Breathing Easy: Behind the Office Air Quality Dashboard

Meet Michał and Daria, the dynamic duo behind a project to enhance office air quality monitoring using IoT technology.

At dyvenia, we believe in investing in personal development. Every week, each employee gets 4 hours to dedicate to growth, whether a course, a book, or a side project. It's our way of fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Michał Winiarski (Junior Data Engineer) and Daria Zarębska (Data Apprentice) recently put their personal development hours to good use. They teamed up to enhance office air quality with IoT tech. This project proves that when given the space to innovate, our team turns great ideas into reality.

Curious to learn more? Dive into an interview with Daria and Michał as they share the background, inspiration, technology, challenges, and more of their remarkable project!

Insights from Michał and Daria

Wiktoria: Let's dive into the starting point of any project: the IDEA. What inspired you to kick off this project?

Michał: Well, the idea struck me after reading an article about how poor air quality can lead to a loss of concentration and feelings of drowsiness at work. I wanted to make a positive impact on our shared workspace by creating a system to monitor air quality. Plus, it seemed like a fascinating opportunity to develop a proof of concept by merging our company library, Viadot, with an IoT solution. I shared these thoughts with my colleagues, and luckily, Daria was keen to jump on board.

Wiktoria: So, let's talk about how you guys divided the workload during the project development. Did you each take on specific areas?

Michał: Yes, I delved into the technical aspects, integrating sensors into the IoT system. Meanwhile, Daria, with her background in UX design, took the lead in creating a Power BI dashboard.

Wiktoria: Can you tell us more about the specifics of the sensors and technologies you used?

Michał: The project's core is the ESP32 microcontroller powered by MicroPython. I used a BME280 sensor for temperature and humidity, and SGP30 to measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and equivalent carbon dioxide (eCO2) levels – essential for evaluating indoor air quality.

Wiktoria: Now, let's explore the details of the dashboard. Could you walk us through its key features?

Daria: Absolutely! On the main page, you'll find all the crucial information, with today's data divided into hours. The sensors provide updated results every 5 minutes, showcasing readings of four key indicators: CO2, TVOC, temperature, and humidity. CO2 and TVOC are depicted in one chart, while temperature and humidity have their separate chart. Despite having unique units, comparing them allows us to discern correlations. In the 'CO2 vs TVOC' section, you can gauge the scale of TVOC and its implications. In essence, these indicators represent compounds that can potentially harm humans, including those emitted by the building, but their concentration may increase, for example, when cleaning the office space. It's still a work in progress, with new ideas coming to me every day. 

Wiktoria: Clarifying the dashboard updates – every 5 minutes, right? Is it an automated process?

Michał: Indeed, the measurements happen every minute, and the automated script updates the SQL table with new data every 5 minutes.

Wiktoria: Daria, with your UX design background, can you share your strategy behind designing the dashboard?

Daria: The dashboard was crafted based on dyvenia's identity, incorporating the recognizable jellyfish photo and a predominantly purple color, though I leaned heavily on various shades of blue. My aim was to infuse an elegant and business-oriented vibe with a touch of fresh design. Simplicity in understanding and navigation was key. The visual effects take center stage against the dark background, making them the standout and most intriguing elements of the project.

Wiktoria: Any challenges during the project? How did you overcome them?

Daria: As a data apprentice, I'm constantly learning new things. This project was my first dive into Power BI, but I was excited to apply my UI/UX skills. Fortunately, Power BI's interface turned out to be quite intuitive, and I had no trouble finding all the information I needed.

Wiktoria: What's the plan for the insights gathered from the project?

Daria: The main idea behind this project is to enhance the workspace and help everyone feel better in the office. Personally, I'm quite mindful of air quality due to my allergies, and it's comforting to know that the environment I spend most of my time in maintains a high standard. 

Wiktoria: What are the future plans for the project?

Michał: I have a vision to integrate the air quality sensor with the office air fan system for dynamic indoor air quality maintenance. By connecting IoT sensor data to the fan system, we can make real-time adjustments based on air quality readings, creating a healthier and more comfortable environment.

Daria: In the future, I'd like to delve into measuring the correlations among all four indicators and understanding how temperature changes could impact air conditions. I would like to see how we could avoid high-risk rates. I'm really looking forward to exploring all the ideas Michał has; it's fantastic to work with someone so passionate about the topic.

Wiktoria: Big thanks to both of you for sharing your expertise and passion. I'm lucky to have such inspiring people around, and I can't wait to see what other exciting projects you come up with in the future. 

Michał & Daria: Thanks!

Wiktoria is a Communication & Marketing Specialist at dyvenia with extensive experience in social media, content creation, copywriting, design, and research. Her degree in Management and professional NGO background has provided her with a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of business and developed a strong focus on people’s needs. Wiktoria’s hidden agenda is to make social media a better place to grow.
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