Drayson Technologies delivers groundbreaking green IoT technology using Google Cloud Platform
Drayson Technologies needed a platform to store substantial amounts of data and perform calculations for its green Internet of Things (IoT) Freevolt technology, and for its air pollution sensor platform, CleanSpace. Freevolt technology harvests radio frequency (RF) signals to provide electricity for low-energy IoT devices. The company choose Google Cloud Platform because it can quickly scale to store data from the company’s growing international network of users, in compliance with data protection laws, and handle the complex queries and calculations needed to power both services.
Harvesting RF data for a cleaner world
London-based Drayson Technologies, a pioneer in the intersection between green technology, IoT and wireless technologies, set out to revolutionize the way low-energy IoT devices are powered. To do that, it developed Freevolt, which harvests ambient RF from the signals around us such as mobile, Wi-Fi and TV, and uses that energy to trickle charge low-energy IoT devices, eliminating the need for cable charging or changing batteries.
After launching Freevolt, Drayson Technologies developed CleanSpace, a portable personal air-pollution sensor. CleanSpace is powered by Freevolt, and works in concert with iOS and Android apps to show people the pollution levels around them throughout the day, and tracks and gives them rewards for staying active.
“CleanSpace is aimed at tackling pollution on a personal level,” says Manuel Pinuela, chief technology officer at Drayson Technologies. “We create heat maps that display the levels of pollution through which you walk and let you know what your exposure has been on your journey.”
Performing electromagnetic simulations and crunching pollution data
Drayson Technologies turned to Google Compute Engine for computational power to perform electromagnetic simulations, so the company could develop Freevolt. With Compute Engine, simulations that previously took eight hours now take 14 minutes.
“We would have had to buy far too much equipment if we had to perform those calculations using our own hardware,” Pinuela says. “We were performing simulations for 10 hours straight. We simply couldn’t afford losing precious design time.”
Compute Engine and Google Cloud Storage also play an important role in the development and use of CleanSpace.
“We are gathering pollution information from air-quality stations all over the world, as well as sensor information about pollution from people using CleanSpace devices,” Pinuela says. “Google Cloud Storage and Google App Engine let us scale quickly as we release apps and sensors in new countries and markets and need to process the growing amounts of data, while also giving us control over where that data is stored.”
Using that data, Compute Engine performs complex calculations in real time to create individual maps that show people the pollution in their immediate area — in essence, pollution heat maps and personal air quality exposure data.
GCP powers the analytics for pollution research
Three months after CleanSpace launched, it had more than 2 million individual pollution readings from customers, and the data continues to pile up at a rate of 600,000 per month, and increasing. Drayson Technologies mines this invaluable data to yield important information about pollution patterns, including the correlation between exposure to air pollutants and different health conditions, and the link between indoor air pollution and poor health.
Drayson Technologies partners with research institutions such as King's College in London for pollution research and uses Google App Engine and Compute Engine to analyze the data. It combines models created by King's College with its own models to analyze data gleaned from CleanSpace devices. Based on that data, it uses BigQuery to determine individual's exposure to pollution.
Pinuela says GCP’s scalability and processing capabilities are key to helping Drayson Technologies develop Freevolt and CleanSpace, powering sensors and ultimately fight pollution.
“Google Cloud Platform gives us the tools to pursue one of our central focuses as a company, to use our data to gain insight into health and environmental problems and to provide solutions,” he says. “It also helps us use our resources more effectively because we don’t have to hire people to manage infrastructure operations on a day-to-day basis. That frees the team and me to focus on our core technologies.”