5 European startups preparing us for social distancing in the ‘new normal’

This week we are taking a look at the ‘new normal’ and how startups and consumers predict our new lives will be. We conducted a survey on what you, the EU-Startups community foresee, where you told us that you’ll be travelling locally instead of internationally, and feel optimistic and motivated for the future. We will also be taking an in-depth look at the e-mobility, food delivery, smart city, travel, coworking and HR sectors via interview with thought leaders. In this article, though, we’re tackling how European startups are leading the way with social distancing measures.

Shops are opening, restaurants are opening and travel restrictions are beginning to lift. While the fate of hotels and other establishments are yet to be seen, over the coming weeks and months the world will slowly begin a clumsy and tentative start to the ‘new normal’.

Luckily, there are a number of innovative European startups that have been working on spatial solutions, which can help us continue to socially distance whether at work, out and about shopping or eating out, or travelling. From wearable technologies that measure our distance, to wall or ceiling-mounted cameras that monitor space use, these types of technologies will soon become part of our daily life. 

Helping establishments to re-open and people to travel, here are 5 startups that we see making a big impact on their industries.

Tended – Founded in 2017 in Lincolnshire, UK, Tended creates intelligent personal safety systems and accident detection wearables. In April of last year, the startup received over €1 million in funding, and is aimed at businesses in sectors like construction, although their tech can be used in an office environment too. The wearable wristband and belt tag continuously monitor the distance between two people, whilst protecting their privacy. When two persons get too close, it alerts the users by vibrating the wrist band. The technology is connected to a safety dashboard, which allows monitoring of how many times the users breached the measures and for how long. If you’d like to see a short video, head to their LinkedIn.

EPos hybrid – This Scottish startup, founded in 2015, has been working on contactless technologies that keep both consumers and employers safe in the hospitality industry. From software that lets customers browse menus and pay online, to self-checkout, to digital tables that avoid contact with waitresses, these services have been adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and help businesses like restaurants and bars open whilst sticking to social distancing guidelines. Soon technologies like this could be commonplace in every hospitality establishment. 

Lone Design Club – Lone Design Club, founded in 2017 in London, creates experimental design stores for fashion and lifestyle brands. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, they got to work on creating new ways for shops to keep selling and follow social distancing measures, while protecting consumers. They came up with a window shopping solution, which prints instructions on the shop window. Customers can browse products and scan the code printed on the window using their mobile phone, to buy online. The tech is already being used by a number of stores in London, and could signal the next steps for retail.

Smart Eagle – This Amsterdam-based startup, founded in 2018, has created a Distance Sensor for office spaces, to make sure the spaces never become too crowded, and monitor person distribution. Via a network of optical SmartEagle sensors, the number of persons and the distance between them is measured and combined to check and validate mutual distances. The sensors can be easily installed on the ceilings of office spaces, and the results can be checked via an online dashboard.

Outsight – This Parisian startup has created one of the first 3D semantic cameras, allowing for spatial intelligence insights for airports, shopping malls and public spaces. The tech supports these spaces as normality returns, keeping an eye on people flow management, asset management (like trolleys, escalators) and security compliance (whether people are wearing masks, body temperature, distancing etc.). Outsight’s (2019) laser solution is already in place in airports in France to detect travellers not wearing masks.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!