Intel recently announced an air quality monitoring system developed in partnership with Bosch. The Bosch Air Quality Micro Climate Monitoring System (MCMS) uses sensors and software to measure air pollutants "rapidly and accurately."
MCMS can measure "criteria pollutants" in real-time, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone. It can also measure temperature, relative humidity, light, sound and pressure.
- With real-time air quality data, city officials can react to pollution by adjusting traffic flow in congested areas to advising citizens to remain inside. It could also be put to use in industrial and factory settings that have problems with air quality.
A study on air pollution by the World Health Organization (WHO) found 98% of cities with 100,000 or more citizens in developing countries do not meet WHO air quality guidelines, which falls to 56% in developed economies. Air pollution can cause heart disease and lung cancer, and increase the risk of strokes and acute respiratory diseases, like asthma. Air pollution caused an estimated $225 billion in lost productivity in 2013 alone, according to the World Bank.
"Every human life will be positively affected by these devices," said Sameer Sharma, the global general manager of Intel's IoT Smart Cities Group.
According to Sharma, two cities in India have expressed interest in the system, and pilot programs are ongoing in Europe. Corporations interested in measuring air quality for business decision and customer satisfaction have also inquired about MCMS.
Other monitoring systems can cost $150,000 to $250,000 and be the size of a room. Sharma said that MCMS will be an "order of magnitude cheaper" and the size of a stack of four or five pizza boxes. The smaller size and cheaper cost will let cities install multiple systems, according to Sharma.
Intel and Bosch are not the only players in the game of air monitoring. Among other companies, Google recently conducted a study using Street View cars to measure air quality in Oakland, CA — which found a huge variance in how air pollution changes from block to block.