Have you ever wondered how the air you breathe every second of the day might be affecting your health? Or whether the air pollutants at home are different from those at work? Breathing is so obvious to us, that we almost never pay attention to the air quality around us.
But an Israeli startup company called BreezoMeter is like a breath of fresh air when it comes to monitoring and treating pollution – its app actually tracks pollutants and determines the air quality in every corner of the world. By monitoring and analyzing pollution trends, BreezoMeter provides users with air quality information at the touch of their fingertips. CNBC even called Breezometer one of the “world’s hottest apps”.
“Air pollution is a global problem that killed 8 million people around the world and 2,500 in Israel alone last year,” BreezoMeter’s co-founder and CMO Ziv Lautman tells NoCamels. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.
BreezoMeter is a big-data analytics platform that uses local air-monitoring sensors and stations to gather real-time pollution data. The information is collected by the startup from monitoring stations and is then compiled and packaged to provide up-to-date information about air quality in any given location. In Israel, there are about 300 monitoring stations. This air quality data is available to the public and companies like BreezoMeter in 90 countries worldwide. Breezometer also sells data and air analysis to businesses in the real estate and fitness markets.
No more scattered pollution data
It all started when BreezoMeter’s CEO Ran Korber looked to buy a family home with his pregnant wife in an area with little air pollution. Korber sought out information that could address his concerns, down to the specific street he looked at. The results of his research were so scattered, impersonal and disorganized, that they inspired the beginnings of BreezoMeter. Alongside co-founders Emil Fisher and Ziv Lautman, this idea became a reality two years ago. Alongside angel investments, BreezoMeter has already undergone seed funding, which brought in $200,000 from venture capital firms Jumpspeed and Entree Capital.
The Breezometer app is available on Google Play and by March 2015, it should also be available on the Apple App Store. The mobile app is still in its early stages: it’s user friendly, however, it obviously requires a diligent effort on the user’s part to improve their lifestyle. There are options to personalize the health results; however, these are very basic and limited at the moment.
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The app uses GPS technology to locate the nearest monitoring station for up-to-date information. Using its own algorithms, BreezoMeter then checks for the necessary information and uses weather data including temperature, wind speeds, and time of the day. BreezoMeter then formulates a localized pollution reading with 99% accuracy, according to Lautman. Of the consumers who have download the app, 35% use it on a daily basis, Lautman claims.
How clear is the air in your kid’s kindergarten?
The app doesn’t stop at air quality monitoring. In fact, BreezoMeter also provides personalized, easy-to-follow health solutions for kids, athletes, adults and more – all in real time, based on air quality levels. Users can go so far as to plug in health history and habits in order to allow for the app to personalize and search for optimal living conditions based on individual needs. For example, individuals with respiratory sensitivities can make conscious decisions to stay out of heavily polluted areas that put them at risk. “It is not just about the air quality, but it’s also about the alternatives and solutions we provide”, Lautman explains.
BreezoMeter currently has a modest staff of 10 employees, with most coming from computer science or engineering backgrounds. The company has participated in several competitions, and recently won the StartUp Open Israel Competition.
Still, pollutants are all around us – and that’s something BreezoMeter can’t change. However, it does give consumers better knowledge of their surroundings, in hopes that they can then act on that knowledge. As Dr. Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health, has put it: “Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.” The question is whether people can afford to follow BreezoMeter’s recommendations and relocate, and whether people’s awareness to pollution will drive governments to act. Says Lautman: “Providing people with the information necessary to monitor air quality will encourage them to demand healthier air.”
Photos and videos courtesy of BreezoMeter