Technology, regulation and progress drive winds of change at A&WMA Annual Conference

Traffic delays caused by a construction project in Ontario – ironically, one that Aeroqual is involved with – and some overzealous sight-seeing at Niagara Falls, meant we missed our flight to Quebec City for the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) Annual Conference & Exhibition (ACE). It was a timely reminder that progress waits for nobody -even when you have a plane to catch.

Missing our flight due to the traffic delays is a good metaphor for how progress, and the winds of change that are sweeping our industry, won’t wait or be controlled by any one person, Government or entity. It’s a combination of events and circumstances dramatically changing the landscape of the air monitoring world.

Our job as an industry is to use information, communication and technology to navigate the changes as best we can. Listening to the presentations, and conversations in the exhibit hall among the delegates at A&WMA’s conference, three key disruptors stood out as having a clear, tangible impact on our industry.

Niagara Falls
Selfie time for Paul and Drew at Niagara Falls
Jason caught ACE
Jason snapped at our A&WMA ACE booth chatting to air quality consultants from South America

Increasing Regulation

In the United States and Canada, especially the larger cities, like Toronto, Calgary and Montreal, the demand for regulation is driven by local communities. Locals are supported by contractors, consultants, and developers that want to be known as those who ‘go above the regulatory requirements’, or who impose monitoring where none existed. Sustainability and community participation are a social pressure as well as a competitive edge for many.

There is specific interest in fenceline monitoring near communities to confirm concentrations projected by dispersion models. This requires near-reference quality data, delivered remotely with the ability to validate it quickly. The data needs to be defensible and be able to stand the test of not just regulation, but also public relations and insurance requirements for reducing liability and risk.

In a nutshell, the public and regulators alike want good quality data readily and regularly.

The pressures of progress

Key infrastructure projects, such as light rail construction in both Toronto and Montreal, shine a light on growing pressure from customers of the air quality monitoring industry.

There is expectation that the construction of a sustainable transport alternative, like light rail, will not be heavy handed on the environment. Unsustainable construction contradicts the purpose of sustainable infrastructure. It’s important that such constructions have the proper monitoring in place to make sure that the finished product, developer’s profits, community and environmental all emerge healthy when the dust settles.

In a nutshell, the future is sustainable, but it must be constructed sustainably too, and we need accurate data to maintain the standard and prove that we are maintaining that standard.

Aeroqual AQS1
Aeroqual's AQS 1 air quality monitor

Technology

Feedback from the industry is there is a definite need for an all-in-one air testing device, as opposed to the cobbled-together box of components that many consultants have had to resort to using in the past.

Two evident demands for change were a desire to integrate previously-fragmented measurements into a single platform, and to see that coupled with a software solution that decreases time managing data, as well as provides additional ways to validate that in real time. For example, the sensor-based air monitoring solutions from Aeroqual, such as the AQS 1, take the cost and hassle out of air monitoring projects by providing one such integrated solution.

It takes time and money to, for instance, assemble a weatherproof box that contains a weather station, a photo ionisation detector and modem. Then there’s the matter of trying to collate all the data into some semblance of a report-ready spreadsheet– it’s hugely time-consuming, laborious and expensive.

The demand for quick, accurate data — due to growing public awareness — is only going to increase.

How can we help?

Aeroqual has created solutions that produce high-quality data quickly, efficiently, and in real-time for the air quality industry. In so doing, the company is pushing the boundaries to provide low-cost technology without compromising the ability to generate the best quality data for users.