Meeting COVID-19 Challenges

Construction that continues during the current COVID-19 pandemic can be made safer by following certain logical protocols such as “social spacing” or “social distancing.” Companies are also finding ways to keep their employees and customers safe from infection spread by using technology.
For example, Black & Veatch, an engineering, procurement, and construction services firm, developed a geospatial tracking tool to safeguard field services and construction crews during the current COVID-19 health crisis. The rollout of its app, BV Safe Contact, comes when essential power, water, and telecommunications services are in high demand, making large infrastructure projects more critical than ever. Because project work must continue, protecting the health and safety of these highly distributed field teams against the threat of COVID-19 is of great importance.
By connecting live health and safety data with project-management data, the BV Safe Contact tool continuously monitors potential exposure and health threats in project areas. To do this, the connected data and geospatial tool streams active COVID-19 case data directly from Johns Hopkins University and links it to active client project locations to provide a realtime view into active hot spots and potential high-risk areas. Armed with this information, companies can make intelligent decisions on where to allocate field service resources, allowing them to relocate crews and project efforts to safer, less-affected areas while avoiding critical service disruptions.
The tool relies on a cloud-native connected data platform called Nora: Total Project Awareness, which was created by Black & Veatch’s telecommunications business last year to better manage large-scale distributed infrastructure. BV Safe Contact is currently being used by a large Northeastern utility that serves customers in New York and New England, regions hit hard by COVID-19.
BV Safe Contact is intended to meet the following goals:
  • Monitor exposure potential and population density to better track the spread of COVID-19 over time.
  • Trace employee interactions on job sites and with the public to provide a history of potential exposures and predict future high-threat scenarios.
  • Alert employees to potential exposure from confirmed cases through advanced visualizations and analytics, enabling them to quickly self-isolate and seek treatment if needed.
Black & Veatch is also expanding its environmental capabilities and services as businesses respond to complex demands from regulators, shareholders, and consumers and companies, utilities, and governments navigate a range of COVID-19 related operational challenges and a wave of ambitious sustainability commitments.