Technology - Foobot

Make invisible pollution visible. Then make it disappear

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How the world's leading air purifier company incorporated Foobot’s technology to build its next gen products

"Our customers highly trust the quality of our products and technology but it was difficult for them to see the immediate cleaning effect as well as automatically adjust to changed conditions. Thanks to embedded sensors from Airboxlab, our connected Blueair purifiers are providing a whole new user experience with on demand purification and data visualization. Airboxlab’s technology is helping Blueair create the next generation of smart and real-time clean air appliances."

Johan Skåntorp — CTO, Blueair

Technology beyond the sensors

"Hi-res picture" vs video

For the last ten years, air quality measurement required very expensive sensors that cost thousands of dollars. With the emergence of low cost sensors, things have changed: Instead of measuring once what we call a "hi-res picture" with a very precise lab instrument, we chose to use a "video stream" approach with affordable sensors left in place and continuously monitoring . Sensors really are just the first step, as embedded software and connectivity allow constant monitoring and much more.

Our products are designed in Luxembourg with sensors from Europe, Japan and US and assembled in Shenzhen, China. Our team closely manages each step of the manufacturing process in the factory, including the calibration process.

What does connectivity add to our devices? This is often one of the first questions asked in the IoT world. The answer is continuous improvement through Over The Air updates.

After purchasing a device, you don’t normally expect it to get better over time. Software, though, receives updates. Since our devices have embedded software and are connected to the Internet, our hardware benefits over time the way software does.

Our whole line of connected products constantly evolves thanks to ongoing R&D and remote updates via Wi-Fi.

Our device software, aka embedded software, is a key component between the hardware sensors and the Cloud. The embedded software manages:

  • Recalibration instructions sent via Wi-Fi. Recalibration is fully automatic on our devices and does not require any human intervention.
  • Software update installation
  • Sensor data processing
  • Real-time behavior. Though data is sent to our Cloud in 5-minute intervals, some of our monitors need to provide real-time measurements. The device software manages the real-time features as needed for each type of device.

Storing data in our Cloud includes many benefits:

  • Retrieve the data remotely. Before, retrieving data implied having a technician plug via USB to each device to download the data.
  • It’s secure. If your sensor goes out of service for any reason, there's no problem; data is securely stored and encrypted from the first day it’s turned on
  • Be updated when needed. If a measurement need your attention, you know it instantly via notifications sent under your custom parameters.
  • Do in-depth analysis. To perform an analysis on big datasets, we take advantage of the unlimited CPU power of the Cloud. Consequently, we need very little CPU power in the devices themselves which keeps them cost-effective.
  • Integrate with your existing tools. Since the data is stored on the Cloud, you can retrieve it from anywhere, from any device. Our API is developer-friendly so you can display your data the way you want.

The server infrastructure is deployed in the US, in Europe, China and Japan.

Cloud-to-Cloud apps allow you to create interactions with any other Cloud-connected service or product. Here are a few examples of what a Cloud app can help you achieve:

  • Trigger a purification or filtration device based on pollution levels
  • Boost the ventilation rate according to a given pollutant concentration
  • Trigger a built-in air treatment system through connected thermostats
  • Call an HVAC maintenance professional whenever pollution is too high for a certain amount of time
  • Ask Amazon Echo how the air quality in your bedroom is

At Airboxlab, we build applications to connect our Cloud to other companies’ Clouds, such as Amazon Echo, IFTTT, Lux thermostat or the FreshAireUV purification device. Some of our users (both individuals and companies) also use our API to build their own applications.

Leveraging the Cloud

How being connected to the Internet supercharges our monitor

Our products get better over time with OTA

Our products are not only "smart" because they are connected to the Internet: they're also learning all the time. All of our devices take full advantage of our latest R&D findings. Improvements on the measurements and newest features are hence not restricted to our next generation of products, but are deployed to devices already in use around the world. That's what we call continuous improvement over the air.

Use your data the way you want

  • Don’t feel obliged to stick to our software; Our API allows you to use your data anywhere you want, whether from a central hallway dashboard to your all-in-one web application.
  • Use your data from other sources to easily build your own instantaneous alerts, to trigger your own systems, or combine it with data from other sources to uncover new insights.

Expand the possibilities

Our Cloud makes more interactions possible between air quality data and any other system or dataset you may have, such as:

  • Correlating outdoor pollution and indoor air quality
  • Optimizing HVAC system based on air quality real-time status
  • Studying the impact of indoor air on sickness and/or productivity

Read the Google Nest case study in the next section, which is just one example about how devices can now communicate intelligently with one another to provide fresh air automatically.

Make our users happy

Sometimes our users have great air in their homes or offices. But that's not always the case. We analyze the data in our Cloud to provide personalized tips to each user, either through push notifications, personalized emails or our proactive customer support team.

Customer satisfaction is a top priority for us, and users feel grateful when someone is there for them to fix a problem they have — even before they ask for it. That helps us build long-lasting relationships with our users.

Foobot + Nest

Providing more value with Cloud-to-Cloud applications

Google Nest, the well-known smart thermostat that's connected to home ventilation systems, has a Cloud of its own.

In mid-2016, we built a Cloud app to connect that cloud with ours.

From their smartphones, our users now have the ability to control Nest (and thus the ventilation) based on Foobot's pollution readings.

A study we conducted on over 100 users who have this automation in place shows that their homes are much less polluted than those of users without such an automation. These users now spend 53% less time in air polluted by PM2.5.

See a potential partnership opportunity?

Get in touch
The future is the data

Say hello to Artificial Intelligence

2 ways we use artificial intelligence to understand pollution

1. What caused this pollution spike?

We use machine learning to classify a pollution event, such as cooking, cleaning, human presence, etc.

So far, our algorithms identify the type of event with 94% accuracy, and this number keeps getting higher.

2. How much outdoor pollution goes in our homes?

By looking at thousands of indoor data points in a dense city, we’re able to analyze how polluted areas outdoors affect indoor air quality in homes, schools, hospitals, etc.

Who uses our technology?

HVAC Manufacturers

We can help you release your first connected product faster and more confidently by using our technology and know-how inside your products. Connectivity allows you to monitor in real-time your products, understand how they are used and prove their effectiveness.

Medical industry

At the hospital, track pollution and show your institution cares about every detail affecting patients’ health. In patients’ homes, monitor the environment patients live in so that doctors get more data to make faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatments.

Insurance industry

Correlate indoor air quality with the occurrence of diseases, and develop cost-effective programs to promote prevention over cure.

Leverage our expertise

Move faster and more effectively into the world of connected devices
Get in touch

Foobot pioneers innovative air monitoring products, services and technologies that lead to improved air quality indoors.

Airboxlab US
479 Jessie Street
San Francisco, CA
94103 United States
Airboxlab EU
3 ave du Blues
L-4368 Belvaux