Blueair Builds a Scalable IoT System for Connected Air Purifiers on AWS
To achieve the global scalability necessary to support a growing number of connected devices around the world, Blueair rapidly developed and deployed its HealthProtect product line using an IoT system on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Building on AWS enables enhanced security and privacy for Blueair’s customers and supports releases of new and upgraded features so that every air purifier continues to deliver value throughout its life span. “Freedom to breathe clean, healthy air as nature intended is our promise to consumers,” says Johan Alvenberg, IoT program lead at Blueair. “By proactively monitoring the air quality and ensuring 24/7 protection against harmful pollutants, we are doing just that. For the tech savvy, we have also added smart, premium usability and functions.”
By changing our technology foundation on AWS, we can focus on the value added, deliver features quickly, and drive the connected experience as a market leader.”
Global Head of IT, Blueair
Building a Smarter Air Purifier
Blueair was founded in 1996 in Sweden, with the purpose of improving access to clean air while minimizing its products’ impact on the environment. The company was acquired by Unilever in 2016. Today its air purifiers are used by governments, homes, and offices in over 60 countries around the world. In 2015, Blueair launched the world’s first connected air purifier. The company soon realized that to speed up its development timeline and achieve a return on investment, it needed to build directly on AWS. In 2019, the company did just that, reimagining its patented air purifier—which boasts one of the highest clean air delivery rates in the industry—as a connected device with accurate filter tracking, app-enabled features, and voice control with smart device compatibility. “By changing our technology foundation on AWS, we can focus on the value added, deliver features quickly, and drive the connected experience as a market leader by adopting new technologies, finding new partnerships, and engaging with our consumers in new ways,” says Anders Overgaard, global head of IT at Blueair.
Using AWS for the HealthProtect product line was a natural choice for Blueair. The company’s IT team had used AWS when it connected its latest line of air purifiers on AWS IoT Core—a managed cloud service that supports billions of devices without the need to provision or manage servers. Blueair’s parent company, Unilever, had also built on AWS. And AWS has a global footprint that enabled Blueair’s goals of international growth. All these factors made using AWS ideal. Finally, the wide range of solutions offered by AWS could help Blueair achieve its high-level goals without having to manage services in-house, thereby freeing up the company to focus on new features and functions.
Centralizing Device Management on AWS IoT Core
To engage with their home devices, customers use the Blueair app, which communicates with Blueair’s IoT platform using Amazon API Gateway—a fully managed service that enables developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs. The Blueair app communicates with the device itself by way of the AWS IoT Device Shadow service. This service maintains a virtual clone of the device in the cloud, the state of which can be read or modified at any time—even when an air purifier is turned off—and synchronizes with the real-world device when connected. This is critical for supporting the HealthProtect air purifier’s GermShield function, which detects germ-prone environments and kills bacteria and viruses, even when the device is on standby.
For its computing needs, Blueair uses AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service that enables developers to run code without provisioning or managing servers. Finally, it securely stores data, including air-quality information, on Amazon DynamoDB, a serverless NoSQL database. The security features built into all AWS services enable secure communication among devices, Blueair’s mobile app, and AWS. Maintaining high standards for protecting customer privacy has never been simpler for Blueair.
From a technical perspective, implementation was relatively straightforward because of Blueair’s existing familiarity with the services offered by AWS. But coordinating with teams around the globe—including manufacturers in China, cloud developers in India, and Blueair’s innovation hub in Sweden—to add various subsystems made the process more complex. By using AWS Professional Services, Blueair could keep work streams flowing and manage all moving parts. “The AWS Professional Services team helped us follow AWS best practices for our system maturity, deliverables, designs, and implementations,” says Alvenberg. “It more or less functioned like an AWS advisory forum and helped us quickly make a deliverable without compromising security and compliance.”
Once architecture and business requirements were clear, Blueair was able to bring HealthProtect air purifiers from development to initial sales to customers’ homes in less than 1 year. Since the turnaround time for new products was previously greater than 1 year, the company achieved a shorter timeline. Blueair’s service also enables continuous innovation without service disruption to its customers.
Planning for Cleaner Air on a Global Scale
Blueair also plans to use artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities on AWS to unlock new, innovative potential. “We’ve always been a premium brand,” says Alvenberg. “On AWS, we can deliver premium digitally connected experiences as well.”
Benefits of AWS
- Brought connected air purifiers to market in less than 1 year, from development to sales
- Achieved ability to scale sustainably
- Enhanced customer data security
- Implemented new features continuously
- Enabled product updates and feature releases without service disruption
AWS Services Used
AWS IoT Core
AWS IoT Core lets you connect IoT devices to the AWS cloud without the need to provision or manage servers. AWS IoT Core can support billions of devices and trillions of messages, and can process and route those messages to AWS endpoints and to other devices reliably and securely.
Amazon API Gateway
Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale. APIs act as the "front door" for applications to access data, business logic, or functionality from your backend services.
AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.
Amazon DynamoDB is a key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale. It's a fully managed, multi-region, multi-active, durable database with built-in security, backup and restore, and in-memory caching for internet-scale applications.