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Toxic Air: The Importance Of Air Quality For Our Health...

A new report from the British Lung Foundation (BLF) and Asthma UK says that about six million people aged over 65 in England are at high risk of health issues such as lung damage and asthma attacks. The culprit? Toxic air. The report finds that older people, those with lung disease, and the most vulnerable to the effects of pollution are often the most exposed to toxic air. Air quality is an area that we’re particularly passionate here at Vindico. It’s also the reason why we created our Think Air initiative. Led by our Head of R&D, Paul Lewis, Think Air is helping to provide a more accurate picture of  background air pollution levels. This, in turn, helps make local air pollution-reducing initiatives more achievable. “This latest report on toxic air is further evidence of the impacts of particulates on the health of more vulnerable people in society,” says Paul Lewis. “It reinforces the need to revise PM2.5 limit values and targets as soon as possible. It’s alarming when you see the figures for care homes, GP practices, and hospitals. The potential exposure of the elderly and patients to PM2.5 levels above the limits recommended by the WHO is also alarming. “I echo Professor Alistair Lewis’ comments. The PM2.5 that we breathe might often come from many miles away. This is one reason why we can’t rely solely on modelled data. There needs to be widespread monitoring of this pollutant to get a full understanding of where it comes from and the harm it causes.” And that’s exactly what we’re hoping to achieve with Think Air. It’s already on track to being the largest live Air Quality sensor network in Wales. We’ve also started to expand to counties across the border in England, too. Think Air is changing the way we measure, monitor, raise awareness of air quality. It’s also driving positive change, which, in the wake of this new report exposing the impact of toxic air on our health, it’s more essential than ever.   You can find out more about Think Air and our commitment to better

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SWAPP Lite: The App Helping The Six Nations Safely Return To Wales...

Following a successful rollout at the Autumn Internationals, the Welsh Rugby Union are using our SWAPP Lite app to keep their teams and staff safe during this year’s Six Nations. SWAPP Lite (which stands for Safe Workplace APPlication) is a unique app. It’s been developed to meet the strict COVID-19 safety guidelines of both the WRU and the Welsh Government. How? Well, SWAPP Lite allows the WRU to track and trace at home games. The app also has an added permit module that allows teams, staff, broadcasters, and contractors to register in advance. This lets them confirm that they’re safe to attend each event. This is the second time the WRU will be using SWAPP Lite. It follows a successful performance during the Autumn Internationals at Parc Y scarlets. Read more about the initial rollout here. “With people travelling from all over the country to make the Six Nations happen, the Welsh Rugby Union’s focus is to deliver the best possible event with the safest possible working environment. And that’s why they came to us,”  says Vindico MD, Jo Polson. “It’s brilliant to continue our work with the WRU and build on what we delivered for the Autumn Internationals at Parc y Scarlets. “Even with games being played behind closed doors, there is still a huge responsibility to keep teams, staff, contractors, and broadcasters safe. “Bringing SWAPP Lite to the Principality Stadium and Cardiff Arms Park means we yet again get to help sport take place safely in Wales. “There is definitely more to come from our SWAPP Lite app in the coming months. We have created a really simple tool with huge scope that can just as easily be used to help our kids get back to school – something I know my Wife would like very much!” And the WRU aren’t the only sports organisation rolling out the SWAPP Lite app. Following the recent success of the app, both the Llanelli Scarlets and Cardiff Blues will adopt the SWAPP Lite app for their home games at Parc Y Scarlets and the Arms Park. But how did it come about? Good question. Swapp Lite is a bespoke version of our SWAPP app, which was originally created for Transport For Wales. The app is tailored to each unique scenario to provide a safe way to control access to venues and workplaces. Aside from a handy QR code scanner, valuable track and trace, and pre-registration features, the app also monitors standards and accreditations. This, in turn, makes sure that all members of staff are up-to-date and meet current required guidelines. Could your team, organisation or workplace benefit from SWAPP Lite? To find out more about SWAPP – and how it can help your business or event meet the latest Government or industry safety criteria – drop us a

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The Impact of Air Pollution on Eye Health (And Why Think Air Has Never Been So Important)...

A large UK study has linked air pollution to eye health – and a higher risk of irreversible sight loss. Yes, you read that right. The study shows that even small rises in pollution can increase the risk of irreversible sight loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We already know that poor air quality has a negative impact on almost every organ in the body. But this study is the first to dive into the impact of air pollution on eye health. As our head of R&D – and professor emeritus – Paul Lewis puts it: “In terms of its impact on health, air pollution is traditionally associated with respiratory and heart conditions. It’s also known to shorten the life of some people with these conditions. “But this new study shows that air pollution – especially fine particles like PM2.5 – can impact our health and wellbeing in ways perhaps we as scientists wouldn’t have believed a few years ago.” The air pollution problem is real. Both the World Health Organisation and the UK Government tout air pollution as the largest environmental health risk we face today. Air pollution causes as many as 24,000 premature deaths each year in the UK. Poor air quality is also linked to heart and lung disease, low birth weight, and children’s lung development. There’s also increasing evidence to suggest that poor air quality also contributes to mental health issues and overall wellbeing. “The impact is not just physical,” says Paul. “There is growing evidence pointing to the negative effects of air pollution on our mental wellbeing. “This highlights the importance of having real data available everywhere. But this can only be achieved by having more low-cost air quality monitors across the country.” And this is what we’re hoping to achieve with Think Air. Our very own air quality sensor network is a literal breath of fresh air. It’s already live across many parts of Wales. It’s also on track to being the largest live air sensor network in the country. As evidence continues to reveal the negative impacts of air pollution on our health and wellbeing, Think Air has never been so important. You can find out more about Think Air and our commitment to better air

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A Look Back At 2020: And Plenty of #ThinkPurple Innovation...

