Jacques Touillon – Co-founder and CEO of Airboxlab – The Low Cost Sensor/IAQ Monitor Craze with Foobot CEO

Air Date: 1-20-2017|Episode 444


This week on IAQ Radio we welcome Jacques Touillon. Jacques Touillon is co-founder and CEO of Airboxlab, creators of the Foobot smart indoor air quality monitor. He worked in environmental communication for many years, but co-founded the company after watching his own son, who suffers from asthma, struggle to breathe in his own home…

Full Description:

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome Jacques Touillon. Jacques Touillon is co-founder and CEO of Airboxlab, creators of the Foobot smart indoor air quality monitor. He worked in environmental communication for many years, but co-founded the company after watching his own son, who suffers from asthma, struggle to breathe in his own home. Now the company protects building occupants from pollutants by sending friendly alerts to consumers, integrating directly with smart devices to automate IAQ, and giving contractors a real-time view of a client’s air pollutants, temperature and humidity via a detailed contractor dashboard. Join us today and LEARN MORE about the latest craze in the IAQ world. These units are not going away and should make consumers more knowledgeable about their indoor environment. How will this affect your work in the IAQ, disaster restoration and buildings science world?

Z-Man’s Blog:

“You cannot improve what you cannot measure.” (Peter Drucker)

Jacques Touillon’s son’s struggle with pediatric asthma is what piqued his interest in IAQ. Jacques is Co-founder and CEO of Airboxlab, creators of the Foobot smart indoor air quality monitor. The device provides real time view of indoor pollutants for homeowners delivering information to smart phones. On today’s episode of IAQradio Jacque shared his thoughts, ideas and experience.

Airboxlab was started because there was no way to see or measure the indoor pollutants which exacerbated his son’s asthma.

Nuggets mined from today’s episode:

We think about what we eat and drink because we can see it. We don’t think about what we breathe because its invisible.

  • Building occupants and their activities are the biggest sources of indoor pollution.
  • Make an indoor IEQ monitoring system financially available to everyone.
  • Foobot conceived to be the first entry point, not a replacement for other devices.
  • Foobot is a tool not only a device.

Foobot measures particulate in the size range of PM 2.5 (12.5% accuracy). Device also measures the total aggregate VOCs. The device uses robust sensors which don’t require routine maintenance. When RH is high VOCs also increase. Continuous reading, every 15 milliseconds send data into the Cloud where it is processed and returned for reading on smart phone or the device. Professional dashboard option offers: remote monitoring, temperature and RH.

Who owns the data?

The data belongs to the user. The data is for use by the owner to better understand what’s going on indoors and for the contractor to fix the problem.

Rather than taking high resolution photos of airborne contaminates like high cost technology, Foobot uses a low-resolution video approach continuously reading what is in the air.

Indicator points on the device are based on World Health organization recommendations.

Sees parallels between the growing acceptance and use of smart connected thermostats and acceptance and use of Foobot.

The first buyers of wrist worn activity trackers were healthy people who didn’t need them that were interested in the technology. Foobot buyers are also early adopters. Some are from: the home performance field, smart home buyers, healthy living communities. IEQ consultants and contractors are also using and selling the product.

Breakdown of worldwide interest in Foobot. 8%-10% of world population has asthma.

  • US- data driven society is in our DNA, larger market than Europe.
  • Europe- looking at new and innovative solutions, new business models, more conservative and reliant upon government for direction.
  • China- is into hardware not into data. Homes have high tech air cleaners and occupants smoke.
  • India- catastrophic air quality, more into data, the next big market for indoor air treatment.

Carbon Dioxide

  • For 30 years CO2 has been the reference for IAQ. CO2 isn’t a pollutant it is a confinement indicator.
  • CO2 doesn’t tell what’s in the air, only that it is stale or confined. The Foobots algorithm recalculates total VOCs into equivalent CO2 looking at what is impacting health not confining space.

Carbon Monoxide

  • The Foobots sensor is very sensitive to CO. What’s in the VOCs, maybe toluene or formaldehyde? Would love to answer the question how are we exposed to CO on a daily basis. Quantifying CO exposure is a goal.

There are competitive products. All devices aren’t the same. Nervous and excited about competitive technologies. Foobot’s technology is comprehensive. Happy to see market competitors, that means awareness is growing. Monitoring only doesn’t make sense. What do the devices do with the data? The device can help locate the source of the problem and measure the success of remedial work. Device’s sensor array can be linked with HVAC system to activate ventilation when needed.

For some people $199 is unaffordable, will the prices of Foobot come down? Smart thermostats started at $299 and are now $99. Increased awareness will lead to higher volume which will lower costs.

Support in the form of actionable advice for occupants to connect the dots. The 5 minute use of cleaning products indoors pollutes the air for 3-4 hours.

Foobot costs $199 MSRP. Wholesale pricing is available to distributors. Some large companies have purchased Foobots as part of their employee wellness programs.

Working with homelab.com on a yearly subscription service for device owners.

Foobot can monitor 1500 square feet of contiguous space with open air flow. Recommended that Foobot be left in a one place. In US homes its recommended that 3 Foobots be used: 1 in the basement, 1 on first floor and 1 on second floor. The units will find a balance in the home by comparing: PM 2.5, VOCs, RH and temperature.

Sensors are becoming smaller, more sensitive and more energy efficient. A dream is that sensor incorporated into evert smart phone. IEQ sensors in smart phones are needed due to the bioterrorism threat.

In a partnership with another startup that provides outdoor pollution data. Outdoor pollution is more complicated than indoor pollution.

Needs to reach more people more quickly. Acknowledges early adopters: Nate Adams www.energysmartohio.com, Rob Minnick www.minnicks.com, and www.homelab.com as a key component to future success.

Final comment: Beginning of a journey. Can’t wait to share what he’s got to help the world.

Today’s music:

“Particle Man”    by They Might Be Giants – YouTube

Z-Man signing off

Trivia question:

A particle counter is an instrument that detects and counts physical particles. Name the two categories into which particles which are detected or counted by the device fall?

Answer:

Either ionizing or non-ionizing

 

 

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