Helsinki to pioneer world-first IoT air quality sytem

Helsinki is to use Internet of Things (IoT) technology to build a unique air quality monitoring system that will put it in the vanguard of the Smart Cities movement.

The amount of measurement points will double in the Helsinki region as a new supplementary network of air quality sensors is installed over the next 12 months.

The new system will enable ‘agile and economical ways’ to gather new information about the air quality of the Finnish capital city region, according to a press release. It will help city officials make practical decisions – such as when to jet-clean the streets – and help residents avoid air pollutants.

“The new data and a predictive model will improve the monitoring and communications in the capital city region. The Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority, HSY, will bring new air quality maps to its website as well as to information screens on trams and the metro,” said head of the HSY air protection unit Tarja Koskentalo.

A modelling tool by the acclaimed Finnish Meteorological Institute, called ENFUSER, will create predictions on the region’s air quality. The model links air quality data to weather data, topological maps, building data and pollution source information to predict how clean or dirty the air will be.

A vital part of the project is open data and a new ‘cooperation model’ between businesses and public sector which will enable businesses not directly involved in the project to build solutions based on it. The involvement of world leaders in the field, will allow the findings to be exported to other cities throughout the world.

“The partners in the air quality project have the best know-how in the field in the world. When they come together the solutions created can answer the needs of other cities around the world. The air quality date can be used to develop solutions that improve the lives of millions of people. We invite all interested parties to develop these solutions with us”, said Tiina Kähö, executive Director of Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean Foundation.

The partners in the Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean project are the sensor technology providers Vaisala and Pegasor, HSY, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, and Helsinki University.

Vaisala Weather Business executive VP, Jarkko Sairanen, said: “Comprehensive network will produce a much more detailed picture of the air quality than is possible at the moment. The supplementary network can be built very economically as our new, innovative, air quality sensors cost a fraction of the stations currently used around the world.”