Startups

This smart camera startup helps companies meet COVID-19 cleaning standards by detecting dirtiness

Quivr CEO Brian Monnin. (GeekWire File Photo)

Cleanliness took on a whole new meaning in 2020.

The pandemic is forcing airlines, hotels, universities, and other organizations to adjust standards for keeping high-touch areas free from germs.

This smart camera startup helps companies meet COVID-19 cleaning standards by detecting dirtiness

A new Seattle startup called Quivr aims to ride this trend with an AI-powered smart camera tool that can detect proper application of sprayed disinfectant and generate deep-cleaning reports.

The company is the second spinout from a new Seattle innovation studio run by Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) and Fortive. It’s led by Brian Monnin, who previously worked at Intel and Microsoft before founding Play Impossible, a 5-year-old Seattle startup that built a smart gameball.

Quivr’s system includes a high-tech camera that scans the 3D surfaces of a room and can detect liquid disinfectant, as well as the workers themselves. The resulting data can be analyzed in real-time to ensure proper completion of the disinfectant and improve the overall process.

Quivr is in private trials with customers in the hospitality, transportation and food and beverage industries.

“Many of these businesses lack modern recordkeeping and digital evidence of their deep-clean activity,” said Monnin, adding that Quivr’s system provides a real-time digital record of cleaning routines that can be shared across the organization.

This smart camera startup helps companies meet COVID-19 cleaning standards by detecting dirtiness

Monnin said the company’s main competition are antiquated methods of recordkeeping for cleaning tasks.

“Our secret sauce is fusing a variety of spatial and environmental sensors with HD optics and machine learning algorithms to detect invisible details, so workers can be alerted of mistakes as they occur,” he added.

While restaurants, airports and other venues are ratcheting up their cleaning protocols due to the pandemic, The New York Times reported this week that there is little to no evidence that contaminated surfaces spread COVID-19. Some scientists say the energy and money spent on surface disinfection is a waste, and that attention should be focused on preventing airborne transmission. The Atlantic reported in July that deep cleans were “hygiene theater.”

Monnin said Quivr is focused on providing an added forensic detail that helps companies confirm they’ve met cleaning standards set forth by the CDC.

“We expect the standards to change and that’s exactly why our device has to be smart and adaptable,” he said.

The CEO added: “It’s great the issue is getting the attention it deserves. In balance whether you are an airline, hotel or sports arena your guests are going to be more comfortable and confident in their experience the cleaner the environment is. Now businesses can prove it in line with changing standards.”

Monnin left Play Impossible earlier this year and was an entrepreneur-in-residence at PSL, a startup studio that partnered with publicly-traded industrial giant Fortive in May to build new products and launch companies. The first spinout, TeamSense, launched this summer with a software platform that helps employers track COVID-19 symptoms at the workplace.

Quivr employs six people. John Pella, a former Microsoft and Phillips employee, is the company’s CTO.

Both Fortive and PSL take an equity stake when launching startups together. The model allows the creation of companies that will either end up as standalone venture-backed businesses or be acquired by Fortive itself.

“Proper and validated disinfection is an immediate need for almost any business,” Kirsten Paust, vice president of Fortive Business Systems, said in a statement. “Fortive has seen the value of sensor-based certification throughout our customers and partners, and this solves an enormous problem for any company who wants to be certain an area has been disinfected.”


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