Masking Up! There’s Even an App for That!

26 May

Who could ever have predicted that wearing a face mask would be a sign of the times when today, it seems to be the new norm and a long-term precaution! With companies eager to get back to work they need to ensure that they meet and implement a variety of conditions and measures which include finding ways to incorporate face masks into their daily business operations.

Given that in most countries, anyone leaving their home is required to wear a face mask whether they are shopping or working, facial recognition becomes a little tricky. And it’s not just the office-based businesses that need to worry about ensuring that their staff wear masks. Companies such as Uber need to reassure clients that they too are taking all the necessary precautions and as such, that their drivers will be monitored, while tech companies need to find innovative ways to promote mask-wearing and of course to allow us to unlock doors, phones etc. if we don’t want to revert to Touch ID!

It turns out of course that tech companies were ready to react, and that tech is far more versatile than we thought. Several big brands and industries are going all out to promote apps that drive behavioural change to ensure people wear a mask in line with government regulations and health recommendations.

Face Mask Wearing Apps

It sounds a little odd to utter the phrase “there’s an app for that” when talking about wearing a face mask, but it would seem that brands have been thinking out of the box to adopt the new norm.

  • A solution to overcome facial scan phone unlocks

Okay, this one was worth a laugh! When Apple announced that it was releasing an app that would let you unlock your phone using facial recognition without removing your mask, we thought they had finally lost the plot. But then the actuality struck! Apple isn’t doing anything that fancy or impressive. In fact, all that this new app does is open the facial recognition feature to bring up a screen that requests the user to insert their pin code. Guess what…most phones already have this phone locking feature, without the need to download a new app! Just saying…

  • Uber introduces an app to ensure drivers are wearing their masks

Uber doesn’t want its drivers or customers to be at risk and so the company is doing what it can to ensure that drivers who profess to be wearing a mask are actually wearing one. If you are familiar with the Uber app, you will know that it is constantly monitoring its drivers with a real-time ID check. To ensure that the assigned Uber driver is actually the driver working, the app requests a driver to snap a selfie at random times.

With an app update, which is still in a developmental stage, it is believed that the app will be able to confirm if the driver is wearing a mask. Uber isn’t all about being creepy though – it’s about driver and customer safety, which is why the company already provides its drivers with sanitiser and masks for their vehicles.

  • The Apna Mask Initiative gets big brands promoting mask-wearing awareness

The Apna Mask Initiative is working hard to get big brands to change their app icons and social media handles to promote the wearing of masks. This StartupVsCOVID community initiative has been embraced across India by internet companies such as Urban Company, MakeMyTrip and Zomato. The startup stalwarts were later joined by celebrities including the likes of Vidya Balan, Juhi Parmar, Sonu Sood, and Preetika Rao to name a few.

Do Your Bit – Mask Up!

As a South African citizen and potentially a business owner, you need to make sure that you are doing your bit to promote safe hygiene practice and awareness in your company. Will you join the Apna Mask Initiative? Or perhaps you have your own business app designed to keep your workforce safe. Whatever the case, what we don’t know about face masks is as much as what we do know, and whether you wear one for your own safety or for the health of others, as the economy fires up again – we should all simply mask up and do our bit.

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