Today's news report admittedly isn't as verbose as the average, but I hope you'll still find it informative…or at least entertaining. At minimum, in contrast to some other embedded vision applications (and products targeting them) that I've written about to date, which have a futuristic (and, dare I say, speculative) aspect, the near-term, practical aspects of this one will hopefully be immediately apparent to you.
Without further ado, I present to you the SceneTap website. Formerly known as BarTabbers, its prior moniker may have already given you a tip-off (or is that just a tip?) as to its intended purpose. As Wikipedia states, it's:
A mobile application and website launched in 2010 by the social networking company SceneTap, LLC, based in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The tool allows end users to view real-time data regarding how many patrons are in an establishment, and more detailed information such as male-to-female ratios and average age.
Where's the embedded vision (strictly speaking, computer vision) angle? Keep reading:
SceneTap's data is fed to its mobile application and website through electronic recording cameras installed at each establishment.
…leading to the inevitable privacy-and-other uproar…
Controversy has arisen around privacy and security concerns regarding the mobile application and website. A camera system and multiple software programs are able to analyze a video feed and determine movement, gender, and age components. The company, however, maintains that it does not record any video and no users have access to the video feed. Additionally, the analyzed feeds are automated with software, which performs anonymous facial detection (this "looks like" a 27-year old male) rather than facial recognition (this is John Smith, a 27-year old male). In addition, LGBT groups have given concern over bucketing individuals into "male" and "female" categories.
Presumably, for those who believe that bars are passé and coffee shops (or insert your favorite hang-out) are the new pick-up place, SceneTab would work equally well there. No word as to whether or not Starbucks is considering an investment…