Problem: Air quality varies from location to location, even within blocks of each other. People who are very sensitive to air quality may be affected negatively, as they go from one area to another. The current air quality monitoring system, provided by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, was spaced too far apart to give localized information.

Solution tested: Air quality and environmental sensors, Notification system

Questions to be answered: How does the air quality levels change from location to location? How large are the differences? What causes the differences in local air quality? How do the various air quality sensors compare (consumer grade air quality sensors, low cost pro-grade intermediate sensors and high end sensors)? Where do they all fit within this air quality monitoring ecosystem?

Project Update (January 25, 2019)

An initial air quality set of low cost air quality sensors was integrated to the Fybr smart city platform in May 2018. Three air sensors were installed – two at the San Mateo County government complex (building 455) and one at the East Palo Alto City Hall. This six month pilot revealed yielded several learnings:

  • The sensors were mounted on the building rooftop, when it should have been mounted 12 to 15 ft above the ground.
  • There was no pre-installation calibration against a known sensor (I.e. Compared and calibrated against one of the air quality district sensors).
  • The sensors did not provide the level of accuracy required (which was evident when the Camp Fire wildfire smoke covered the region).

Next steps


Learnings from the initial pilot resulted in an updated air quality monitoring pilot as follows:

  • Deploy 10 Clarity air quality sensors throughout the county. Sensors are expected to be installed in February of 2019.
  • Locations will be selected based on a set of considerations – proximity to sensitive receptors, geographic and terrain diversity, construction and traffic activity
  • Evaluate and understand the range of air quality sensors available – from low cost consumer grade to high reliability, mission critical sensors. Identify use cases for each type.
  • Potentially incorporate this range of sensors into this second pilot