More than just lockdowns, Zoom meetings and face masks – 2020 was full of #ThinkPurple innovation for us at Vindico. 2020 was a tough year for so many businesses. We could never have imagined that COVID would impact on the corporate landscape in the way it has. But in times of change, innovation thrives. And #ThinkPurple innovation is what we do best. Our team of Purple Vinjas have quickly became the go-to problem-solvers for businesses looking to adapt and evolve – especially during challenging times. It’s no surprise then that we’ve been extra busy since COVID-19 hit. Here’s just a snapshot of what our #ThinkPurple innovation mavens accomplished in 2020: We created the new Llanelli Scarlets website – complete with bespoke game analysis software. We put Gaia Group UK’s smart distribution IOT idea through our incubator. The result is a product that helps over a dozen construction sites save over 50% diesel usage. We produced an online visualisation tool for the University of Wales Trinity St David. It assesses after-care programmes for cancer patients, and flags signs of depression and anxiety. We helped Techniquest adapt to the pandemic with the help of a Digital Outreach platform. This lets them deliver classes and experiments straight into classrooms during socially restricted times. We created SWAPP (Safe Workplace APPlication). Our very own sign in/out system with an accreditation and concern reporting tool optimises the safety of staff, contractors and visitors. It will be rolled out across Transport for Wales’ depots – and every train station in Wales – by 2021. We worked with the Welsh Rugby Union to develop SWAPP Lite. This tailored version of our original SWAPP app allowed the WRU to safely continue with their Autumn Internationals rugby tournament behind closed doors. We further developed our Think Air initiative. Our low-cost sensor and software platform not only raises awareness and understanding of air quality, but it’s also helping to drive behavioural change. It’s now on track to become the largest live air quality network in Wales. Read more about Think Air’s progress here. We also got Shortlisted for TWO business awards for our tech and innovation (or, as we like to call it, “Thinking Purple”) successes. We moved back home to Parc Y Scarlets. The Llanelli stadium our home from 2014 until 2018 – when we had to admit that we’d outgrown our office space. So, when we heard that larger office space was available, we jumped at the chance to return. It’s such a great location that we even persuaded our partners, K Sharp, to along with us. Read all about our move here. We also roped Paul Lewis – Vindico’s Head of R&D and Professor Emeritus at Swansea University – to join us full time. As for 2021? More Thinking Purple for us at Vindico, of

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Clean Air Day 2020 – and how we’re paving the way...

This air pollution awareness campaign focuses on an area that’s close to home for us at Vindico. Here’s why…    Air quality. It sounds like a topic that’s reserved for the smoggy cities of Central America, congested Asian capitals and the bushfire zones of Australia. But it impacts on us all here in Wales every single day. It sounds far-fetched, but the stats are real.  Clean Air Day (link) aims to raise our awareness of the harmful effects of pollution – and how air quality impacts on our everyday lives. As the developers behind Think Air , it’s a subject that’s close to home for us. You may be surprised to know that air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK each year.  It’s also responsible for as many as 24,000 premature deaths each year. In fact, both the World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. Poor air quality causes heart and lung diseases, it’s linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development , and may even contribute to mental health issues and wellbeing. Our Think Air project is something we’re really proud of, and we love any opportunity to shout about it. Here’s how our MD, Jo Polson, sums it up: “This project has been a source of inspiration for us. “The more we learned about the effects of poor air quality, the more we knew we wanted to use our skills to promote understanding and drive change. “We were tasked with making the latest air quality technology accessible, affordable and easy to understand, so we’ve spent two years developing the unique sensors and software platform behind Think Air.  “We’re now on track to having the largest live air quality network in Wales by the end of 2020 – so raising awareness of this topic is a breath of fresh air for us.” Want to hear more about our innovative air quality sensors – and how they’re leading the way in Wales? Listen to our MD Jo Polson and Professor Paul Lewis reveal how air quality impacts on human performance on this week’s episode of the 1202 – The Human Factors Podcast. Click here to listen Side note: There’s a great reason why the podcast is called 1202 – and it’s well

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Zokit

Twice as nice: Vindico’s been shortlisted for two awards...

Our #ThinkPurple approach to tech and innovation has landed us on the shortlist for two awards this week. There’s never a dull moment in the tech industry – and this week’s been no exception. Not only have our Purple Vinjas been busy Vinja-ing away on some exciting (top secret, for now) projects, but we’ve kickstarted the week by making not one, but TWO award shortlists. First up – we’re excited to reveal that we’re finalists for Innovation Business of the Year at this year’s Cardiff Business Awards (link). As a business at the forefront of tech and innovation in Wales, we’ve always focused our efforts on being the best in our field. So much so, that it’s left us no room, until now, to shout about the national changes we’ve been driving – so this shortlist means a lot to us. It gives amazing recognition to the partnerships, projects and client collaborations we’ve been a part of – and we hope it will help us raise the profile of the exciting work we have in the pipeline, too. Click here to see our recent #ThinkPurple projects. The Cardiff Business Awards – which celebrates the Welsh Capitals’ best businesses – takes place virtually this year on Friday 13th November (yes, Friday the 13th – we thought the same). And as if that’s not exciting enough, we’re also finalists at this year’s Business Evolution Awards (link). This event recognises and celebrates the best and newest business thinking and practice from across the world – and it’s for businesses and organisations who are delivering remarkable results. The awards presentation takes place online on Wednesday 14th October 2020 as part of the Zokit Biz

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