UNLV Lee Business School Presents Volan Technology with the Inaugural Lee Prize Nevada Innovator Award 

Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
Michal Christine  Escobar  profile picture

Volan Technology has been recognized with the Lee Prize Nevada Innovation Award by the UNLV Lee Business School. Selected from 250 proposals submitted from 32 states and nine countries, Volan Technology, one of eight winners, won due to its advanced solution for enterprise-scale, precise and private contact tracing software enabling hospitality operators to make dramatic improvements in virus prevention and save millions of dollars in manual tracing. The AI-based technology also enables organizations to report and respond to emergencies with extraordinary speed and accuracy.

The inaugural prize recognizes innovation that will accelerate the hospitality, meetings and conventions, and entertainment industries into a safer and new normal in a post-COVID world. Judges included Wolfgang Puck, Steve Aoki, William P. Foley II (Vegas Golden Knights owner), Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr. (CEO, Allegiant Air) and Bill Hornbuckle (CEO & President, MGM Resorts), just to name a few.

When asked by Hospitality Technology, Michael Bettua, founder and CEO of Volan Technologies, said that winning this award meant a great deal to the company.

“The idea for Volan started in the hospitality industry with one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas,” Bettua explained. “So this award means a great deal to us as it’s recognition that Volan's technology helps solve real challenges and is truly meaningful to the hospitality industry, both during and post-pandemic. We know our offerings provide a lot of opportunity to help bring back travel safely, and to have UNLV Lee Business School recognize our innovation in this space means we are right on track.” 


The Volan Positioning System™ (VPS) uses micro-location geofencing technology and powerful data analytics to accurately and immediately identify both direct and indirect exposure risk across locations and over time, and calculate those most exposed using a patented scoring system that exceeds the CDC’slatest guidelines for determining close contact.  As a neural mesh wireless network with zero dependency on cellular, GPS or Wifi, and encrypted data, VPS is far more accurate and protective of privacy than smartphone-based tracing apps, cameras and manual tracing.

VPS also enables hotels, schools and other large properties to dramatically improve emergency response and the safety of staffby knowing the exact real-time location of an incident, staff member(s) affected and incident type (fire, medical, assault, intruder) with real-time 3-D mapping so they can prepare the most effective response.

HT asked Bettua what advice he would give to other IT innovators.

Stay nimble and listen,” he said. “This is unchartered territory and things are changing almost daily. We've found that being flexible and extremely diligent in listening and responding to our clients has helped us not only design our technology to meet and exceed our clients' needs but also bend without breaking in a fast-evolving landscape.” 

The UNLV Lee Foundation recognized a total of eight creators who will share a $1M prize. The Award was created with the goal of discovering and funding innovative technologies and solutions that make the food & beverage, hospitality, casino, sports and entertainment, and travel industries a safe place for employees and guests in the post pandemic world.

HT also spoke with Leith Martin, Executive Director of the Troesh Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Lee Business School. Martin said Volan’s technology stood out because “in today's world one of the most important things is access to data. Volan's technology provides employers information that they can use to make decisions about the safety of their employees, which is incredibly important. Volan's technology during the pandemic and after the pandemic will provide tools that not only increase safety and security, but also allows labor to be used in a more efficient manner.”

(To learn more about contact tracing, check out our recent article on the topic!)