Every week, we focus on new applications, inventions, innovations and inspirations that have the potential to enable a better quality of life. Based on evidence, we carefully review numerous companies and initiatives as well as scour the Internet for amazing innovations that enable better health. Such is the case with Breezometer from Israel.
We caught up with Ziv Lautman from Breezometer and had the informative discussion which follows below.
Much of the news regarding personal health seems to be focused around food, drink and diet, but your initiative focused on an area that we don’t hear so much about, the quality of our air. Since we breathe in about 12,000 liters of air a day, your project seems to be help people in many ways. Where were the epiphanies which led to the development of your company and what were the early steps taken to go forward?
The idea for mapping air pollution in real time came two years ago, when Ran Korber (back than a good friend and today BreezoMeter’s CEO) was looking to buy house for his family in Israel. As environmental engineer, Ran knew that air pollution is the leading environmental cause for lung cancer and to many respiratory diseases and more (his wife has Asthma.) So Ran was looking for air quality information that could tell him what are the air pollution levels and also the trend of recent years in the specific address he wanted to buy a house at. Ran did find some information (As Environmental Engineer he knew that the air we breathe is being monitored), but the data was scattered, incomprehensible to the layperson (and actually for him as well) and not per address at all. While discussing the problem, we understood that people don’t have a clue about what they breathe and that it’s a global problem. We decided to make air pollution visible. One of our first steps towards a company, was applying for accelerator programs, which are really the universities for the startups. We were lucky to participate in 2 programs, Siftech & BizTec, that gave us the toolkit needed for the “real world”; it starts from basic law and finance (which are super important for an early stage company), from there to understanding the costumers and your unique value proposition and usually (if it’s really good accelerator) ends at MVP (Minimal viable Product) that is ready to be launched to the market. For BreezoMeter it was also the first engagement with the entrepreneurship world, we met with people that already did it – build companies, failed, succeeded – people who have deep knowledge in product or marketing and most importantly we met with investors…
The Breezometer APP is available here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.breezometer&hl=en
Breezometer also suppliese B2B data for businesses here: http://breezometer.com/developers-api/.
What type of obstacles did the team encounter, and how id they get around them?
For a startup, every day there is an obstacle you need to face. Today, having a bit of perspective I can say we had 2 major obstacles that I am happy to say we overcome. First, design and UX. How can we make air quality information beautiful, fun & professional? Our first version of BreezoMeter was far from that. We were lucky to meet Ohad Zadock, BreezoMeter’s product manager, who brought a new meaning of design to the company. I can still remember our arguments. Ohad claimed “It’s all about the design! Look at Google Play, apps are well planned – till the last pixel. We have to work on the design & UX. Users demand it. It’s a matter of life or death”. He was right. Secondly, we had to deal with an enormous amount of air quality data. That’s a real software challenge. It took us more than 6 months to build the right architecture to the servers for US (that’s a lifetime in startups timeline). How we encountered that? Our team has a lot of passion and believe in BreezoMeter goals and vision. And of course brilliant software engineers like Emil Fisher (CTO), Amit Gil, Eyal Levine & Shahar Polak.
What I am trying to say is that in the end, as a startup you have endless obstacles. That is why you need a great team. Thats the most important thing.
Please provide a few ways this can help people in various sectors. For example, can Breezometer help people where insecticides and pesticides are being sprayed? Can it help detect mold in ones home or workplace, or help detect mold that could enable a home buyer to make a decision prior to purchase?
BreezoMeter gathers real time air quality data from outdoor sensors all over the world. Which means our air quality data is valid only for the outdoors. Currently BreezoMeter offers:
- Real time air quality maps – see in your own eyes how air quality looks like at your street, block and even the whole country.
- Actionable personalized health recommendations – know what you should do, whether you’re at home, looking for an exercise route, planning a trip or watching the kids play.
- Notifications on air quality changes – save your favorite locations and track their air quality 24/7.
Children are very sensitive to low air quality. That is why we believe it is a perfect solution for parents, for example, so they could choose a clean park to go to, and even for kindergarteners to know when is the best time for the kids to play outside. When doing sport activity, one can breathe up to 3 times more air, therefore for athletes, runners, cyclists and anyone doing outdoor sport activities, it’s the perfect tool to plan when & where. BreezoMeter is also an important tool for asthma, lung and heart patients which are widely affected from low air quality. Now they can finally know what is the air quality level outside, plan their day accordingly and know what they should do.
One of BreezoMeter’s future product in a real estate report that summarizes past air quality levels and future trends – so everyone could make informed choices about where they want to live.
Where is Breezometer being sold?
Are there any limitations of its capability or regions where this, by chance, cannot work?
In places that doesn’t have enough sensors, like some parts of the Israeli desert (‘Negev’) or US, we don’t supply data. All around the world, air quality sensors are placed in places with dense population, cities, etc. Therefore there are dozen of thousands of sensors all over the world, which means BreezoMeter potential is huge.
What type of non-profits or organizations have signed on (if any) at this point? I take it this can possibly help those with Ashthma or allergies to dust, mold, or those who are sensitive to insecticides and/or pesticides?
Currently, BreezoMeter supply data about air quality. Low air quality effects us all. Non the less people that suffer from Asthma, COPD and heart diseases. We do see great potential to collaborate with different organizations like the above and still looking for the first one :). Currently we don’t supply allergens data, but those who suffer from allergies are usually more sensitive to low air quality.
What other applications is Breezomether good for?
For customers, BreezoMeter’s App provides:
- ● Real time, location based, air pollution levels together with an air pollution map.
- ● Personalized solutions on how to minimize exposure to air pollution.
- ● Real time alerts on air quality changes at users current location & favorite places.
- The app is ideal for watching the air quality at the kids kindergarten, plan the healthiest running route, reduce exposure to health sensitives and just to make informed decisions in our everydays’ life.
For Businesses, BreezoMeter is offering a valuable API and a Mobile SDK, allowing developers to integrate BreezoMeter’s solutions into products. Sample use cases:
- ● Real estate (past air pollution levels & future trends).
- ● Weather apps & platforms.
- ● Health & Fitness apps, including wearable devices.
- ● Hiking & travelling platforms.
- For the first time ever, developers could get air pollution levels at the street resolution, together with health recommendation & statistics.
In laymens terms, how does Breezometer work?
BreezoMeter uses big data analytics that allows gathering air pollution & weather data from thousands of sources. Together with unique algorithms, Breezometer tracks and interprets the level of air pollution, right down to street level.