BreezoMeter’s mission is to improve the health of billions of people around the world with real-time, location-based, actionable air quality data. We collect a huge amount of data about air pollution, and have developed advanced technologies to turn it into actionable information.
But how do we actually do that?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering. So, without further ado, here are the 5 most common questions that I receive about BreezoMeter, from people invested in breathing healthier air - individuals like parents, CEO's and other C-level executives who want to make sure their services and products offer the best value possible in markets where product differentiation is an ongoing challenge, product managers who want to integrate actionable data into their projects in order to bring the best outcomes to their end-users, and so on:
Question #1: How does BreezoMeter collect and calculate air quality data? What sensors do you use?
An air pollution monitoring station has multiple sensors, and the station as a whole can cost upwards of $100,000. This is a very expensive unit that collects important data, and luckily for our clients, these stations already exist and can share their data with us. We don't have our own sensors, but rather collect data from these monitoring stations, and many other sources, and calculate location-based air quality data so that regardless of how far you or your end-user is from a station, they can know what is in the air they are breathing.
In addition to data from these existing (usually governmental) monitoring stations, we collect numerous layers of information from a variety of sources, satellites, local weather, and traffic conditions. While there are millions of data points relating to the air we breathe, very few systems can analyze it in a meaningful way. We’ve built the right algorithms to do this, using big data analytics, machine learning, air pollution dispersion modeling, and more.
The result? A single number, standardized worldwide, between 0 and 100, which is a grade for how clean the air you’re breathing really is.
In another blog post, we’ve explained in detail why we don’t use low-cost sensors in our air quality analytics. If you’re interested, you can read it here. Or, quickly get up to speed on our technology in our technology video:
Question #2: Why is BreezoMeter's index sometimes different from government data? Which should I trust?
Governments do a great job monitoring our air. However, in a practical business context, government data can fall short in a few important ways.
First, it’s not completely real-time, as readings can sometimes be a few hours delayed. Second, government data isn’t location-based: monitoring stations can get an accurate reading at their exact location, but air quality is dynamic and can be significantly different even just a few blocks away, so pulling out data from the nearest sensor is not going to help you and your end-users know what they are breathing exactly where they are. Also, since countries measure air quality differently, global brands can’t rely on government data when launching products in multiple countries.
As mentioned, BreezoMeter gathers information from multiple sources, then analyzes pollution dispersion – so, the data you see is at your location, not just where the nearest sensor is. We also use our own proprietary pollution index – it’s 100% health oriented and standardized across the world.
While stations are present around the country and focused in more densely populated areas, nearest-station air quality data is not accurate enough for people to know what is in the air they breathe. However, by combining this data with all of the other data sources in proprietary algorithms, location-based data is actionable and can help people make healthier decisions.
There are a number of other concerns regarding governemtnal data, and if you’d like to learn more, we’ve written an article that goes into more detail.
Question #3: How do we ensure BreezoMeter's accuracy?
We take a lot of pride in having the most accurate air quality information in the world. We have developed our own proprietary air quality dispersion models, and we’ve implemented a number of strict standards to ensure that we are trustworthy and reliable. As mentioned above, one of the most important factors is that we collect data from key sources: satellite, weather, traffic, and official monitoring stations.
Then, we use big data analytics – processing more than 1.6 terabytes of data every hour – along with a dispersion model powered by machine learning techniques to get validated, reliable information. We also take important tests into account when crafting our algorithm. Here’s an example of how we check our accuracy on an ongoing basis: we use the “leave-one-out” cross-validation method, which compares the measurements taken by one of our sources with our algorithm calculations for the same exact location, leaving the “real” source out. We then validate our accuracy through statistical analysis tests, which helps us refine our algorithm to the point where it’s as reliable as the actual source.
Accuracy is our number one priority, and we back this up with every enterprise client by committing to a strict service-level agreement. Learn more about our accuracy in this article about our technology:
Question #4: How can businesses use air quality data?
By integrating BreezoMeter's API, businesses across the world are able to easily access our data and use it in practical and educational ways. Several major industries are getting a lot of value out of real-time air quality data, and other industries are starting to take note. Here is a partial list of some of these industries in need of air: automotive and mobility, smart home, HVACs and air purifiers, digital health, cosmetics, smart cities, and lifestyle & fitness.
For example, Dermalogica, the global skincare brand, uses BreezoMeter data to educate people on the effects that pollution has on our skin. Dyson uses it to monitor outdoor air quality for their line of air purifiers so people could know when to turn the purifier on or off. Cisco uses it to monitor air pollution across Paris. Ultimately, though, by making our data available in a simple to use API, businesses across a wide range of industries have endless opportunities. Watch our video to see real use cases.
Question #5: How can individuals use air quality data?
Wherever you are, take a look around you: do you have any idea how polluted the air you’re breathing is? Do you know what’s in the air on your street, and how it changes over time? Air pollution is incredibly bad for our health, and the right data helps us avoid it and reduce its effects.
Our goal, from the start, has been to make air quality visible for everyone. Every day, over 50 million people across the world rely on BreezoMeter data to make simple decisions: when should I go for a run? To which park should I take my kids? Should I bike my normal route to work, or is there a less polluted side street? Should I buy a house here or there? A recent study found that BreezoMeter’s data actually changes our behavior, proving that the right data, at the right time, can have significant and positive effects on our health. That’s why leading brands like Dyson, Dermalogica, Cisco, and many others have partnered with BreezoMeter, to engage their users and help them lead healthier lives.
Interested in experiencing location-based, real-time air quality data? Try our new iPhone app!
Have any more questions? We’d love to chat. Feel free to set up a call, and we’ll be happy to walk you through how your company can benefit from real-time air quality data, and how BreezoMeter works.
This post was originially published January 30, 2017