7 Ways to Use Air Quality Data to Improve Your Business Performance - Part 1

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    We all understand that air pollution is a serious problem today.

    We understand some of the root causes, such as traffic, shipping, agriculture and the weather. And we understand what it means for our families on a personal level, particularly if those close to you suffer from an illness which is triggered by poor air quality.

    But what does it mean for business?

    Understanding air quality, and air pollution, can be massively useful in a number of ways. Air quality data can help to:

    - Measure, track & report on air quality at your places of work

    - Improve communications to employees, stakeholders, customers and the general public when air quality is poor

    - Implement solutions to maintain and improve the health and well-being of your staff

    - Fulfil your regulatory responsibilities

    - Support your sustainability and environmental policies

    - Make smarter decisions when designing new products and services

    - And, sometimes, help you to make or save more money

    We can split these business uses into two types of air quality-related business benefits:

    1. People-benefits relating to air quality insight – for most businesses, people are 80+% of their expenses and their biggest business asset. So, looking after the health and well-being of your people, makes perfect business sense. This is an indirect impact on business performance. 

    2.  Product-benefits relating to air quality insight – for some sectors, air quality data can be used to improve their products and services for their customers. A direct impact on business performance.

    Let’s explore seven specific commercial use cases showing how air quality data can directly help different business sector to improve their performance:

    Healthcare + Air Quality

    Healthcare providers are overlaying air quality data onto patient data and treatment data for air quality related illnesses. Think of asthma, lung diseases and other respiratory illnesses. Healthcare providers know where their high-risk patients live so, if they know where air quality is poor, and they know what level of air quality has a detrimental effect on patients, they can use air quality forecasts to provide an early warning to high risk patients. Check out this example of patient education in Utah, US.

    Insurance + Air Quality 

    Healthcare insurers are using air quality data to analyse insurance claims related to air quality-related treatments. Armed with this data, they can anticipate which locations are likely to have higher air quality-related claims in future, and where demand for treatment will be higher. They can then adapt their healthcare insurance policies, policyholder communications and treatment plans accordingly. Check out this analysis in China

    Automotive + Air Quality

    Automotive manufacturers are using air quality data in a number of ways. From vehicle route-planning, to avoid highly polluted areas, to automating air filtration so vehicles only take ‘intelligent gulps of external air’ when air quality is good outside of the vehicle and not when it is bad. Air quality is aiding technological automotive advancements to provide a better service for passengers.

    Real estate + Air Quality

    Building developers are using historical andcurrent air quality data as well as long term air quality forecasts to design better buildings to work, live and play in. Building designers and managers are focused on the outdoor to indoor air quality mix – getting that right balance between fresh air and clean air. From shopping centres to office blocks to housing estates to entertainment venues, air quality data is informing the way that air filtration, aircon and public access elements are designed, managed and improved. Check out this London example.

    Media + Air Quality

    Just like a weather forecast, air quality forecasts can be used to share alerts with the general public so they are better informed about air quality in their area. On the news, we have weather forecasts, UV indices, pollen alerts…air quality alerts are a natural extension that enable viewers/readers/listeners to make smarter decisions impacting their health and well-being and everyday decisions. Check out these today/tomorrow forecasts for London.

    Employers + Air Quality

    Employers have a duty of care to employees for their health and well-being. Using air quality data, they can act quickly and responsibly when air quality is poor. From shutting doors and windows, to providing warnings to employees, to making tactical decisions on air filtration within the building, to checking up on high-risk employees. Here’s guidance from the British Safety Council.

    Councils + Air Quality

    As a major cause of air pollution is vehicle traffic, air quality data can be massively useful to inform city council and county council plans for travel and traffic improvements. From road improvements to open space developments to congestion zones to public transport plans to out-of-town developments, air quality data is being used to inform designs, manage services and to track changes over time.

    If you knew air quality at a hyperlocal resolution, say at house/building level, what would you do?

    Think about your home or your office location. Imagine if you knew what the air quality is usually like, how that’s changed over time, what it’s going to be today and what it’s likely to be ten years from now.

    What would you do with this air quality insight?

                                                                                                                                              London PM10 2011 Annual Average Concentrations

    Would you sell your house and move to a higher air quality area with better air quality?! 

    Perhaps. Less extreme solutions you might consider are:

    changing your walking route to work

    -  closing the windows at home

    -  wearing an air filtering mask

    -  warning your family and friends

    -  changing your travel habits

    What if you’re a business owner? Would you move your office from an inner-city street to an out-of-town business park?

    Perhaps. You might also consider:

    closing the office windows

    -  updating your office design so it doesn’t let polluted air into your building

    -  warning staff when air quality is going to be particularly bad, as part of your duty of care to them

    -  ramping up your sustainability and environment policies

    Armed with hyperlocal street-level air quality data, we can all make much more informed decisions for our employees, co-workers, family and friends.

    In part 2 of our blog…we will deep dive into ways to use air quality data to improve your business performance.

    We’ll get down to the commercials…the money....

    1. We’ll explore the link between air quality data & businesses making or saving more money 

    2. We’ll consider all seven areas outlined above, and look at the tangible commercial benefits that can be derived from better understanding air quality

    If you’d like to introduce hyperlocal global air quality data into your business…please contact us at ht@tcarta.com