Israeli Air Purifier Could Bring Japan’s Karaoke Industry Back to Life
Aura Air signs $30 million deal to supply Japanese market with air purifying system, which has proven to be 99.99% effective in killing COVID-19
An air filtration and disinfection system developed in Israel that kills viruses could bring Japan’s ailing karaoke industry back to life.
Tel Aviv-based startup Aura Air has signed a $30 million deal with Japanese distributor J-TEC to supply the Japanese market with its advanced technology, which is specially designed to purify air in closed spaces. The company’s system has proven to be 99.99% effective at eliminating COVID-19 particles, among other pathogens.
Oren Eliyasov, business development director at Aura Air, told The Media Line that the agreement with J-TEC includes the Japan Karaoke Box Association and other major clients in Japan, such as SMBC Trust Bank and JTB Corporation, one of the largest travel agencies in the country.
“The karaoke association says that there are 100,000 [karaoke] rooms all over Japan,” Eliyasov said. “Currently, most of them are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Karaoke, which means “empty orchestra” in Japanese, was developed in the Land of the Rising Sun in the 1970s and quickly spread around the world as a popular form of entertainment. In Japan, it has long been a favorite outing for groups of friends and families.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, many karaoke bars in the country have reduced operations or shut down entirely as the industry struggles to stay alive. Karaoke nights generally take place in small crowded rooms, an ideal setting for spreading the novel coronavirus.
Aura Air’s device monitors air quality 24/7 and constantly purifies it, Eliyasov said.
“Basically, we found out that we’re capable of reducing the coronavirus by 99.99%, which gives a lot of confidence to clients and those who would come and sing in the karaoke rooms,” he explained.
Aura Air uses a combination of four filters to completely change the air in a standard-sized room every 2.5 hours. It has a pre-filter to catch large particles and dust, a patented multilayered HEPA filter that includes a carbon-infused fabric, UVC LED lighting to neutralize bacteria and viruses, and a Sterionizer device that produces positive and negative ions to purify air.
Founded more than three years ago, the startup recently completed a month-long pilot of its system in Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Israel, and also installed its technology in the reception halls of the King of Spain’s Zarzuela Palace.
Basically, we found out that we’re capable of reducing the coronavirus by 99.99%, which gives a lot of confidence to clients and those who would come and sing in the karaoke rooms
According to Aviad Shnaiderman, co-founder and CEO of Aura Air, the system is already in use in more than 50 countries, in their hospitals, clinics, educational institutions and public transportation.
“We conducted several clinical tests in hospitals, labs and in universities in Israel,” Shnaiderman told The Media Line. “We proved that we are able to destroy a lot of viruses, bacteria and fungi.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to accelerate Aura Air’s sales worldwide.
“The coronavirus helped us to educate and raise awareness of indoor air quality,” he said. “It did a fast-forward for everything that we believe in and that we claim.”
What distinguishes the company’s system from others on the market, Shnaiderman added, is that it provides a measurement of pollutants in real-time and that it uses a unique process to filter and disinfect the air.
“It’s an IoT (internet of things) product for smart homes and smart buildings,” he said, explaining: “It connects to the internet, mobile phones and other smart devices and applications.”
The coronavirus helped us to educate and raise awareness of indoor air quality
The startup’s recent entry into the Japanese market also has a personal story behind it.
“I was traveling in Japan two years ago and had a girlfriend there, which led me to learn Japanese so that I could communicate with her parents,” Eliyasov said. “This led to me falling in love with the culture, people and language over there.”
While the relationship did not last, it did lead Eliyasov to joining Aura Air as a business developer for Japan, which the company hopes will become one of its major markets.