Re-Focusing Flow: AQ Research & Engagement
We hope you’ve all been having a happy and healthy spring so far this year.
The Plume Labs team has been working closely with our new colleagues at AccuWeather to explore how we could have the highest impact together. A key question is how can our air quality data, tools and expertise make the biggest difference for the massive global audience AccuWeather serves around the world.
From the very beginning, our mission has been to make air quality information accessible to everyone. We’ve concluded that, to bring that mission to the next level, we had to:
- Concentrate our efforts on bringing our air quality alerts, maps and forecasts to the 1.5 billion people who get their weather information through AccuWeather;
- Focus Flow on advancing public health research and environmental community outreach through deployment of sensor fleets rather than individual sales moving forward.
As a consequence, starting June 30th, Flow will only be available for group projects with fleets of 5 devices or more.
Until then, you have a last chance to get one device (or several) for yourself and your family, with an exceptional 30% off as a token of our gratitude using the code “FlowJune30”.
🙋 Questions about our decision? 💡 Read on for the full story.
In the beginning (2014)… there was data, but not enough and not close to being available to everyone. Plume Labs was founded on the idea of making air pollution information accessible and empowering for all—and to do that, we had to fill the data gaps. We took on the challenge starting with the free Plume Labs Air Quality App and went from there.
A good start, but not nearly enough. Air quality monitoring stations are few and far between, especially when you look at the big picture. We used our unique hardware-supported, machine learning-based approach to integrate other sources of data to help fill in the gaps AND create a mobile network of wearable sensors to supplement the missing ground source data. This idea was the birth of Flow, our award winning personal pollution monitor.
While Flow was being shipped to thousands of users around the world (there are more Flows out there now than there are government stations 🤯), we were also making dramatic advancements in our understanding, development, and delivery of air quality forecasts and maps. The team was continuously finding new ways of filling in the data map—right down to the street level.
We have developed a unique perspective on the air pollution crisis by working both on data and devices—in particular, by working on projects that involved many Flows being used at the same time to describe a group of individual’s exposure to air pollution.
In fact, everything we have learned (and continue to discover) supporting teams using Flow helps us improve the air quality information we provide. When we work with researchers, governments, activists, and businesses analyze data collected with Flows and then add context context with data from our models, we learn a ton—increasing our understanding of the issues and building our collective expertise. All of this to say, this approach is the fastest, most impactful way for us to scale our work to the nearly 1.5 billion people within our reach.
We’re looking forward to sharing more updates on our work over the summer and keeping you up-to-date on the latest innovations in air quality and environmental data as we step up our efforts to fight the impact climate change is having on our ability to breathe clean air.
Will you still be using Flow data for anything?
Aside from measuring my personal pollution exposure, is it useful for you if I keep wearing flow outdoors?
Hi – I’d like to start this with a huge thank you for your support and for using Flow! We have two distinct data sets:
1. The Plume Labs global forecasting and mapping system that is the basis of our app forecasts, and the air pollution information you see across AccuWeather’s app and web sites, and our street by street maps.
2. Flow data collected by users like yourself, researchers, community activists, governments, businesses, etc. This data can only ever be accessed by the data owners – Plume Labs does not integrate it into our forecasting and mapping.
This was our intention when we first launched Flow – to be able to create the Waze of air pollution, crowd sourcing outdoor air quality. We did tons of experiments over the last couple of years. However, our models ended up filling in the gaps around the world much faster and efficiently than sensors could.
There have been opportunities, and I anticipate more in the future, for Flow users to join specific projects using their data / devices. Stay tuned by signing up for the PlumeLetter on our web site.
Is there any use for the international air quality community or Plume labs company that I use my Flow, collecting air quality data, and move the Flow device with me? (Or is it for my privat personal interest only). Kind regards, Einar (Flow user since October 2018.)
Hi there and thank you so much for your support and use of Flow. This is a great question and I will refer you to the previous comment for the detailed reply.
Thank you for responding and sharing this! I have had, and still have a lot of fun from measuring and learning from your creation/art piece.
LikeLiked by 1 person
My pleasure 🙂
Two final questions: can you say anything of the expected “lifetime” of the Flow 1 and Flow 2? How long with normal use do the measures remain accurate/indicative?
Secondly: How long do you expect that the Flow app will stay functional/supported?
Thirdly (bonus): can you open source the Flow communication protocol so the community can build custom things like: connect it directly to a Raspberry Pi and Home Assistant? 🙂
1. Two years is the length of time we can guarantee.
2. No plans to change access to the Flow app at this time.
3. Based on our dev roadmap, I do not foresee this as a short-term possibility, but it’s a great idea and I’ll bring it forward 🙂
If you have any more questions please reach out to our team via chat.
Thanks again for your support!
I understand your decision. I am extremely sensitive to air pollution and the Plume app is the best I’ve found to allow me to plan when I can be outside and what precautions to take (such as wearing a mask). The Flow allows me to monitor the interior of my home and to boost my air filters if particulates or ozone increase. It has been such an enhancement of my quality of life to use Plume and Flow since I’m living on a planet that increasingly does not support my life. Thank you for all you’ve done and will do.
Thank you for the kind words Rosemary. We appreciate your support and I’m so pleased to hear that we’ve been able to help!
I have one device (but I have bought 3 in my lifetime: one is the very first version of your product, one is lost 😦 and one is my current device.).
On the 30th June will my current device just cease to work, and I will no longer have access to pollution tracking??
Hello, your Flows will continue to work as before – no worries! Many thanks for your support over the years.
Great, thank you!
I haven’t used my Flow for years simply because your choice of rubber strap breaks way too easily. It’s now sitting useless in my junk drawer at home. I’d love it if there was a way to easily repair it.
Plume and the Flow have been major tools in convincing Church Authorities to modify our Meetinghouse HVAC equipment and operational procedures to meet current ASHRE ventilation standards. Thank you.
I am a big Fan of the Flow.
I current own 3 Flow AQMs.
I use the Flow for outdoor/indoor AQM classroom education.
Should I purchase two more Flows so that I can participate in the “Five Flow Fleet Groups”?
What are the benefits, features and functions of the “Five Flow Fleet Groups”?
Hi Craig, the best way to get more info on the grouping your Flows together is to connect with the team on chat (link below) and they can answer all your questions. There is no minimum number of Flows to get started with the dashboard and other fleet tools.
The Flow sensor is a point sensor (as are all polution sensors) which has value when I want to know my current hyper-local polution level. The fact that it continues to require the server-based algorithms to provide accuracy reduces its value when I am off the network, yet that is when it would be most useful. Thus it sits around the house and tells me when we make stir-fry and when there is smoke in the air, neither of which requires a sensor more capable than my nose.