Airly Brings Precision Analytics to Air Quality Monitoring — IoT Tech Trends
One of the best parts of being a tech journalist is when I discover startups with either an interesting product or a problem they are trying to solve. I first came across Polish startup Airly in Krakow in 2016 at a Google startup event. I wrote about the company — it was CEO and co-founder Wiktor Warchałowski’s first interview in English.
The company is using IoT tech to monitor and track air pollution. As an Australian, I have a personal interest in air quality. Every year during bushfire season, I see photos of my friends wearing masks to protect themselves from the bushfire smoke and ash that can spread for miles. Almost everyone I know suffers from asthma or hay fever.
Poor air quality kills
According to the World Health Organization, 9 of 10 people are breathing polluted air. WHO estimates that around 7 million people die each year from exposure to diseases associated with air pollution, as they affect the respiratory and cardiovascular system.
Last year in inner-South London, a coroner made legal history by ruling that air pollution was the cause of death of a 9-year-old girl who died from asthma. Ella Kissi-Debrah lived in Lewisham, where dioxide emissions exceeded legal limits — both EU and national levels. Particle matter levels, the principal source of which were traffic emissions, were above the WHO guidelines.
In 2019, London introduced an Ultra Low Emission Zone as part of the efforts to tackle air pollution in the city. Vehicles have to meet tight exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to drive into central London. Last year during the COVID lockdown nitrogen dioxide levels reduced by over 35 percent in just a few weeks.
From early days to global growth
I recently spoke with Wiktor to find out how the company had progressed over the last few years. When I met them, they were three guys after university, but now they have a team of 40 people (and they’re hiring) across five different countries. They’ve grown to create an ecosystem of sensors, data science, software, and mobile apps from a single hardware offering. They’ve installed over 4,500 sensors installed internationally, and their…