May
17
2012

An Enthusiasts guide to technology: SceneTap

—Christian

We live in the future. As if there was any doubt before.

SceneTap isn’t new. It’s been around since last year. But it is finally coming west to the great city by the Bay. Launching tomorrow in San Francisco, SceneTap uses facial recognition technology (captured by video cameras) to determine the age and gender of patrons entering bars with the system installed. What this means is that at any time you can use their app (download here) to get a headcount, along with the demographic composition of the crowd at your local watering hole. Which is great if you’re sick of dealing with all the recently graduated coeds in 6″ heels and tight dresses. Or, conversely, you’re seeking out that sort of company.


Sample screen from a bar in Austin

But the real beneficiaries are the bars themselves. For the first time they get an automated customer tracking system that will clue them in on who’s coming in and when. And based on the liquor consumption, determine what they’re drinking.

Of course, as with any tracking technology, privacy concerns have arisen—most notably with the imminent integration of the San Francisco market. It is potentially unsettling to know that you’re being tracked and tallied as part of a veritable marketer’s wet dream.

But while these dystopic, Minority Report feelings are justified, SceneTap is not the first company of it’s kind. A predecessor, Barspace, that launched amidst similar civil liberties and privacy controversy, installed cameras to stream live footage from participating city bars on its website and mobile app. For the record, Barspace has been pulled from the App Store and their website given back over to the SEO machine.

We’ll see how long SceneTap lasts. But whether you’re happy or horrified by the prospect, the cameras turn on this Friday. Josey and I will be out of town, but we’d love to hear how accurately it works. So wear a big hat and sunglasses and get in there to see if the M/F and age stats are correct! In the meantime, let us know how you feel about this new “service” below.

For a list of supported bars, including Enthusiast favorites Bamboo Hut, Kozy Kar and R Bar, check out SceneTap’s venue page here.

Surveillance camera photo courtesy of spsurveillance.com, Flickr.

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