HOUSTON (Aug. 20, 2020) -- In response to the changing meetings and event landscape, Houston First Corporation (HFC) announces the opening of The Avenida Houston Virtual Studio, a permanent broadcast facility with several new innovative solutions (details below) that is capable of hosting both virtual and hybrid events.


The new 5,250 square-foot permanent studio will provide event planners with more flexibility when hosting virtual, in-person, or hybrid meetings. The studio enables event organizers to incorporate any number of presenters, with or without an audience. Individual presenters can be integrated from any location, and small groups, like panelists or audiences, can be included from a studio location or multiple live locations. Our capabilities are accessible to online, direct feed, and satellite broadcast modalities. 

  • For additional details on studio capabilities, click here
  • An outline of the standard equipment package can be found here.
  • Images of the virtual studio can be found here.

Unlike other traditional broadcast studios, HFC’s capable sales and services team can support all event needs from standalone studio support to full event support including; IT, hotel bookings, food and beverage service, airport transfers for speakers, parking, and more. 

The virtual studio is just the beginning of HFC’s efforts to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 on in-person meetings and events. Recognizing that health and safety will continue to be a critical need as we approach a new normal post-pandemic, the HFC team has launched several initiatives:


In early September, the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) will be the first convention center in the country to deploy the Integrated Viral Protection (IVP) system, which will include three mobile units in the studio. This initiative is in partnership with Monzer Hourani, inventor and founder of IVP and CEO of Medistar Corporation.  Houston-based IVP made international news in early July when it introduced the world’s first biodefense filtration technology proven to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 (99.999%), anthrax spores (99.8%) and other airborne contaminants through a heated filter without impacting the temperature of the ambient air.

“The pandemic has created a number of challenges, but the Houston First team is committed to finding opportunities for safe and functional solutions that will lead the city and the hospitality industry into recovery,” said Michael Heckman, acting president and CEO of Houston First Corporation. “Discovering new technology, new possibilities, and new partnerships will not only keep our community safe but allow our economy to rebound.”

“We are excited to partner with Houston First and deploy this one and only technology proven to eliminate airborne COVID-19 instantaneously.  The invention by Monzer Hourani and the breakthrough research conducted by the Superconductivity Center of Texas at The University of Houston, Galveston National Laboratory at UTMB and Texas A&M Engineering and Experiment Station is a public health gamechanger and will offer a sense of security to breathe with confidence indoors,” said Dr. Garrett Peel, principal at IVP.

The research has been collaborated and endorsed by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Argonne National Laboratory and will be deployed in the coming weeks to schools in Texas, Florida, and Arizona as well as in an international hotel/resort chain, university student housing, and national entertainment/hospitality venues.  

“The time for action is now, and helping our hometown reopen in record timing with this proven science that kills COVID-19 is so important to me as we use Houston-based research to help lead us out of this crisis and get us back to business,” said Monzer Hourani, inventor, and founder of IVP.

To learn more about Medistar Corporation and Integrated Viral Protection, click here (video here). 


Houston First recently installed thermal scanners at all 15 entrances of the GRB Convention Center. An additional 15 devices will be installed at entrances across the remaining HFC-owned facilities.

The NUCTECH infrared face temperature screening system FeverBlock provides a non-contact solution for large scene temperature measurement and screening. The device can locate the face and avoid interference from unrelated high-temperature objects, using a combination of infrared thermal imaging technology and visible light imaging technology. The system will automatically alert if abnormal body temperature is detected.

Electrostatic sprayers can clean up to 54,000 square feet of surface area per hour, reducing labor and chemical resources. The GRB now has 20 EMist 360 electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, which will be used at the end of each day to sanitize all common areas throughout the GRB as well as meeting rooms used during events. An additional eight sprayers will be available for use in HFC-owned venues in the theater district. 


Earlier this month, Houston launched ‘Houston Clean’, a city-wide safety initiative, in partnership with hospitality industry partners. Protecting visitors, residents, and employees is a top priority. This initiative allows visitors to explore Houston with confidence, not just within HFC’s facilities but also while visiting area hotels, events, and attractions. HFC has taken this pledge and will continue to find innovative ways to provide a safe and healthy space for visitors.