As more venues reopen over the next few months, the public must remain vigilant and safeguard itself from COVID-19. Temperature monitoring for signs of fever is one of the key means to identify potential COVID-19 cases. For venues with high footfall such as shopping malls, offices and places of worship, the temperature screening process has to be seamless and fast to minimise congestion.

To meet public demand for an affordable, accurate and effective automated temperature screening solution, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) has licensed the software for the “SPOTON” smart thermal scanner it developed to four Singapore-based Distributors. The Distributors are: three small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – ADERA Global, Scanmed Technology (Singapore) Pte Ltd and SmartScan Machine Pte Ltd – and a non-profit organisation, Extra•Ordinary People Limited.

SPOTON is a smart thermal scanner for mass temperature screening, first developed by GovTech’s Smart Nation Platform Solutions (SNPS) team in February 2020. By integrating SPOTON’s deep learning-based software with low-cost off-the-shelf hardware – an RGB-Depth camera, long-wave infrared camera and printed circuit board – GovTech has developed an affordable, robust and accurate temperature screening solution that can screen up to 10 people at any one time with an accuracy of ±0.3-0.5°C in both indoor and outdoor environments. When an individual’s temperature exceeds a pre-defined threshold of 37.5°C, SPOTON will trigger an alarm and send an e-mail alert to the venue operator. Another feature of the SPOTON software is that it can detect and indicate when an individual is not wearing a face mask. SPOTON’s accuracy range in temperature sensing was verified in calibration tests conducted with the National Metrology Centre (NMC). For more product details, please refer here.

GovTech first trialled SPOTON at NTUC Club’s Eat Box Event in February 2020 attended by 32,000 people over two weekends. Since April, GovTech has worked with government agencies to deploy 50 units of SPOTON at various locations including the Supreme Court, Ministry of Education headquarters, Our Tampines Hub, Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility, HDB branch offices and mosques.

Conditions of licensing

Under the licensing agreement for the SPOTON software, GovTech will provide the SPOTON version 1.0 software for free, and provide training and technical support to the four Distributors. The Distributors will, in turn, purchase the necessary hardware, hire their own staff to assemble the thermal scanners and provide after-sales support to their customers. Extra•Ordinary People Limited, for example, has committed to providing work to individuals with special needs – such as those on the autistic spectrum and with disabilities – and those from lower-income groups, who will be trained to assemble SPOTON thermal scanners.

The Distributors will set their own selling prices but must comply with GovTech’s requirements for the hardware used in the assembly. Public and private sector organisations may direct their enquiries on SPOTON to these Distributors. GovTech will also consider extending the SPOTON version 1.0 software licence to other companies interested in distributing the thermal scanners. Companies interested in becoming a SPOTON Distributor may e-mail [email protected] for licensing queries.

“GovTech has received numerous queries from public agencies and private companies on purchasing SPOTON. We believe that the SPOTON thermal scanning solution can serve a larger public good, and so we decided to license the software to private and non-profit companies to commercialise and scale to meet existing urgent demand. In doing so, we also hope to grow the capabilities of our SMEs, foster a more vibrant local ICT industry and at the same time, strengthen public-private sector partnerships to collectively keep citizens safe from COVID-19,” said Mr Lim Chinn Hwa (林进华), Senior Director (Smart Nation Platform Solutions), GovTech.

GovTech is currently working on a second version of the SPOTON software that will include more advanced features such as pose recognition, heart rate and oxygen saturation measurements. This version is expected to be ready in Q1 2021.

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