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Dining News
Nov 01, 2012


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Tap Into the Scene

STL Native Launches New Nightlife App in St. Louis
Story: Cristy Miller
Photos: Courtesy of SceneTap

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NOBODY EVER SAID BAR-HOPPING is an exact science...until now. The latest app to hit the St. Louis nightlife scene allows users to make educated decisions about where to spend a night out, by viewing real-time crowd data at local bars and restaurants. First launched in Chicago in 2011 by St. Louis native Cole Harper, SceneTap makes its St. Louis debut later this year. The app takes a snapshot of information like the number of people at a venue, the male-to-female ratio and even the average age of the crowd. The idea is for users to be able to get a feel for the demographics at a particular place before they walk through the door. Users can “scene tag” photos, rank venues and opt to receive text message notifications about food and drink specials and special happenings at their favorite haunts.

THE TECHNOLOGY

The app, which is now in eight US cities and is set to roll out in Boston, Philadelphia and Phoenix this fall, gets its real-time data on the scene through sensors and cameras that are placed at the entrance of each participating venue. It uses “people counting and facial detection technology” to capture information that is automatically sent to the app’s database. Users can preview the scene at a particular spot, or check a color-coded map to see which areas are “lively,” “hoppin” or “hot spots” (based on how many people are there). They can also browse bars through the app’s advanced filters, including average age, percentage of male or female patrons and user ratings. Venue owners have to opt-in to have the technology installed at their business and be included in the SceneTap scene. In exchange, it allows them to better analyze their foot traffic and customer demographics.

THE DEBATE

With this kind of technology, the release of the app doesn’t come without a little controversy. In other cities, privacy issues have been called into question and some call it a “creepy” app for men to pick up women. But, Harper maintains that the app utilizes facial detection software, not facial recognition software and that no video or images are stored at any time. Whether it’s another incarnation of Big Brother or a useful new tool, we’ll let you be the judge—leave us a comment and let us know what you think. Learn more about SceneTap and download the free app at scenetap.com.


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