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Hardware Battlefield competitor Foobot wants to reduce pollution in your home

TechCrunch TechCrunch 21/06/2016 Samantha O'Keefe

The last we heard from AirBoxLab, the company was presenting an indoor air quality monitor called Alima in the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield at CES 2014. In the two years since that event, the company has rebranded the Alima as the Foobot, raised €2 million and shifted focus from simply monitoring air quality to improving it.

When Foobot released a direct to consumer product back in April 2015, it performed quite well, boasting a retention rate of 90 percent of its users after three months across the U.S. and Europe.

Today, the company is announcing some handy integrations that will help your smart home become a little smarter. The $199 Foobot works with Nest and IFTTT so your home’s ventilation can be regulated based on the indoor air quality.

Perhaps most interesting is Foobot’s integration with Amazon’s Alexa platform on the Echo, Tap and other devices. Alexa can provide indoor air quality readings whenever you ask, give you tips based on pollution sources and set rules between smart home devices connected to other Alexa-connected devices. For example, users will be able to ask Alexa to have the Foobot turn on the humidifier when humidity levels are under 35 percent, or cycle air through the air vents when you burn dinner… again.

Foobot recently partnered with the outdoor air quality data platform BreezoMeter to add information on outdoor pollutants to the Foobot platform. Now, Foobot users can see what’s happening both inside and outside their homes, and make adjustments accordingly.

Yet, the company sees the B2B and B2B2C markets as its biggest potential customer base.

This isn’t surprising. Despite having a huge impact on public health, indoor air is often overlooked by consumers, deemed as “nice to have.” Even slightly elevated levels of VOC, CO2, CO and particulate matter can cause fatigue, headaches and congestion. Businesses, on the other hand, have a lot to gain from improving the performance of their workforce.

To enable large-scale monitoring, Foobot has established partnerships with manufacturers to connect their appliances to Foobot’s cloud platform. Manufacturers also access Foobot’s data processing expertise to enhance their hardware performance. Foobot sees itself as “a game changer for the HVAC industry.” Founder Jacques Touillon explains, “We provide professionals with the analytic tools for the retrofit market and the automation tools for new products.”

And it all got started with the Hardware Battlefield at CES in 2014. Foobot CEO Jacques Touillon tells TechCrunch that participating in the first Hardware Battlefield was a really unique experience for the company. “Though it was the first run for both TC and us, this was the most intense competition we’ve ever made! The impact was tremendous, because we were part of the very first batch and got a lot of attention! This helped us emerge from the crowd and contribute to the hardware scene.”

We are still accepting Battlefield applications, so be sure to get your application in today!

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