An alliance between Three Ireland and Dublin-based healthcare technology company Novaerus is set to bring benefits to millions of respiratory illness sufferers around the world. The Novaerus air purification technology is already in use in hundreds of elder-care facilities in the US and other healthcare settings around the world but its benefits are set to be significantly enhanced through the addition of internet of things (IoT) capability.
"We are an Irish company based in Blackrock in Dublin with a research facility in DCU," says Novaerus EMEA regional director Kieran McBrien. "We have developed technology for highly efficient, low-cost, low-impact sterilisation and purification of air. All spores and organic material in the air is taken out. It's a plasma-based technology. The unit creates an electro-magnetic field which turns the air passing through it into plasma and that destroys all the impurities. We are selling to 30 countries worldwide and we have a lot of customers in the healthcare sector."
The technology offers protection against viruses, bacteria, and mould in the air. It completely inactivates pathogens on contact and destroys even the most harmful contaminants such as MRSA, clostridium difficile, norovirus, and flu.
“Our devices work 24 hours a day constantly cleaning air and reducing exposure to pathogens,” says McBrien. “It is in use in care homes, in hospitals, in intensive care units, operating theatres, geriatric and oncology wards. There are all kinds of interesting applications for it such as schools, food production facilities, creches, kindergartens, hotels, restaurants. Any place where hygiene is at a premium.”
A very interesting potential use is in plant growth. “It can be used in small areas to increase plant yields,” he says. “It’s just a question of adapting the technology. If you have eight cycles of plant propagation a year, you could get 8.5 or 9 using our air purification system. That’s very significant.”
The partnership with Three Ireland will see sensors and IoT technology being added to the devices. “We want to create a feedback loop,” says McBrien. “The sensors will analyse the air content and send the data back through a router and a Three SIM card. An app will constantly monitor air quality in rooms and trigger alarms if it goes over certain values. In a hospital it will alert a head nurse if there is a problem and the machine will process air quicker once a problem starts.”
"For us, Novaerus is an ideal customer and partner," says Sean Doherty, head of enterprise, public sector and IoT at Three. "We have been in the IoT space for a long time and the Cisco Jasper technology which we offer customers is a very open-ended platform which gives full visibility of data usage and device operation."
The Cisco Jasper solution gives users a consolidated view of all the devices they have out in the field. It lets them see which ones are active or inactive, what resources they are using and so on. They are able to switch them on and off remotely and can apply rules to them to manage costs.
The partnership goes beyond the Cisco Jasper solution, however. “We like to help companies with their business model in the IoT space as well,” says Doherty. “We have seen customers move from a capex to an opex model.”
In other words, they are shifting from product to service sales. “Very often when you sell a piece of equipment you never hear from the customer again,” he explains. “If you convert to a service model and a monthly charge you have a much better way of staying connected with customers. That brings opportunities for additional sales. Charging models are also facilitated by the mobile internet. One of the things we bring to the table is that we know how to bill customers. Three is going down a fully digital road at the moment and this will enable our channel partners to become part of our supply chain.” This will enable Novaerus customers pay for the service in much the same way as people currently pay for Spotify or other premium services as part of their monthly mobile bill.
He sees a bright future for Novaerus. “There is no reason why the sensors on the devices can’t incorporate different functionality such as the measurement of oxygen levels in the air for example. This can be connected back to Jasper platform which will enable the analysis of air quality data from around the world. There is an insatiable appetite for data out there and Novaerus is in a very good position to meet it.”