The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been described, in the words of one executive in the air pollution space, as ‘the biggest single global intervention you will ever see.’ Cars almost entirely remain in their garages; commercial aeroplanes lay dormant.
When the crisis ends, it will in some ways be a statistician’s dream. The amount of data which will be able to be extrapolated will be huge, for both scientists and businesses working in this field.
One such business is Airband Technologies. The UK- based company urges businesses, consumers and governments to ‘take the cleaner path’ through a smart, wearable air sensor. The sensor aims to help monitor air pollution and use intelligent routing with real-time data.
AI News caught up with Anton Fedotov (left), co-founder of Airband Technologies, to discuss his company’s vision for cleaner air, as well as the artificial intelligence (AI) technologies being employed to make it happen.
AI News: Hi Anton. Tell me about your career to date and role and responsibilities at Airband?
Anton Fedotov: I began Airband with a group of co-founders a little over a year ago. We began with an idea, and have spent the year working hard on developing it into something real and physical. Throughout that time, I have been leading the process as CEO of the company – I am involved both in the development of our product, as well as the development of our business, including reaching out and finding prospective investors and clients.
AI: How did the concept for Airband come about?
AF: Our lead engineer was doing research on a project about air pollution, which led him to realise the sheer lack of data which is out there – there is almost nothing aside from a few stationary monitoring sites spread out across larger city. Even data which can be purchased comes from modelling the spread starting from a relatively small dataset. Seeing the development of IoT, crowdsourced, and wearable technologies was our inspiration for a wearable air sensor, which can contribute to a massive granular dataset and help solve the pollution problem.
AI: Tell us about Airband’s wearable air pollution monitor and how AI technologies are being used for it?
AF: Our wearable pollution monitor is a revolutionary device which measures the quality of the air around the user, rather than a fixed space. It provides personalised pollution readings for the area and for the day to people, and it helps employers keep track of and manage their employees’ exposure for high-risk jobs. Airband makes use of AI to maximise sensor potential and extrapolate data, as well as maintaining calibration across the network. Finally, our predictive AQI technology uses AI to predict air quality in gaps of the network, making it the most detailed map of air pollution ever.
AI: What are some of the partnerships Airband is putting together with other companies in this space and how important are partnerships in achieving your goals?
AF: Airband is always on the lookout for partnerships, which will be fundamental to achieving our goals. We are looking at partnerships with service and hardware providers in the IoT sphere to help us develop and deploy both our product and future products across industries. We also are looking for partners in the data science sphere in order to maximise the potential of the data we collect, and help complement our dataset with existing monitoring solutions.
AI: What other initiatives are interesting to you in the green tech space and why?
AF: There are many amazing initiatives in the green tech space which are going on at the moment – some companies are aiming to directly reduce pollution by creating air “Scrubbers” which could serve to clean up the air around busy streets. Other companies are working on making plastics recyclable or even entirely bio-degradable. Perhaps one of the most interesting angles is the companies bringing easier choices to environmentally minded consumers, by providing either information or alternatives when buying reusable products or travelling.
AI: What can we expect from Airband (on the basis of business as usual) for the next 12 months and beyond?
AF: In the next 12 months, Airband hopes to deliver to initial business clients for businesses interested in protecting their employees. The development of our product and data network will be ongoing, and we should be able to start generating meaningful data, showcasing the utility of our product. Over the next 2-3 years, we hope to also expand into the consumer sector, and make the wearable air quality sensor available for all, at an affordable price.
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