Seattle-based RealNetworks is now offering AI-driven facial recognition technology to K-12 schools in the US and Canada, gratis.
Dubbed “SAFR for K-12”, the company’s facial recognition system is designed to operate through standard IP-based cameras, and has established a 99.8 percent accuracy rate in testing against the Labeled Faces in the Wild database. For school deployments, the technology can match faces against school registration systems, allowing administrators to establish watch lists for expelled students, drug dealers, and other threats, and to implement biometric entry and exit systems that can send instant alerts to admins when unauthorized individuals try to access restricted areas.
In announcing the system’s free and open availability for schools, RealNetworks framed the move as a response to heightened security risks. “School safety has become one of the top national issues in the United States in 2018,” explained the company’s CEO, Rob Glaser, adding later that RealNetworks’ team hopes that SAFR for K-12 “will help make schools safer.”
What’s the catch? It isn’t yet clear that there is one. RealNetworks says SAFR for K-12 can be downloaded from its website and implemented at no cost by public, private, and charter schools. But the company does note that it plans to introduce “other commercial versions of SAFR” this autumn, suggesting that its free offering to schools may be a savvy way of building brand recognition ahead of those launches – albeit one that could offer some real benefits to schools across North America.
July 17, 2018 – by Alex Perala