How clean is the air you breathe? Can technology help us all to breathe cleaner air and improve our health? Read on to find out some answers.

Poor air quality

According to a policy paper by Defra and the Department of Transport, poor air quality remains the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. But the issue of polluted air is a worldwide one. Individual governments across the globe are pledging to tackle the problem using a variety of measures, and the European Commission (EC) has set a goal of halving urban pollution levels by 2020.

Proposed air quality improvement plans include encouraging the ‘cleanest’ vehicles (with the lowest levels of emissions) to circulate freely within cities, whilst charging vehicles whose emissions levels are too high more money to drive within certain zones.

 ANPR technology

To implement this kind of scheme successfully, technology will need to play a significant role. Connected cameras fitted with ANPR technology can identify which vehicles will be welcome in Clean Air Zones and which will be subject to charges or restrictions. Cloud-based software can determine the emission levels of individual vehicles, issuing charges automatically to drivers entering certain zones, helping to keep traffic moving and pollution levels down.

Monitoring success

Smart Air Monitors are sensitive connected devices that are able to analyse air quality accurately using microsensors that measure pollution levels in different zones, in urban, rural and industrial areas. Data from smart air monitors can be shared in real time with different parties who will need to use the information in a variety of ways. Governments and public organisations within Europe, for example, will need to report back to the EC on pollution levels to ensure they are complying to the measures set. Local governments and councils may use the data to implement traffic restrictions or charges to try to reduce congestion reactively if pollution levels get too high. Industries could also use the data to adapt their manufacturing and construction practices to enable them to hit their emission targets. Real-time, accurate, information makes this much easier to do for all parties involved.

Smart Cities, Green Cities

Connected Cities have the potential to maximise their ecological credentials, and green transport options such as electric cars and buses are looking likely to play a major part in the air quality revolution. This week, Volvo announced plans to launch its first fully electric passenger car in China next year, and its electric buses are already successful in Sweden.

Mass consumer adoption of electric cars seems a way off, yet cost will not be a barrier for much longer. A recent report from UBS predicts that the cost of owning an electric car will fall to the same level as petrol-powered vehicles in 2018. On the purchasing side, the trend is somewhat remarkable. The Fiat 500e is widely advertised in Southern California for as little as $69 per month for a 36-month lease, with no money down – yes that’s less than a smartphone!

Smart Buildings

Businesses are finding it increasingly easy to save energy and reduce their carbon footprints by integrating connected devices to control heating, electricity usage and air conditioning in Smart Buildings. Indoor smart air monitors help to keep the air clean inside buildings by analysing air quality levels and adapting air conditioning systems accordingly. Read our article on Smart Buildings to find out more.

Connectivity is essential for these kinds of Smart Devices – network access must be secure, robust and consistent to enable widespread deployment and reliable operation. Arkessa works with numerous radio technologies such as LPWAN and Cellular where there is a roadmap from 2G, 3G and 4G to NB-IoT and 5G. Managed services such as eUICC will provide future-proof access to these technologies and will be a real game changer for IoT.

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