Interview with Robert Heinecke
provides an environmental intelligence platform that offers hyperlocal, comprehensive and accurate air quality data, as well as insights and actionable recommendations. Breeze's platform integrates a multitude of public and private air quality data sources, as well as the startup's own low-cost air quality sensors.
Since we last spoke, what have been some of the biggest projects and partnerships you've focused on with Breeze Technologies?
So since we last spoke, we set up our solutions in a couple of more cities, including German cities, where our data - our air quality data - is also available for the general population. So citizens there can see how the air quality is like in the cityscape, and then they can also base their own decisions upon that. And even more than that, we are really excited that we launched a couple of new partnerships that I can't tell too much about as of yet, but it's going to be really exciting in the upcoming future - both in regards to our capabilities of generating a hyperlocal air quality data of sensors and other data sources, but also in regards to the interventions to the Clean Air actions that we help our partners with. So look out for our news in the next couple of months, and yeah, you can see what we came up with.
What are some of the biggest technical innovations being made in the field today? What additional innovations would make Breeze Technologies' sensors even more effective?
We now see more and more cities actually being interested in the topic of hyperlocal air quality data. I mean, commonly until now, you had these big bulky containers to monitoring stations in the streets, and only a couple of them. But more and more cities understand that they actually need much more environmental data, also data from other civic sources, to efficiently manage their cityscape and their infrastructure. So I think this change of paradigm, this change of management in the city infrastructure area, is really the biggest innovation that we have today in the urban landscape. And based on that, for us especially, it's going to be interesting what other startups come up with to solve local air pollution challenges. Because once we have the data available from the cityscape - how the air quality looks like, how it develops - and on the other side, how the cityscape looks like, in general - the data that we get from the city - then it's really about matchmaking those existing situations then with the right solutions, with the right tools. And this is where we help, this is where we have our solution database, our marketplace, but this is also where we need other companies to bring in their expertise, to bring in their solutions to improve local quality.
How are mobility companies working together with Breeze Technologies? How can smart air sensors be integrated into new mobility technologies?
Mobility and transportation, generally, are one of the biggest causes of air pollution. This also means that they have some of the greatest potential to actually positively affect air quality in our cities. Currently, unfortunately, we are not working together with a lot of mobility companies out there. We were part of the Impact Accelerator of MAN Truck and Bus and Yunus Social Business, so I think I see some inside or some knowledge there that they are actually accountable, and they're trying to do more. But, of course, in the future we would wish for much more involvement of environmental data; of air quality data; of other data sources in the mobility and transportation sector. I think mobility and transportation currently are looking - on a very microscopic scale - on how they can improve their businesses, how they can improve their services, and we need to lead the discussion to a point where they understand that you need to look at mobility and transportation on a macroscopic way. I mean, it's a systemic approach. It's not only getting from A to B, it's integrated into the whole ecosystem of the city and thereby it also needs to be managed in the ecosystem of a city. Any mobility or transportation companies out there that are willing to work together with us, of course you're always invited to to get in touch.
What are some other innovative products and technologies you've seen come from the field in the past year?
What I'm particularly happy about is that public institutions also acknowledge the growing concern of air pollution, also the growing concern in the population about air pollution. So we've seen some new missions from NASA, from the European Space Agency, particularly also looking at the topic of air quality. There's been some new satellite launches, for instance, that are going to collect more air quality data from our atmosphere and this is data that we can then, again, use in our models, in our cloud platform to better provide hyperlocal data to our customers; to the cities that we are working with; to the corporates that we are working with. And anybody else out there that has air quality data - accurate air quality data - they're interested in providing to us or providing through us through additional customer groups, this is something that we are particularly interested in.
What are still some of the biggest challenges facing the fight for clean air in urban areas? How can Breeze Technologies fill in where public institutions fall short?
Generally, if you're city administration and you know that you have challenges with air quality, then often we have a discussion where they don't want to know more about that - because once they know, they actually need to do something about that. And I think one of our biggest tasks and one of our biggest challenges, is actually moving this discussion forward; bringing more transparency to the topic of air quality; creating transparency for citizens and making cities accountable in regards to air quality, so that people there understand better that it's not a problem for them if they have bad air quality, but it's a problem for them if they don't do anything about bad air quality. So I think this is one of the biggest points that we can actually bring to the discussion: hyperlocal real-time data to make the discussion more transparent, and then in the second step also facilitating cleaner action plans by recommending solutions. And with our solutions, we aim at making cleaner air actions plans ten times more efficient than they currently are. So for the budget that you have available, increasing air quality by 10x more. And I think this is currently what we are trying to showcase to the cities - that this is really possible with technology.