RealNetworks introduces MaskCheck™, a free face mask compliance app, service, and data platform to help communities operate and reopen safely
SEATTLE, December 15, 2020 — RealNetworks® (NASDAQ: RNWK), a leader in groundbreaking digital media software and services, unveiled MaskCheck™ powered by SAFR®, a free face mask compliance app, service and data platform to help communities, businesses and public health officials safely operate and reopen by encouraging and assessing face mask compliance. MaskCheck is an especially powerful tool to keep government officials instantly up-to-date with unbiased and real-time mask usage data as many states institute and enforce mask mandates to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“MaskCheck helps promote a safer school environment,” said Michael Miller, Facilities Manager at The Bush School (Seattle, WA). ”Whether checking-in visitors, reminding faculty and staff at building entry points, or determining mask compliance in crowded hallways, we now have an easy-to-use system in place. We’ve installed multiple MaskCheck kiosks throughout campus and these provide us with the data that confirms face coverings are being worn and, most importantly, worn properly.”
“We’ve had a MaskCheck kiosk installed at the entrance to our store in downtown Washington DC for over a month now,” said Sid Dilawri, Owner of Modern Liquors and Master Distiller of Filibuster Distillery. “And though DC residents are pretty good about wearing masks, the MaskCheck app is a cool and engaging interactive reminder to our customers to wear face masks properly, and we feel good that our data gets shared with DC’s Health Department to help them analyze mask compliance.”
“We envision every city in the world and every public health dashboard using data from MaskCheck as a leading indicator for predicting and mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and for MaskCheck to encourage a positive change in mask compliance behavior, while helping communities and the economy reopen safely,” said Rob Glaser, founder and CEO of RealNetworks. “Especially in light of the recent CDC guidance saying that using masks benefits wearers, and their suggestion that increasing the proportion of people who wear masks by 15 percent could prevent the need for lockdowns and cut associated losses of up to $1 trillion, we truly feel that MaskCheck is a necessary tool to assist and monitor mask compliance.”
To accelerate MaskCheck’s market adoption and usage, RealNetworks partnered with the COVID-19 International Research Team, a highly-regarded global community of scientists driving research into COVID-19 using a large consortium open science model to efficiently and rapidly improve our understanding of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 International Research Team is excited to partner with RealNetworks to bring MaskCheck to market, as it's an effective new tool to contribute data to our research to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Afshin Beheshti, PhD, Co-President of the COVID-19 International Research Team. “This is a unique and innovative way to gather behavioral data. We’re glad to see a business willingly using their knowledge and expertise to create a tool to help fight the pandemic.”
Building upon its roots in video technology and leadership computer vision with SAFR, RealNetworks developed MaskCheck to help public officials, as well as private businesses, gather and act on real-time, accurate behavioral face mask compliance data. Mask compliance data is critical to the pandemic fight yet most, if not all, is self-reported today often through social networks, prone to error, bias and latency. RealNetworks designed MaskCheck to address those issues and provide the first accurate data-based picture of compliance that is essential to making effective decisions and predictions.
What is MaskCheck?
- An app for iOS and Android devices: The free, easy to install app uses artificial intelligence to assess face mask compliance, encourages proper usage, and reports aggregated and non-personally identifiable information (non-PII) based mask compliance data. It detects faces as people walk past the tablet’s camera, and determines if they are wearing a mask (properly) or not. It provides visual feedback to encourage compliance. No interaction is required, and no images or PII are collected or saved.
- A public health data repository service: The back-end infrastructure aggregates anonymous data submitted by a growing network of MaskCheck enabled devices and/or closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. The data includes compliance based on geographic location, classification of location, and non PII-based demographic information.
- A visualization map and data platform: The frequently updated mask compliance data feed can be used by any and all concerned parties under a free creative commons license, accessed via APIs by anyone in the world. This dynamic dataset is also visually represented via live dashboards in our MaskCheck Map at: https://freemaskcheck.com/maskcheck-map/. Its content will continue to grow in tandem with MaskCheck deployment.
This video shows how MaskCheck works: https://bit.ly/AboutMaskCheck
Why MaskCheck now?
At present, there is no reliable measured accurate and regularly updated data on mask compliance. Current sources are self-reported often through social networks resulting in likely biased, inaccurate, and quickly obsolete results. MaskCheck solves this problem and provides a unique behavioral data platform for:
- Policymakers and public health officials who can now take advantage of reliable data as more state governors enact mask mandates
- Develop an understanding of usage and enforcement with real-time data through dashboards and APIs
- Inform decisions for actions and resource deployment such as PPE or education efforts where they will be most impactful and needed
- Augment spread prediction models with behavioral, real-time, location and trendable data
- Share the data with the public to encourage reopening where compliance is high
- Employers and business owners who can provide safer workplaces for employees and customers:
- Create a more engaging way to encourage mask usage in the workplace and in retail spaces
- Improve the safety and physical well-being of employees without compromising business operations.
- Share compliance data with employees and customers to encourage engagement and patronage
- The general public who can get access to better information and make informed decisions
- Keep up to date with local community alerts along with risk indicators, to be able to make smarter, safer decisions regarding which areas or businesses to avoid.
Use Cases for MaskCheck
- Public Transportation
- Private Businesses (offices, stores, banks, restaurants)
- (Indoor) Sporting Events
- In-person Conferences at Convention Centers, Hotels
- Homeless shelters
MaskCheck is currently deployed in two Seattle area schools (The Bush School and Seattle School for Boys), as well as in a retail establishment (Modern Liquors) in Washington, DC. In addition, state health and transportation agencies in Washington, New York and the District of Columbia and the Texas Medical Center hospitals have all expressed interest in deployment.
MaskCheck™ is immediately available as a free App for Apple and Android devices in the Apple iOS App and Google Play stores. In addition, MaskCheck can also be customized for integration and use in municipal CCTV applications. More information can be found at: freemaskcheck.com.
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Building on a legacy of digital media expertise and innovation, RealNetworks has created a new generation of products that employ best-in-class artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance and secure our daily lives. SAFR® (safr.com) is the world’s premier facial recognition platform for live video. Leading in real-world performance and accuracy as evidenced in testing by NIST, SAFR enables new applications for security, convenience, analytics, and powers MaskCheckTM (freemaskcheck.com), as well as StarSearchTM by Real® and RealPlayer® 20/20 (real.com). For more information, visit: www.realnetworks.com.
Lisa Amore, Amore PR for RealNetworks.