Air quality sensing
Last fall, won’t be an easy one to forget the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area particularly those from Napa and Sonoma Counties. These regions experienced wildfires that rendered thousands of individuals and families homeless since they had to evacuate. Besides losing homes, some residents suffered acute side effects from the air pollution leading to them being hospitalized. This was by far the most devastating natural disaster to ever hit these areas in the recent past.
This incident prompted communities and city air quality districts to look into IoT for financially feasible mobile air monitoring equipment that can provide data on the local air pollution. This data will come in handy in helping families and emergency response units to navigate wildfires and conduct evacuations safely. These IoT backed solutions should be able to gather real-time air quality data by neighborhood and send this data to the cloud. Once in the cloud, monitoring systems will then break down the data and deliver easy to understand analytics. This data will then enable city managers to create safe evacuation plans. It will also enable them to ensure effective residential zoning and traffic planning. This data can also come in handy for urban dwellers who can use it to determine whether to go jogging or stay indoors based if the air quality levels are in the danger zone.
There are a couple of companies that have already adopted such air quality monitoring systems. One such company is Aclima. Aclima is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2007. It has a goal of deploying sensor networks which will extend the senses and bridge the gap between human beings and the natural world. Aclima has deployed low-cost sensors that are capable of measuring the following attributes:
· Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide
· Ultrafine Particles
· Nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide
· Ozone, black carbon and methane
During the wildfires experience in fall, Aclima deployed their portable monitors to measure air quality in various cities. Their actions were informed by the fact that wildfires deviate from usual pattern and can send smoke across cities that are located many miles away. Based on the data collected by Aclima’s mobile monitors, it was discovered that the air quality in the hills of the East Bay was worse than in the flatlands. This move further proved the importance of mobile IoT system compared to stationary air monitoring systems.
IoT for Air Quality Analysis
Gathering air quality data is just the first step towards fighting air pollution. An equally important of the puzzle is analyzing the automated measurements. Intel’s new markets development manager, Sharma recently reported that Intel is worked with Bosch to come up with its recent Micro Climate Monitoring System (MCMS), an end-to-end solution that collects air quality info across expansive areas. MCMS is powered by Intel’s IoT platform. This way the MCMS offers cloud-based analytics, data management, and visualization software. MCMC is easy to service and is user-friendly.
We are already making a headway in coming up with IoT solutions to stem air quality management challenges. Whether or not these solutions can stand the magnitude of our challenges can only be left to the passage of time.
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