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Air Quality Instrument Manufacturer Shortlisted for ‘Collaborate to Innovate Awards 2020

Air Quality Instrument Manufacturer Shortlisted for ‘Collaborate to Innovate Awards 2020 content piece image
Air Quality Monitor Installed at Heathrow Airport. Credit: Brian Stacey, Ricardo
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South Coast Science operates on the principle that air quality data must be validated in the field, not in the lab. Validation in the field requires more research time and expertise than a lab-based exercise, therefore it’s tempting to sidestep extensive field testing. Which begs the question - is it really such a big deal how the data is validated?

In short, yes! Consumer confidence and the future of the industry depends on it. Low-cost air quality monitoring is a nascent industry and to really gain confidence in the market and therefore traction, the quality of the data output must be assured. Instruments must produce data proven to be accurate, repeatable and reliable across a wide range of environmental conditions.

Air quality can be a contentious issue, therefore confidence in the data must be high and (crucially!) visible to all stakeholders to engage a local community, drive behavior change and support effective decision making in a commercial environment.

The clear need for validation with field data doesn’t, however, reduce the scale of such an undertaking. This is where partnership with global engineering and environmental consultancy Ricardo has played a key role in developing robust data.

South Coast Science has always followed an open approach to product development. It’s a pragmatic response to the need for transparency to build trust in the market. It also makes sense to collaborate with an independent expert to test and validate (relatively) new technology and it pays dividends in understanding customer requirements, dividing the effort and sharing the rewards.

The rewards of the collaboration so far? A repeatable and field-tested validation algorithm. Customers using Praxis devices have access to raw sensor values, as well as the corrected data. They can be confident of the results returned by using an error correction model tested in locations worldwide and verified by experts in their field.

This ongoing validation work puts South Coast Science’s devices in an excellent position to lead the way in preparation for upcoming air quality standards. This would have been impossible to achieve without an ongoing collaboration with Ricardo, Alphasense and others like the United Nations Environment Programme.

Openness truly is the key to innovation and the support from organizations like ‘The Engineer Magazine’ through the Collaborate to Innovate Awards underscores this point.