Hypanel won the EUvsVirus hackathon New and Resilient Business Models challenge. https://www.euvsvirus.org/results/
Currently, in many countries, most restaurants, bars and cafes are closed to comply with national restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Even where opening restaurants is not explicitly restricted by the governments, most of the restaurants cannot efficiently comply with social distancing rules (1-2 meters between two visitors, depending on the country) due to their layout and capacity.
The situation is most painful for small establishments, which are typically run by individual entrepreneurs and may have six tables or less. The impact is certainly also felt by bigger restaurants and chains as a decrease in capacity and revenue due to social distancing. To comply with the social distancing requirements, restaurants would have to remove tables and thus decrease their revenues by 38-65 %.
It is likely that social distancing becomes the new norm to prevent another wave of Covid-19 or another epidemic. Many cafes and restaurants, even if they survive the lockdown period, will have to close their doors because they will not be able to accommodate the required social distancing within their layout in a sustainable way. In addition, many customers will be hesitant to gather in shared and crowded spaces to avoid infections.
The implications of social distancing and reduced customer trust on this major sector - and thus on the European economy and employment - will be drastic.
Our solution will allow restaurants to replace the social distancing requirements by leasing or selling air purifying Hypanels. Instead of reducing to 38-65% capacity, restaurants will be able to operate at 90-100% capacity compared to their pre-crisis situation.
Our solution is Hypanel - a transparent partitioning panel installed between restaurant tables to prevent spread of aerosol particles. In addition to the partitioning panel, Hypanel sterilizes the air with HEPA filters and UVC light and releases clean air without disturbance:
- It efficiently isolates the space between tables.
- The panel is equipped with an air-purifying pillar which includes a HEPA filter and an encased UVC light channel for air sterilization. The UVC light is safely concealed which causes no harm.
The necessary components are readily available to produce and procure within the EU. Hypanels are easy to assemble and install. They do not bring any additional hazards to restaurants because of their inherently safe design and simple plug-and-operate mode.
Based on our business model, keeping the prices affordable, and being self-sustainable within six months, our monthly subscription price to the restaurants would be around 200 € per panel. Considering the increase in capacity, and the costs associated with the panel, a typical restaurant would benefit from the solution with nearly 7 000 € per month as regained revenue. Considering only Haarlem and neighboring towns with 250 restaurants, Hypanel application saves around 10 million € in revenues in eight months, which would be otherwise lost due to social distancing restrictions.
During the hackathon, we developed the idea and prepared technical drawings and specifications ready for prototyping. We have also prepared an initial business plan, pricing model and roadmap with next steps for when the project is launched. We were happy to consult several experienced mentors and incorporate their feedback in our solution.
Our solution was chosen to be the winning in the New and Resilient Business Models category. As an award, we receive a 5 000 € grant from Santander. This grant is used to build Hypanel prototypes.
Since the hackathon & next steps
Since the hackathon:
We have found a construction partner who is helping us build two prototypes. We expect the prototypes to be ready by 18 May and testing starts right away.
Approval from health authorities and certification
We are reaching out to the health authorities to get their view on our solution, and requirements to make sure our solution is accepted in lieu of social distancing.
We are also looking for investors and institutional funding to launch the product.
Partner with the Horeca sector
We are looking to partner with the Horeca sector to find a solution which would be most beneficial to the sector.
Solution’s impact on the crisis
Restaurant sector is very important for Europe’s economy and employment. In 2017, the food and beverage service activities industry had a turnover of approximately 428 billion € and employed almost 10.2 million persons in the EU. The sector is in crisis and needs our help.
Hypanel allows thousands of horeca establishments to continue operating in a profitable manner. It also allows millions of people to stay employed as restaurants stay open. The positive impact on the region’s employment will also increase communities’ wellbeing and economy.
Hypanel has a positive impact on people’s morale, as consumers are able to resume visiting their favorite restaurants and cafes; and re-start social interactions comfortably.
Another important impact of Hypanel is that of supporting entrepreneurship: artisan restaurants are able to continue their trade, and local companies get the opportunity to produce and distribute the Hypanels to support their community.
Other use cases
There are also many sectors which will need this kind of solution to operate safely, at a sustainable capacity while establishing client trust.
- Hairdressers and beauticians
- Doctors’ and dentists’ offices
- Offices, schools, daycare, universities
- Airports, public transport
- Public spaces such as libraries, hospitals, and municipal buildings
- Places of worship
- Theaters, movie theaters, concert halls, art galleries, gyms, shops
- Construction sites
After the crisis
Social distancing remains necessary or advised for a while after the lockdown restrictions are eased. Once social distancing is no longer needed, panels can be collected from the restaurants, and re-used in other spaces for air purification.
There are several ways how Hypanels can be repurposed:
- Air purification units can be used in animal farms to reduce airborne bacteria and virus contamination in livestock.
- Panels can be reused in commercial and recreational greenhouses and urban agriculture.