Building on Success Against COVID-19, Black & Veatch Launches Commercial Projects, Doubles IgniteX Funding

Registration being accepted for ‘Demo Day’ next month to showcase the innovations

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With the goal of delivering solutions to safeguard communities against COVID-19, Black & Veatch’s IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator has launched five projects of new-to-market technologies at commercial sites in the United States. Based on these early successes, Black & Veatch has announced it is doubling its funding goal for the program to $500,000.

The initiatives arise from a cohort of 18 startups and seasoned organizations that were selected over the past four months from an applicant field of more than 300 companies. The solutions in the program include disinfection, contact tracing, tracking, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental sensing, virtual conferencing and other technology solutions – all designed to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the health, safety and economic prosperity of communities.

“Our goal with the accelerator has been to get solutions into the field as quickly as possible so they can start making an impact,” said Ryan Pletka, Vice President of Innovation at Black & Veatch. “We’re excited that many of our partners are being actively deployed and are getting traction, with even more in the works. These activities will not only bring immediate results in terms of fighting the virus, they will also provide lasting value as we prepare for a post-COVID world.”

All 18 companies in the COVID-19 Response Accelerator will be showcasing their solutions at the virtual Demo Day on October 21-22, 2020. Register here to attend.

Recent developments from the program include the following commercial deployments:

  • Aquisense Technologies: Focusing on UV-C LED disinfection, the company’s PearlSurface ultraviolet (UV) mask disinfector was recently recognized in the 3M technical bulletin “Decontamination of 3M Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs), such as N95 Respirators, in the United States.” With the ability to retain the designed filtration and comfort of N95 masks through 20 disinfection cycles, the PearlSurface is an attractive solution for employers of essential workers in constant need of reliable PPE. PearlSurface is currently being used at one Black & Veatch client site.
  • Field2Base: Early in the coronavirus lockdown, Black & Veatch partnered with digital forms developer Field2Base to build a mobile app and platform to manage the safe return to commercial, industrial, and academic facilities. The result, COVOPERATE, is like a digital marriage of a doctor’s note and a boarding pass. The app combines a series of screening questions and individual health declarations with temperature checks and other safety protocols, such as PPE or vaccination records, to generate an electronic clearance form that assists companies in evaluating if an associate can safely come to work. The digital boarding pass portion allows employees to pre-certify, creating an additional layer of safety alongside on-site temperature screening. It also provides location validation and a real-time view into staffing resources. The COVOPERATE BV/Field2Base suite has been commercially deployed at multiple locations.
  • AVATOUR by Imeve: With COVID making travel difficult, clients with infrastructure assets are turning to real-time video streaming to enable site inspections, conduct virtual tours and host project-side meetings. But many believe that webcam-based conferencing can be lackluster. Imeve’s AVATOUR Remote Presence platform enables 360-immersive teleconferencing for one host and up to nine guests. Black & Veatch is piloting this technology as a virtual-reality enhancement for performing inspections, conducting training sessions and meeting with prospective clients. It is already starting to save costs and reduce risks from travel, and its 360-degree nature allows attendees to “visit” any area of a site where a camera can be placed, which is a boon to people with disabilities. Its software runs on most smartphones and many commercially available 360cameras.
  • OneScreen: The GoSafe by OneScreen is a body temperature and facial scanner with on-board AI powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon. The tablet-like device can recognize faces with or without masks, ensuring PPE compliance and checking in workers quickly and securely as they arrive on-site. GoSafe devices have been deployed to BV offices nationwide as well as several client sites as part of our piloting of the technology as a return-to-work solution. The GoSafe device has been successfully integrated within Black & Veatch’s Rapid Modular Health System (RaMHS) to facilitate rapid screening of personnel.
  • Ubudu: A maker of wearable tracking that has (among many applications) allowed fast-food servers to get orders from the kitchen to diners more efficiently has found a fast-growing market in the construction industry. Ubudu makes highly accurate proximity tags that alert users when they come too close to another person. Combined with a robust analytical back-end Ubudu’s system provides analytics on relative location and interaction time of workers, helping to improve social distancing and trace contacts while increasing productivity. Black & Veatch is piloting the technology at sites in New York and Florida.

Editor’s Notes:

  • More solutions are expected to emerge from the IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator by Black & Veatch. To learn more about the pilots and receive updates on others as they are launched, contact Sarah Ruhl, IgniteX Program Director at

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries by addressing the resilience and reliability of our world’s most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2019 were US$3.7 billion. Follow us on and on social media.


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