‘No-app’ mobile check-in solution launches

UK: FORTYEIGHT.AI, a technology company, has joined forces with Twilio, a communications platform, to launch a ‘no-app’ mobile check in solution for Britain’s hospitality industry.

Venues across the UK can now request visitors to check-in at a pub or restaurant by sending a six-digit code by SMS. The venue will receive an instant check-in confirmation which can be visually checked by staff before permitting entry. 

The ‘no-app’ solution does not rely on the venue to invest in data protection systems or other hardware. It comes on the back of research that one in five customers admit to providing false contact information, and one in four revealing they have not been asked for contact information.

However, Britons stated they are most confident using their mobile phones to provide contact information via text message (83 per cent), compared to 47 per cent who stated they are comfortable using QR codes.

FORTYEIGHT.AI will hold customer data in a GDPR-friendly “escrow” for the minimum 21-day period advised by the government, with safeguards in place to minimise the risk of data misuse. By working with Twilio, FORTYEIGHT.AI can also deploy secure, real-time and hyper scale communications infrastructure.

In the event of a customer or staff member reporting COVID-19 symptoms, the business can log into its individual FORTYEIGHT.AI management dashboard and automatically inform all visitors within a specified time period, using a combination of real-time SMS and email alerts. If contact information is passed to an authorised body such as Public Health England for contact tracing purposes, users are again informed, providing transparency at all times.

FORTYEIGHT.AI will charge venues a monthly fee for the service, with some qualifying businesses benefiting from a free initial service.

Nicholas Oliver, cofounder and chief product officer for FORTYEIGHT.AI, said: “Building confidence in the UK’s COVID-19 contact tracing efforts will play a central role in rebuilding the economy, by getting people out of their houses and spending in local businesses. After months of lockouts rather than lock-ins, this exciting partnership helps us to provide businesses with an easy-to-use and affordable system that protects their staff and customers. We’re thrilled to be working with Twilio at such a pivotal time and invite business across the UK and abroad to get in touch with us in order to get setup and COVID ‘contact ready’ within minutes.”

David Parry-Jones, vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa for Twilio, commented: “The UK’s hospitality sector plays a pivotal role in our economy and our society, and has been hit hard by lockdown. As UK restrictions ease and people get back out there, it’s key that they can do so in a way that protects them and the economy and also preserves trust in the systems being used to facilitate the return to a more social lifestyle. I’m thrilled that FORTYEIGHT.AI has been able to use Twilio Programmable SMS to build a tool that can support these goals, and enable our pubs to welcome guests again, without having to become experts in technology or data protection.”

Launched three months ago, FORTYEIGHT.AI initially received a £45,000 grant from Innovate UK. 

Ian Campbell, executive chair of Innovate UK, added; “FORTYEIGHT.AI has the potential to help cut through the complexity, with a secure and transparent contact tracing system, so I’m delighted that Innovate UK’s investment will help them accelerate their launch.  It’s great to see this early promise has attracted such support from a major brand like Twilio to enable FORTYEIGHT.AI to scale quickly and help customers enjoy all that Britain’s pubs have to offer once more.”

Designed to protect human rights by informing a person each time they’ve been observed by artificial intelligence, facial recognition or other technological surveillance, FORTYEIGHT.AI have added a new set of COVID-19 transparency features to support Britain’s hospitality industry. It’s free for individuals to use and free to access for enterprises customers, with paid plans starting at £195/month based on usage.

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