Gamification works and IoT Air Quality Monitors need it

Long story short gamification works and should be adopted by IoT Air Quality Monitor and their Air Quality apps in order to achieve a behavior change.

What is gamification?

Gamification is adding game mechanics into non-game environments, like a website, a fitness app, or air quality apps to increase participation. The goal of gamification is to engage with users to inspire, collaborate, share, and interact.

Let’s take as an example Apple’s fitness app, those who wear an Apple Watch they know what I am talking about. Each month the application engages users by offering them a digital award, as a result, last month I had to burn actively 19.300 calories in order to win a shine yellow badge. On special days the app encourages you to complete a specific workout to win a special award like for the World Environment Day or Earth’s Day.

gamification apple fitness.jpg

Duolingo offers a similar gamification function but for language learning. Each time you answer correctly you get points and you can use those points to buy perks inside the app. (Yes, I am tries to learn Chinese!)

duolingo app gamification.jpg

Among all the gamification apps that I used (and I have used a lot of them because I am a tech-savvy guy) by far, Apple has nailed it with their Fitness app. Simple because it helps you to build goals and accomplish them. Another key element is the fact that they don’ try to extract money from you as other apps do through gamification.

At the beginning of the article, I’ve mentioned that a gamification mechanism in an app can help us change behavior, this is because of various psychological mechanisms and hormone production.

  1. It can give us a sense of control as we take the decision to get the award.
  2. It reinforces good behavior and only good behavior because the app environment is designed specifically for that purpose.
  3. It gives us a sense of achievement each time we earn an award, as a result, we feel accomplished.
  4. Many times it makes us compete with ourselves and improve over time.
  5. Many times it helps us compete with others which can make us even better.
  6. We love rewards because they give us dopamine, a hormone responsible for keeping us exciting and wanting to come back.

Business Case for the Air Quality apps

IPHONE MOCKUP Gamification air quality
Mockup Air Quality Monitor app

Above I have designed a mockup app from an air quality monitor, which will motivate the users to keep air quality indoors as good as possible in order to achieve a star at the end of the day/week/month, but most importantly they will stay healthy.

The logic is simple, every day, users will have to get a certain amount of points (for example, 50 points) in order to get a star for that day. Hourly mean values of the AQI will give an amount of points, for example, 50 points for AQI 100, 45 points for AQI 90, 40 points for AQI 80, 35 points for AQI 70, and so on…

If we go back to the Today’s view/Activity (phone in the middle), we can see that the app informs users about air quality incidents, that way, the user can adjust the indoor environment in order to achieve as many points as possible. At the end, of the day, the app can notify the users about how many points they need to complete a successful AQ day (image below).

There is an option to compete with other users too, and the winner gets more stars and extra motivation to keep the air clean (phone on the right).

Companies that sell air quality monitors and air purifiers (or AQMs that support HomeKit/IFTTT/Google Home services) could benefit more as the air quality monitor can communicate directly with the air purifier and can keep the air clean all day long, and customers can see the results in the Award section.

iphonex_mockup aq gemification


I strongly believe that the investment in such service (freemium) can bring a lot of customers to a company’s ecosystem, keeping users motivated and happy about the purchase they have made, and recommending it to others to compete.


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