According to European Environmental Agency report from 2014, Kraków is the third most polluted city in Europe, with air pollution exceeding safe levels on 150 days in a year. No wonder that it is a Kraków-based team that created Airly, a network of inexpensive outdoor air quality sensors that monitors the pollution, locates its source, and provides its users with accurate real-time data. Air.ly was founded with one goal in mind: to improve the quality of life by providing clear and easily accessible information about the air we breathe.
“Air quality can be dramatically different in a few kilometers from you and it can change rapidly throughout the day”, said Wiktor Warchałowski, CEO of Airly. Lack of reliable information regarding air pollution not only makes it difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle, but also inhibits any development in this field.
“More accurate data will raise public awareness, which leads to impactful changes and taking actions to improve air quality,” he said.
Airly prototyped air quality sensors that operate using LoRa technology, a new standard for the Internet of Things. The sensors are cheap and have low power consumption without compromising the range or accuracy of data – according to the Airly website, their measurements are of the same quality as data provided by official environmental protection stations. A dense, widespread network of sensors makes it possible to create forecasts using artificial intelligence. Moreover, the parameters are displayed in an intuitive format of an air quality map that also features real-time alerts about pollution exceeding permissible levels and is able to display an optimal time and route for outdoor activities.
Airly has four founders. Wiktor Warchałowski is a graduate of AGH University of Science and Technology, a data scientist and a Mensa International member. Despite his young age, he has already acquired a broad experience in software development. Michał Kiełtyka, responsible for product development, is an electronics engineer excited about new technology and a winner of tens of hackatons. Aleksander Konior has both a programming and analytical marketing background and works as a software developer. Michał Misiek, an Environmental Physics graduate, is the main researcher in Airly with an enormous knowledge in air quality measurement.
Airly cooperates with Cisco as a part of this company’s smart cities strategy. Wojciech Burkot, the former CTO of Allegro (a Polish eBay equivalent), recently joined the team as an advisor and an investor. Seed funding of the project reached €100k, which may increase to €270k if Airly reaches certain milestones.
The project is still in its beginning stage, but first sensors have already been implemented in Kraków and its vicinity. Airly is a startup definitely worth watching, especially for citizens of the most polluted cities. After all, it’s clean air we all want to breathe.
I’ve heard Polish government is focusing exclusively on coal, to cover all power industry. Would they care to measure pollution? Or maybe this initiative is to make people aware and more active locally?