Indoor air quality and IoT: lessons from COVID-19

Talkpool Article, May 28th, 2020

Research has shown the danger of microdroplets that could spread the coronavirus. Good air circulation in a building is very important to mitigate this risk. Continuous measuring of air quality parameters with wireless IoT sensors provides a good indication of the status of your indoor air quality.

In Japan, a research was conducted to study the spread of the coronavirus through microdroplets. Unlike particles from sneezing or coughing, microdroplets were found to circulate in still air, even after 20 minutes. These super-light particles are emitted when we talk. The good news is that it’s easy to get rid of microdroplets in the air, by creating an air circulation. This further establishes the importance of good indoor air quality.

Indoor air quality is one of the focus areas of Talkpool’s IoT offering. People spend on average approximately 92% of their time indoors. Bad air quality therefore can greatly impact your well-being. Talkpool released two new wireless indoor air quality sensor devices last year, that can give a good indication of air quality. Especially CO2 levels give a good indication of the ‘freshness’ of the air. At levels of 4,800ppm, every 10th breath has actually already been used! CO2 is a residual product of our breathing and therefore a perfect indicator of air quality.

The Internet of Things revolution has made it easier than ever before to monitor CO2 levels indoors and to automatically receive warning messages once critical thresholds have been surpassed. This has in recent years already been applied more and more commonly in for example office spaces and schools, as it contributes to an indoor environment that promotes well-being and productivity.

“High levels of CO2 can result in a headache feeling of fatigue, as well as a lower work productivity. It is not uncommon for work environments to have CO2 concentrations that result in a 50% drop in work productivity, especially in older buildings. Our Internet of Things solution provides long-term insights into this, as well as an actionable stream of measurement data upon which ventilation systems can be optimized.

As societies are finding their ways to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, measures like social distancing and use of face masks are taken. We believe that air quality control could be one of the tools in the toolbox of measures that we take against the spread of the virus. Imagine for example a shopping mall where many people walk around, good air circulation could be one of the measures we can take to make it more difficult for the virus to spread.”, says Patric Kristiansson, Head of Solutions at Talkpool.

Note: though it can reduce the risk, optimizing the ventilation system does not completely stop the potential spread of the corona virus. Please follow the guidelines from the authorities in your location. Stay healthy & safe.

Consider the following benefits in addition to the indoor air improvement:

  • Energy savings: our data shows inefficient HVAC (air conditioning) in hotels, schools and other buildings
  • Damage prevention: ‘eyes’ in the building while you’re not there
  • Low occupancy levels: this is a good time to upgrade buildings
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