! 

The Business Guide to Evaluating an Air Quality Data Provider

To help businesses understand the key differences between air quality data sources, we've created the below comprehensive guide to evaluating air quality data providers. The guide will take you through all the questions you should ask before integrating an air pollution data source - whether for product use, marketing campaigns, advertising or research:

 

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Why Data Differences Matter

1. Risk of Reputational Damage

Simply put, when it comes to breathing, you can't afford to get it wrong. It can take a lifetime to build a great business reputation, but in a world of fast-paced social media and review-sensitive consumers, a very short time to damage it. When it comes to something as important as breathing, integrating the wrong intelligence could mean bad reviews, increased churn & lost credibility for your business. 

 

Accuracy Matters

2. Air Pollution Information Has Real-World Consequences for People's Health

Individuals rely on air pollution data to help them make decisions on a daily basis. For sufferers of pre-existing respiratory conditions like Asthma or COPD, the consequences of unreliable information can be devastating. Sufferers of chronic respiratory conditions are particularly vulnerable to all forms of air pollution; research has recently found that exposure to traffic fumes result in 4 million new child asthma cases each year and for the first time in history, a young girl’s cause of death has been linked to illegal levels of air pollution in London

3. Outdated Air Quality Information Isn't Useful Right Now

Few understand how dynamic and fast-changing air quality truly is. Air pollution fluctuates on an hourly basis and can show differently at any given time from street to street. In practical terms, this means that if the air quality is poor at 11AM, it won’t help to receive air pollution levels as they were recorded at 4AM. As our Business Guide explains, many sources of air quality information were never designed for real-time use and typically come with reporting delays of up to 2-24 hours.

4. Coverage Differs Dramatically

Providers vary dramatically when it comes to the sources they use, the pollutants they measure, and their geographical level of coverage. If the data source you’re turning to only reports information on 1 out of the 6 common air pollutants, do you really want your users to base their decision-making on such an incomplete picture? 

5. Scalability & Expertise

If your business intends to use environmental data to inform your wider product roadmap and competitive positioning, it's important to ensure you have partners on your side with the experience and know-how to help you realize your plans. You also want to ensure you'll have room to grow - you may be starting with air pollution data in a certain number of countries for now, but will you be wanting more environmental sources and coverage later on? These are important points to consider.

In Summary

If the air quality data you intend to use is unreliable, this will be more harmful than guesswork, because it comes with a greater assumption of accuracy. In a world of ‘fake news’, it is important you look for real science-based evidence that the data you intend to use has been validated and backed by authoritative bodies in a way that fits the use case you intend to use it for. Make sure you ask the right questions!

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