October 8, 2018 | Written by: Sigalit Mutzafi, CEO, RadGreen
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It’s no secret that pollution is threatening public health, especially in urban spaces. Cities around the world are concerned with reducing dangerous levels of air pollution in streets and public spaces, but even when people move inside, they’re still surrounded by invisible health threats.
Indoor air pollution is rarely discussed, but it poses a significant risk. Most people spend 80 to 90 percent of their time indoors, trapped and exposed to the same recycled air.
Modern technology also exposes people to other forms of harmful pollution in homes and workplaces: unhealthy noise levels and artificial light from electronic (LED) lamps and screens are increasing the incidence of headaches and migraines, disrupting sleep and concentration, and sending stress levels through the roof.
Growing levels of radiation from high voltage grid wires, transformers, switch boxes and engines, electronic products, phone networks and Wi-Fi could be impacting people’s bodies in ways that are much more difficult to trace.
Inside and out, an increasingly polluted environment is damaging health, with related effects on society and the economy. Overstressed workers take more sick days and produce lower-quality work.
Governments and companies are becoming increasingly aware of these problems and are constantly on the lookout for solutions to address them. But to tackle pollution, they first have to measure it.
Measuring the invisible
RadGreen has developed a solution based on Internet of Things (IoT) devices that helps clients assess, monitor and remediate pollution problems in their facilities. Our solution uses a variety of sensors to detect and measure all the major pollution-related health threats in a home or workplace, including air quality, noise levels, light pollution and radiation.
Our IoT devices can connect to the internet by WiFi or cellular networks. Over this connection, they send information back to RadGreen’s cloud-based servers, which in turn send alerts, reports and updates to our clients’ facilities management systems through a simple application programming interface (API).
The solution can be customized for each client and enables facility owners and managers to regulate the environment in and around their buildings in a much more responsive and immediate way.
For example, in areas that are sensitive to noise, such as bars or music venues in residential areas, RadGreen can notify clients immediately if the volume rises above an agreed-upon threshold. This helps businesses address the issue before police are called, avoiding fines and reputational damage.
We can also help schools and government authorities check that children and members of the public are breathing clean, safe air. Our solution also helps businesses ensure their employees are working in a low-stress environment conducive to concentration and productivity. Making this information available also helps to increase employee engagement by demonstrating the organization’s commitment to well being in the workplace.
Managing the transmission of this information from our cloud servers to clients’ systems is a serious undertaking. If we exposed the internal API of our back-end systems directly to our clients, it would mean that any time we changed something, such as moving our servers to a different cloud provider, it could disrupt the flow of data to clients.
To avoid disruptions and give us more flexibility, RadGreen uses IBM API Connect. The solution helps us create and manage our client-facing APIs and acts as an intermediary between our systems and clients’ systems, so we don’t have to worry about changes in the infrastructure causing service disruptions. We use Node-RED, a tool developed by IBM for visual creation and management of data flows. This helps us to easily create custom data flows for customers who want to receive information in a format that isn’t offered by our standard APIs. For example, we can provide push notifications when pollutants reach a certain threshold.
Enabling a cleaner future
The IBM solutions are easy to use. They help us onboard customers and integrate with their systems quickly. Connecting a client up to API Connect can be done in a few hours, while configuring a more custom solution with Node-RED only takes half a day.
API Connect also gives us a high level of control and visibility into how our clients are using our APIs. For instance, we can now see which API endpoints each customer is using and how often. This means we can charge based on usage rather than a fixed fee. Charging by usage is a more sophisticated pricing model and enables us to work with organizations across a range of budgets.
RadGreen’s solutions are proving popular with clients, and we are working on several complex projects for businesses, public organizations and as part of connected city initiatives. With the speed and flexibility that IBM services provide, we can deliver solutions quickly to help our clients make every city, school and workplace a safer, cleaner and more productive environment.
Learn how you can apply the power of APIs to your business in the free online book APIs for Dummies and read the RadGreen case study for more details about the RadGreen solution.