SAFR touts facial biometrics benefits, company gets government loan and Nasdaq price warning

SAFR touts facial biometrics benefits, company gets government loan and Nasdaq price warning

RealNetworks is touting the benefits of its SAFR facial biometrics and video analytics for a range of applications during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in a Medium post, as the company navigates the financial challenges accompanying the crisis.

As part of that context, RealNetworks’ Guiding Principles were defined by the company last year to defend the position “that AI is essentially a good thing if used properly, within judgement, good will, fairness, and proper aim at resolving tangible problems and creating a positive impact in our society,” RealNetworks SVP of EMEA and LATAM Jose Larrucea writes.

The challenges to deliver excellence in facial recognition technology are a result of the complexity of making it fast, accurate, and available on limited infrastructure, while complying with legal regulations, respecting privacy, and overcoming rapidly changing conditions which can include spoof attacks, or the sudden ubiquity of masks.

When used properly, the technology can allow health professionals to move through secured areas without removing protective equipment, support the continued operations of essential service providers, and security threats to be recognized. SAFR can deliver 93.5 percent accuracy for an occluded face if the database does not contain a similar image, and 99.87 percent if it does.

The post also talks about mask detection and compliance with GDPR, facial recognition for contactless access control and in 2FA processes, liveness detection, and the value of people-counting and other analytics to social distancing measures. Age estimation and identification of people on watchlists could also play a role in protecting people’s health.

RealNetworks received $2.87 million from the U.S. government’s Paycheck Protection Program, the largest amount awarded among three loans to publicly traded companies in the Seattle area, according to GeekWire.

The grants are available for companies with up to 500 employees, and RealNetworks had 453 at the end of calendar 2019, the report says.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said that companies receiving more than $2 million will be audited, and that the program was intended for small businesses, not public companies with available liquidity. RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser told GeekWire the company “rigorously” follows the rules. He also said the company plans to use the funds to bring back furloughed workers.

GeekWire reports that the company had $16.8 million in cash and equivalents on its books at the end of 2019, but booked a loss for the year of more than $20 million.

The company received notice from The Nasdaq Stock Market that it does not meet the minimum bid price requirement for listing, and now has until the end of the grace period on December 28, 2020 to regain compliance by reaching a minimum bid price of $1.00.

In an announcement of steps it will take to address the commercial impact of COVID-19, RealNetworks writes that new SAFR-based products are slated for release in mid-2020 to address public safety needs as people return to work. Glaser has also declined to accept a 2019 bonus that would have been payable in 2020, its 2020 executive bonus plan has been modified, and employee salaries have been frozen.

The company expects to meet or exceed its guidance of February 5, 2020, and will provide details of its expectations in an earnings call on May 6.

RealNetworks Vice President and General Manager of Computer Vision Dan Grimm spoke to Biometric Update about the company’s global opportunities in biometrics at the end of 2019.

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