Invisible dangers are still dangers. Viruses, dust, and many forms of bacteria, also known as particulate matter, contaminate the air we breathe. An estimated 8 million people die every year due to poor air quality, according to the European Society of Cardiology. The negative effects of air quality is a well-studied topic, yet what to do about it and how to measure it are still not well known. AirThinx is on a mission to change that.
The solution to improving air quality starts with the ability to monitor it, but the market only offers professional-only equipment (at an enormous cost) or low-quality, inaccurate devices. This gap in the market leaves hospitals, office buildings, and homeowners unable to know whether or not there is an air quality problem in their buildings. Backed by its parent company, Netronix Group, Airthix designed a solution bundled with cellular connectivity, allowing them to avoid any business-critical WiFi networks, and established an easy “plug and play” experience for facilities managers.
AirThinx filled the gap in the market by creating an affordable, reliable, and professional-grade air quality monitoring system that can be easily launched anywhere in the world. But developing a globally connected air monitoring solution required Airthix to solve a key hurdle: reliable, cost-effective connectivity that was also easy to deploy.
Taking a cellular connected product to market in multiple countries meant AirThinx would need to manage carriers and carrier-specific SIMs in every country they wanted to operate in. This method would complicate their manufacturing process, create an inconsistent approach to managing connectivity, and ultimately slow down their ability to scale. Managing multiple carriers would result in either consuming margins or making the product much more expensive and thus no different from market incumbents.
In addition, when connectivity is down, Airthinx requires the ability to view devices that have gone offline, as well as the tools to rectify the situation. The different tools and systems used by carriers to manage connectivity issues make it hard for AirThinx to scale their solution.
AirThinx selected Twilio as its global connectivity provider, eliminating the complexities associated with managing multiple carriers. Because a Twilio SIM behaves the same in every country, AirThinx had the confidence to scale their air monitoring solution to 35 countries within the first year, from the mountains in South America and spacious rural areas in Europe, to dense cities in India.
“It’s hard to scale that quickly without spending a lot of money,” said Daniel King, Business Development Manager at AirThinx. “When we started using Twilio for connectivity, we were able to send the same device anywhere in the world, with the confidence it would work, while reducing our operating expenses by 30 percent."
Once deployed, Twilio’s console and SIM management APIs allowed AirThinx to manage and troubleshoot SIMs anywhere in the world.
"Using Twilio APIs to view data usage and control the SIMs out in the field, we were able to troubleshoot 80 percent faster,” King said.
AirThinx was already relying on Twilio’s Programmable Messaging service to improve customer service by providing a way to send customer alerts, especially when dangerous air conditions are present.
“After seeing Twilio’s coverage for SMS service, selecting Twilio for our IoT connectivity was a no brainer, “ said Vasileios Nasis, CEO of Netronix. “The support and tools provided by Twilio make our job easier, which means we can deliver a better product at the best price.”
AirThinx recently added new capabilities, including outdoor and in-vehicle air quality monitoring. But most relevant for our world today is their initiative to deliver a 360-degree air quality solution that monitors, remediates, and displays air quality clearly and transparently. Applying the AirThinx innovative solution to buildings for COVID-19 monitoring can help facility managers plan how to allow occupants into buildings with a greater understanding of risk.
“Twilio is like an extension of our team when it comes to connectivity,” King said. “And that’s exactly what you want when you’re trying to innovate in a new space.”