‘Air Quality Matters’; Using technology to turn from sentiment to reality

It has already been established that there is a strong link between air quality and health; this relationship has only been reinforced during the COVID pandemic.

Can technology be used to alleviate this situation?

There are already many technological innovations in this area that address localised or specific problems.

There are, for example, thousands of air quality sensors currently deployed within the UK, feeding data into many different mobile apps and mathematical models.

‘Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.’ [Helen Keller]

However, most of these are positioned on separate platforms with no uniform or consistent way of being accessed, which means Public (COPD sufferers) don’t have easy access to consolidated and national data, which in turn makes it harder to plan effective pollution avoidance strategies in their daily lives.

What is needed is a consolidated platform where all sensor data is harmonised and readily accessible. Only then can the benefits be realised through a homogenised and singular platform. In comes Air-PoT; an Innovate UK funded group led by a consortium of experienced experts in the fields of business, technology and air pollution science.

Simon Chambers, Air-PoT Project Manager Air-PoT said ‘We are very conscious of realising the full potential of the data collected; to drive insights and ultimately life-saving decisions, what’s more; these datasets can be leveraged by other education or research-led organisations to help further developments in this area.’

Air-PoT (https://airpot-aq.com/) aims to develop a platform that will look to provide a harmonised data platform via a series of ‘plug and play’ interfaces for sensor providers.

The benefits associated with such a product are unbounded, to list but a few;

• Accessible air pollution information via mobile Apps and web platforms means:
o Users empowered to dodge areas/roads at their times of high pollution
concentration levels thus:
o Reduce congestions and enabling pollution drop to acceptable levels quicker
• Utilising consolidated data to drive decisions will, in turn, help support COVID-19 and Public
health-related strategies, including:
o Support data-driven lockdown decisions
o Help relieve NHS burden to provide drugs treatment for COPD sufferers

Dr Hafiz Alaka, Air-PoT lead academic researcher, who is the Director of Big Data Technologies and Innovation Lab (for construction and Infrastructure) at University of Hertfordshire said: ‘Data is gold, and with the thousands of IoT sensors equipment installed around the UK generating millions of data points with associated processing challenges, it is time for the technology research world to join our air-quality research counterparts in solving the current biggest environmental risk of early death.’

The data will not only be used to drive user-based products (web and mobile apps), but a core focus of the team has always been to extract real value from all the data collected.

Beyond the product development phase, the consortium has already started formulating an effective exploitation strategy to disseminate the befits of the platform to as many as it can.

Dr Mohammad Nazir OBE, Air-PoT Exploitations and Commercial Manager said: ‘The Air Quality data marketplace is very much fragmented. We live in the age of advance technologies, our consortium of experts aim to exploit this technology and also to engage stakeholders on disparate data platforms to collaborate with AirPot to improve the quality of life of thousands of people in the UK and farther afield.’

Air-PoT is already generating lots of excitement with the first workshop planned for the 15th December, join us to discuss this exciting and crucial topic with an esteemed panel of experts.

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