Dublin-based air purification leaders Novaerus supply healthcare facilities in over 30 countries worldwide. Its purification system makes indoor locations safer by continuously removing airborne pollutants and pathogens like viruses, bacteria, allergens, spores, fungi and mould. It also protects patients against a range of illnesses including MRSA, clostridium difficile, norovirus and influenza.
Novaerus’ technology has proved successful at care homes and hospitals, especially in intensive care units, operating theatres, and geriatric and oncology wards. The technology applies anywhere that needs cleaner air, such as schools, childcare facilities, the hospitality sector or in workplaces where air purity is a challenge. The low-cost device is also ideally suited to a home environment, but Novaerus needed a fresh approach to make it attractive to consumers. Three years ago, the company started thinking about opportunities around giving consumers air quality information directly from the device.
“It had been very difficult to show people the tangible result from our product, because the human eye can’t see cleaner air,” explains Úna Ní Raghallaigh, Novaerus’ Sales Manager for the EMEA market. “We realised quite quickly that we needed a way for consumers to be able to ‘see’ the effect of our product through air quality sensors, and that’s where Three came into play. We not only wanted to monitor air quality with low cost sensors but to also allow consumers to interact with the device through an app that would allow them to monitor air quality in real time.”
“Three has been very involved in helping us develop our consumer product. It’s very much a partnership. What’s impressed us the most is their genuine enthusiasm and interest in what we are doing, and the brainstorming sessions we have. They seem as excited by the product’s potential as we are.”
In early 2015, Novaerus began work on a new sensor for its consumer device to measure air pollutants and particles, and send that information back to the user’s smartphone through a cellular network. Novaerus chose to collaborate with the Internet of Things (IoT) team at Three Ireland, because the team actively supports start-ups - partnering with them on business strategy and innovation while helping them drive growth.
Novaerus consulted heavily with Three during the project’s development phase, on decisions like the parameters the sensor would need to track and the design of the functionality that would allow the sensor to collect and send data. Three was also involved in testing SIMs in units to ensure they were as resilient as possible.
Three’s global footprint was an important factor for Novaerus, since its devices are located throughout the world. Novaerus needed consistent, high quality communications no matter where around the globe a sensor happened to be. “That was a challenge in developing our sensor. We have partnerships in more than 30 countries globally, so we needed to ensure the SIMs in the devices work as well in Delhi as in Connemara. The support from the team at Three was particularly important to us,” says Úna Ní Raghallaigh.
Three’s IoT Control Centre is based on the Cisco IoT platform platform, which provides an overview of all the devices a company has throughout the world. Checking which devices aren’t working properly, which are active or inactive, and what resources are being used is quick and easy. Novaerus can also deactivate devices remotely if needed, or manage and update them for the customer.
With Three, Novaerus has developed a new version of its product that taps into a whole new market. It now has a viable consumer product that it never had before. It also has the potential to change its charging model and move towards an ongoing billing relationship with existing healthcare customers, instead of once-off product sales. This is all made possible by the communications infrastructure connecting the device sensor to the user’s smartphone or tablet app.
With a single global SIM in every device, Novaerus benefits from fixed costs no matter where the device is located. This lets the company scale faster, target the right markets and make quicker business decisions on whether to launch in a market
“We now have a much bigger business opportunity than we ever would have had focusing on standalone devices in the healthcare sector alone,” says Ní Raghallaigh. “Three not only helped us with our needs but are also clearly interested in new and revolutionary technologies - that was clear from their support. They were actively involved in the development of the product,” she concludes.
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