When I first heard about SceneTap I misunderstood the technology. The company's tagline is "Know the bar scene in real time." At first glance I guessed they put web cameras in bars, allowing anyone to check out the scene live on video. Clearly there are a couple of problems with this. For starters, it would be an invasion of privacy and I doubt there would be enough cameras installed to get a clear picture of the venue vibe. Technically, there isn't anything too innovative about this approach.
Fortunately the fine folks at SceneTap set me straight and introduced me to the real story behind their new app. Using facial detection the software is able to count the number of people in a bar, detect the male/female ratio and guess the average age of attendees (thanks to a camera at the front door). This data will helped interested bar goers to determine if there are enough people, ladies, or men in the venue to warrant a visit.
While this type of technology might be worrisome to patrons, the good news is that SceneTap does not make any of the visuals public. In other words, if you're pounding back tequila at your local haunt you won't have to worry about being spotted. Aside from sharing data, users will also be able to access daily deals and there will be some type of social networking integration.
The technology is bound to attract customers, but the software is also a win for restaurant owners. They'll be able to get real-time updates about the people frequenting their venue on a regular basis. If they discover their typical attendee is a 40-year-old male, then they'll be able to better market to that customer.
Today, we have to actually make a trip to a bar or restaurant to get a real sense of the overall vibe. Or, typically, we have to rely on a single text message from a friend to scope out the scene. Starting later this month in Chicago, users will be able to download this app (iPhone/Android) to find out the girls or boys are (and if a place is hopping, so to speak). Following this launch, SceneTap will roll out in other major cities and in Canada, Australia, and the UK.