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Plume Air Cloud – Air Quality Data Crowdsourcing Platform for Environmentally-friendly Cities

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Plume Air Cloud (Plume Air Cloud – Air Quality Data Crowdsourcing Platform for Environmentally-friendly Cities)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-08-31

For European countries, the “overall external costs of the impacts of air pollution ranged between €330 and €940 billion, including labour productivity losses and other direct economic damages” in 2010. According to the OECD, “urban air pollution is set to become the TOP environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation”.
Therefore, fighting the health impact of air pollution requires a very granular monitoring of pollutant concentration levels and powerful forecasting capabilities, as well as tools to make this information widely accessible to citizens across the European Union.

The overall ambition of our SME Instrument (SMEI) project is to establish our air quality data platform, the Plume Air Cloud, as the leading environmental health data platform globally.
This ambition breaks down into the following objectives:
Objective 1: to further enhance the competitive edge of our data platform, we plan to increase the spatial granularity of our models
Objective 2: building on objective 1, we want to develop air quality maps which European citizens will use in their daily life to avoid pollution black spots, make better mobility choices and live a healthier life.
Objective 3: we want to prepare the commercialization of our data solutions by developing relationships with corporates, third-party developers & municipalities
Data platform enhancement:
The spatial granularity of our data platform was extended to a global coverage with a 10 km resolution over Europe for both air quality and UV data. This strong enhancement in our data platform was made possible by a drastic improvement of our data infrastructure since the database now ingest more than 150 000 000 new lines of data (for each pollutant + UV) every day.

Web maps:
A first web map, based on our 10 km resolution global coverage data, was released on our website. City-scale street-level map based on land-use regression models were also developed. Fifty street-level maps are so far available at an annual mean granularity and will evolve to live maps during the second year of the project. This evolution will provide European citizens with air quality information at street-level and allows (i) Flow’s data integration and (ii) the setup of a product to help citizens make informed decisions on their mobility choices.

Sales efforts:
We reinforced the positioning of our air quality platform as the leading solution for air pollution data provision. Building on significant software developments and a clear forecast accuracy superiority relative to our peers, we accelerated our sales efforts (with significant contract wins), sustained our best-in-class public relations activity, and initiated strategic partnerships which should act as catalysts to our business development.
Progress beyond state of the art
Our approach is radically novel: instead of running additional vehicles through congested streets to run mobile sensors, or investing significant capital and natural resources in building street-level urban infrastructure to operate fixed stations, we rely on our community of users to track pollution levels right where they live and breathe.
Crowdsourcing air quality measurements from our users has three radically novel features that make our approach superior to the state of the art in air quality monitoring networks:
* We cover areas where people actually live: we’re able to measure much more relevant air quality data than the rooftop sensor networks frequently managed by legacy operators.
* We measure what people actually breathe: not only the roadside air quality levels measured in traffic by mobile vehicles or urban lighting network sensors, but also the air quality inside homes, schools, offices, transportation, etc.
* We speak the language people actually speak: by building first and foremost a personal air quality sensor, and then a network and community of users of this sensor, we’re starting in the right order – not with infrastructure but with people first.
The platform we’re building to make sense of the individual exposure data collected and turn it into collective understanding or air quality patterns is crucial to our differentiation.
Because no other company so far has been able to build a comprehensive personal mobile air quality sensor that tracks exposure to all the main pollutants on the go, we’re able to crowdsource air pollution at a much wider scale than ever before. Developing our data platform thanks to the H2020 SME Phase II project will help us advance air quality monitoring way beyond the current state of the art.

Societal impact
We believe that the most important weapon against air pollution is the vox populi: an informed citizenry is the most potent lever for societal change.
Flow, our air pollution sensor, makes knowing what you breathe possible for everyone with a smartphone, but it’s still first and foremost a personal device, which our first customers have bought because they’re worried about their exposure as they run or bike across their city, or of how much pollution could affect their children’s health.
More than a device manufacturer that sells products to consumers, we aim to become a platform and to catalyze a movement. If we succeed in making even one community environmentally better thanks to the sensors we produce or the maps we compute, we will have paved the way to scale this effort around the world – and will be proud to claim a societal impact that reaches far beyond the cutting technologies we’ve invented.

Socio-economic impact
The European Environmental Agency estimates that 500,000 Europeans die every year because of poor air quality beyond the guidelines of the World Health Organization. Our aim for Flow is to help its users cut their exposure to pollution by making the invisible visible.
Beyond the economic impact of the jobs we’re creating as well as the benefit to the companies that will use our air quality forecasting platform to better inform their customers or better integrate environmental data in their operations, the key socio-economic impact we aim for is the increase in well-being of our customers who will be able to take informed action to decrease their exposure to the most harmful pollutants.

H2020 Expected results until the end of the project
We are on track to achieve and exceed the expected results from the project as laid out in our application. The most immediate result we expect to see before the end of the project is a commercial channel sales contract with a global leader in the weather data industry with which we are working on:
* Selling access to our air quality forecasts to inform their weather forecast models
* Working jointly as channel partners to sell access to our air quality data to customers of their weather forecasts worldwide – e.g. web platforms, automative OEMs, etc.
As we have started to deliver the first units of our personal air quality sensors to our pre-order customers, and are gearing up for commercial launch in Europe and the US this fall, we also expect to be able to produce the first crowdsourced maps of air quality levels built by our users in the very next few months and across dozens of cities worldwide.
This is an unprecedented achievement and a major milestone for our citizen-powered air quality platform project.