Indoor workspaces are a threat as potential infection hotspots as we return to work in the coming weeks, said Phillip Dowds, the founder and director of OKTO.
“Dozens of the world’s top experts in how diseases spread have called for big improvements to the air in buildings and there is now a recognition by the WHO and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that coronavirus can spread through the air.”
Quality air is the first line of defence against the spread of Covid and other viruses, Dowds said. “Businesses are annually being hit with the costs associated with sick leave and loss of productivity due to poor air quality and ventilation systems, viruses, flu symptoms, asthma, chest infections etc.”
“A recent study in the journal Science compiled by 39 scientists from 14 countries has demanded universal recognition that infections can be prevented by improving air ventilation systems in buildings,” Dowds said. “Cleaner air won’t just fight the Covid pandemic, it will minimise the risk of catching flu and other respiratory infections that cost the US alone more than $50 billlion a year.”
Everyone should have a right to breathe clean air, Dowds said. “Ultra fine particles in the air are penetrating through our lungs and on into our blood stream and can cause all manner of health issues, including strokes, heart diseases and cancer. But the technology is available now to remove these particles providing an important overall wellness solution – not purely a Covid-specific product.”
Better, cleaner air has long been shown to have better health and wellbeing benefits, as people think better, while a commitment to employee health also contributes to employee satisfaction and better retention rates. “It is highly likely that we will see more and more government regulations around air quality standards as we move beyond the pandemic.”
Employers need to reassure employees of their safety as they return to work. “We have solutions that focus on natural and mechanical ventilation, mobile/portable and fitted room air cleaning and disinfecting filtration technologies, and tools to ensure air quality monitoring controls are in place.”
“OKTO is accelerating into the wellness technology arena,” Dowds said. The company provides a suite of smart and health-tech based technology products for buildings. Its OKTOair (Wellness) and OKTO Technologies offering incorporates a full suite of products for smart and healthy buildings, from air quality management/air filtration systems, security, lighting controls through to complete building management systems and audio visual technology.
Under its OKTOair brand, products delivered include Air Quality Management with one of the world’s most effective air cleaner/filtration systems, Human Centric Lighting Control, Window Shading Solutions, Touchless Control, Social Distancing Management.
There are different options available depending on the environment, from the most basic simple portable unit plugged into the corner of a room to a more advanced filtration system that is linked to a well designed ventilation system. Smart intelligent-based software and custom manufacture processes also form a critical part of the overall OKTO offering when delivering for customers.
OKTO is a Northern Ireland family business founded by Philip Dowds and specialising in delivery of smart building management systems for over 29 years. “We are passionate about making people’s lives better by creating smart, safe and healthy living and working spaces through OKTO technology.”
“The launch of our OKTOair suite of products was fast-tracked because of Covid-19 and the need to create controlled, safe and healthy spaces that reassure people, helping in the return to work, schools and other social and hospitality venues in particular. Our air cleaning solutions are scalable and designed for spaces from 500 sq ft right up to one million sq ft.”
Independent testing on OKTO’s Disinfecting Filtration System, powered and patented by HealthWay, a leader in air filtration technologies, has proven to remove a proxy virus for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) from the air with 99.8 per cent elimination within ten minutes and 100 per cent in 45 minutes.
“Based on technology initially developed for the US military, OKTO is the only company in the UK and Ireland certified to design, develop and implement the HealthWay DFS system. The system exceeds requirements around the European Standard EN1822 and has Zero Ozone Emission Certification.
“The system is recognised as one of the world’s most effective air filtration systems with HealthWay recently confirming orders of over 1.3 million units to date. At OKTO, we have just received a delivery of 150 units to our HQ store in Northern Ireland.”
OKTO is a member of the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), committed to enhancing buildings and communities to help people thrive, and focused exclusively on how spaces around us can make us healthier, happier and more productive.
There are sustainable benefits to the technology too. “One of the studies we did on a building in Canary Wharf in London where they put our technology in, saw them save more than £200,000 a year on their energy costs.”
“We are excited to now open our Dublin office this summer to directly service the needs of the local market,” he said.