Companeer’s foolproof COVID test concept

Video: Coliseum Global Sports Venue Alliance (YouTube)

Companeer GmbH, Germany is an interdisciplinary consultancy which supports arena operators to make their vision of a better venue come true. The company’s Munich-based team of stadium enthusiasts combines out-of-the-box thinking, the art of engineering, a value-driven approach, as well as strong project management skills to tackle challenges.

Thomas Albinger, Managing Director, Companeer GmbH, Germany, reveals exclusively to ‘Coliseum’ in the recently held Coliseum Online Week MENA as to the consultancy opening a COVID-19 test center in tandem with big companies to ensure that the whole ‘quick test’ exercise is done in a streamlined manner and hopes to apply their concept uniformly across all places in Germany. He also observed that no Event Manager will dare to hold any event in the near future as the coronavirus situation despite the vaccine rollout is very unclear.

Thomas Albinger started off by sharing that the whole legislative as well as political structure in Germany is pretty complex and the authorities’ modus operandi differ from City to City as a result of which each City and each Federal State has it own set of COVID-19 protocols – “While a stadium in North Rhine-Westphalia might allow an event to be held even amid coronavirus restrictions in place, a venue in another City of Germany will just not allow that to happen. It is for this reason that maybe Germany could never agree on a general speed limit on the German Autobahn.”

The Autobahn is the Federal controlled-access highway system in Germany.

He lamented that since all their customers “have something to do with events and due to lack of uniformity on coronavirus rules in Germany our customers suffer and when they suffer, we suffer as well.”

To get out of this whole COVID conundrum, Companeer decided to open their own coronavirus test center – “We have opened our own COVID-19 test center – actually just to improve the processes – for booking, examinations and result, to prevent serpentine queues, to prevent long waiting hours, to prevent test results from getting mixed up, and to ensure that one receives one’s result on time. To this end, we tied up with strong partners – with EPS, who is able to deliver infrastructure, info pop-up centers in front of venues with ticket i/O who is delivering digital solution for booking the coronavirus test or producing the certificate, with Medical Director who gives us medical advice and yes, we are trying to bring that live to spread the same in a community,” stated Albinger.

Albinger added, “We have about 120 test centers in a corporation who are using the same infrastructure, the same digital solution, applying the same quality standards and we ensure that we have the same standard at different places in the country. This concept should also be adopted by companies’ vis-à-vis testing their employees on a regular basis.”

Talking about Companeer, he puts in, “We are a small consultancy Munich-based in Germany’s Bavaria. We are currently 10 people founded in 2013. Basically, our services entail delivering consultancy services and project management and also technical project management and our customers are stadia, stadium operators, arena operators, and also municipalities. And, well, one of our customers is Allianz Arena (stadium in Munich, Germany) where we implement most of our ideas and best practices.”

Albinger further puts in, “We are in cooperation with universities to check our concepts and to give them also a scientific basis. Some of our deliveries or services are – we help host cities and stadium operators to prepare bid books for mega events like the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 and also we supported Munich and Cologne to apply as Euro 2024 host cities. We are proud that any host City that we have supported so far is part of the tournaments. And, we don’t stop there. We also help them in preparing for those events like for Munich we are helping them with the overall mobility concept, and we are part of the safety and security team in this task.”

He further informed, “It’s mostly alignment with the authorities, its discussion over discussions, but it’s interesting as well. If there are no tournaments, then we have ideas or concepts on how to enlarge capacities for stadia without changing the footprint.”

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2020 or simply Euro 2020, is scheduled to be the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). It will be held from June 11th, 2021 to July 11th, 2021.

The 2024 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2024 or simply Euro 2024, will be the 17th edition of the UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organized by UEFA. The host country is Germany.

Albinger informed that Companeer is also into building project management as well like the newly built youth academy of the Bundesliga team FC Bayern Munich – “After everything is built then there is an operation, we do not leave the customer alone, we help them with claim management to ensure the value of their venue and sometimes we have very special projects like we had to change the heat dissipation units on the roof of Allianz Arena in a way that was interesting but it was not our most complex project.”

He also talked about their entry gate concept which can be “entry gates in one way or in an escape or exit situation, they will work as emergency exits as well. Actually, the solution is that simple but it helps a lot where space is narrow or where one wants to have a higher capacity in entry gates. That was the concept we presented in 2019 and today this product is produced by EPS, an infrastructure provider, it can be bought, it can be used, it will be employed at the UEFA Euro 2021 at least in Munich. The soccer showpiece will be held in various European cities and Munich is one of the host cities.

Stating that Companeer was “very hands-on and we are trying to bring concepts also to life. The ideas that can a quick test strategy help to get us out of this whole muddle that we are in due to the pandemic. And the solution is pretty simple. Like visitors being thoroughly tested and screened before an event in Etihad Arena (UAE) recently and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event was a roaring success.”

He pointed out that the Super Bowl held on February 7th, 2021 at the Raymond James Stadium in Florida (US), “They had a pretty nice hygiene concept. They had some hardboard figures to provide space for distancing, people should wear masks, they should not shout because when shouting one tends to spread aerosols. But, rules were thrown out of the window, visitors did not wear masks, physical distancing went for a toss and many visitors were drunk and shouting.”

Super Bowl LV was the championship game of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2020 NFL season.

Going by the chaos which reigned supreme at the Super Bowl, Albinger suggested, “We have to put something in front of those hygiene concepts, we have to have those hygiene concepts hands-on. A case-in-point – a couple wants to attend a concert and they are wary they might carry the virus, in that case they might be potential danger for others. So, what they do is just book a slot in a test center and well they just go there, they don’t have to wait there, they just walk in, they take their appointment, it takes less than five minutes to do the coronavirus test and after the test they just leave because they will receive the results on their mobile phones after about 15 minutes. So, the wife gets the message that the test result is negative, everything is fine, and she can attend the event. She shows her certificate and she can enter the event which is a safe zone because all the people in there, they are negative and a space where only people who have tested negative for COVID-19 meet.”

Albinger continues, “Actually, this logic is rather simple – nothing can happen. For the husband, unfortunately, he gets the message that he is positive so he has to go home and stay home until he is in good health again but fortunately his ticket for the concert he is able to stream that at home and at least enjoy at home. So, that’s the basic concept. And, the advantages are clear.”

The top shot affirmed that at the moment, no Event Manager is planning any event in the near future because the COVID-19 seesaw the world over continues and the picture is not clear – “Whether you are able to do an event depends on the infection rate at the moment or a week before the event. You don’t know how the infection rate will be like at the time of the event. So, with our above ‘quick test’ concept one can become more independent from external factors from the infection rate. Actually, it’s not important the infection rate all around the event is but in the event everyone should be safe.”

He pointed out that it is very important for companies too to test their employees like in the Mexico unit of BMW and Volkswagen they conduct coronavirus test on their staff every second day while these very same German luxury vehicles company do not conduct COVID-19 test on their workers in Germany – “It’s strange. I don’t understand that but there’s high need for that because if you have to stop production for coronavirus spread that’s rather bad for companies as well. This might be a good start to spread our ‘quick coronavirus test’ concept all over Germany.”

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