We started as a volunteer project in a school in Northern Thailand, monitoring the dangerously high air pollution levels in classrooms during the so-called “burn season” which adversely affects peoples’ respiratory health. We worked with students and educators to raise awareness of the poor air quality by; building air quality monitors, highlighting the health impacts of air pollution, and trying to find positive solutions to reduce air pollution.
I fondly remember the first air quality monitors we built with students using recycled plastic bottles as the housing. We also experimented with building powerful air purifiers so the students could measure the effectiveness of the monitors they built. We used the negative impacts of dangerous air pollution as a learning opportunity and to find ways to come up with innovative ideas to reduce the negative effects of air pollution on human health.
From the outset we have had a strong focus on providing open designs with robust and durable hardware, and a strong desire to empower local and people around the world with affordable and effective air quality solutions. Our products are developed for maximum durability and with an easy-to-repair design. We are also committed to providing replacement parts as long as they are available in the market.
We believe that companies like ours need to act responsibly and work towards a healthier and more sustainable environment. With this in mind, we joined the 1% for the Planet movement and we have committed to donating 1% of our sales to organizations that protect our planet. We have also asked our suppliers to reduce the plastic material they use to package components or to switch to more environmentally friendly material.
Sadly, there are trends in our industry that are working against people’s best interests, such as locking customers into subscriptions, preventing customers from owning their air quality data, high ongoing maintenance costs (for example, through expensive replacement modules), and by making it extremely difficult for people to repair monitors. I pause to ponder, we teach our young children “sharing is caring”, when did business stop caring?
Some may label us disruptors for seeking innovative unconventional ways of doing business. We aim to demonstrate how low-cost hardware, open-source software, and an open data strategy will offer people a better future.
We are proud to work with partners from around the world who share our vision of providing democratised affordable accurate air quality monitoring. Our new OpenAir outdoor monitor, currently in co-location testing, will enable many organizations to monitor their local air quality with a trusted device which will help them take preventative measures to protect their health.
I want to thank you for the tremendous and positive support we are receiving from the international community. It is gratifying to see our vision gaining momentum. I hope that we will make an impact (or at least a small one) by helping people visualise and find ways to protect themselves against the negative effects of air pollution.