With all the people in the world suffering from air quality-related conditions like asthma and lung disease, you would think there would be a market for a real-time map of air quality. The problem is how to deliver that, so the information is personalized and actionable. What you want isn’t a city-wide view, but something down to the street or block level.
BreezoMeter claims to be that thing. It takes publicly available from the Environmental Protection Agency and other public bodies, and fuses it with weather and it’s “own IP” to give you a live color-coded read-out. Type in a location and there you have it. It will even tell you whether it’s a good idea to go for a run, or take your kids for a walk.
“We knew that governments invested billions of dollars to monitor air quality. There are 100,000 air quality sensors all over the world, and thousands of them in the U.S.,” says co-founder Ziv Lautman. “The trouble is the data is scratchy and it’s in different databases and you can’t really understand [the data] for the street you want to buy a house on.”
BreezoMeter differs from some other approaches we’ve written about, including Elm and citizen science projects like Air Quality Egg, Smart Citizen, and AirBeam. They all look to distribute cheap sensors to cover areas not covered by official equipment. BreezoMeter relies on “sophisticated algorithms” to predict how pollution will disperse over a given area.
Breezometer, an Israeli startup, has an app as well as a B2B business. It hopes to make money by selling data to weather companies, mobile health startups, and real estate companies. So, when you’re searching for a new place to live, you could check the air quality number as well as the crime rate and the affordability score. At the same time, Breezometer has opened up its API to outside “developers to use it and integrate into their products,” Lautman says.
Is this the air-quality startup we’ve been waiting for? Possibly. It’s hard to assess Lautman’s claims. He says the air quality read-outs are more than 90% accurate. But he won’t reveal how BreezoMeter goes from wide-area government data to intimate street-by-street maps, beyond saying the startup uses “sophisticated algorithms” and “its own IP.” That could be a real innovation, or a black-box explanation that’s a little suspicious.
BreezoMeter is currently available in the U.S. and Israel, covering most high-population areas. Eventually, Lautman hopes to go to 90 countries, including China and India. In those places, pollution is a genuine health hazard, not just an inconvenience for a relative few.
“Asia is our next market. China has thousands of air quality sensors we can use,” he says.