June 14, 2011
Let’s say you are heading out for the night, and you want to find a club that’s really starting to pick up, or you want to find a chill sports bar that you know you’ll be able to get a table at. The just announced new app SceneTap will help you decide where to go.
Chicago-based SceneTap will provide real-time info on local bars, including number of people in the bar, male-to-female ratio, and the average age of each customer when it launches in Chicago later this year (rollout in other cities will follow shortly after).
Unlike FourSquare, SceneTap doesn’t require check-ins. Instead, cameras in participating bars use facial detection and “people-counting” technologies to automatically collect and provide data on the venue’s customers.
During an interview with founder Cole Harper, he stressed that the cameras do not use facial recognition software, which is totally different from facial detection. Their facial detection software program analyzes facial features, streams that data from the cameras to their database, and deletes the information as soon as it’s analyzed. Since there is no recording and each person is tracked anonymously, there are no privacy issues or liability risks related to the service. To put it another way, the camera would not know if I walked into a bar, only that a woman in her mid-30s just walked in.
The technology is also a great marketing tool for bars. The technology is positioned to be an exclusive social network for bars – only a select number of bars can join at launch; the network will grow in a controlled fashion thereafter. Each bar can better brand itself via SceneTap, and the data collected from the cameras will help bar owners quantify how popular events and special promotions were – information that goes far beyond what’s in the cash drawer at the end of the night.
In advance of the launch, SceneTap has already partnered with more than 50 of Chicago’s most popular bars. Additional networks have been established in New York, Boston, DC, Miami, Austin, Las Vegas and popular college towns across the country. SceneTap will be available as a free app for iPhone and Android or on the Web.
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