Special Assignment

New app uses facial detection technology to track bar patrons

CREATED Nov. 13, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov. 13, 2012

  • Print
  • Video by wtmj.com

    video

MILWAUKEE - Ever have a hard time figuring out a place to go for a few drinks with friends? Now there's "SceneTap", a new app that tells you what to expect at a bar, before you even walk in the door.

"I could definitely see me and my friends sitting around, checking this out, as we try to make a decision which bar we're gonna go to," bar patron named Andrew says.

Sensors and cameras are mounted in the bars. They can tell approximately how many people are in the bar, the average age of customers, and female/male ratio -- thanks to facial detection technology.

Greta is out at Karma Bar in Milwaukee. When TODAY'S TMJ4 shows her the app, she says, "It's kinda creepy, but at the same time, if you want to know that information I could see how that could be really helpful."

TJ Rilling is a National Account Manager for SceneTap.  He says there's no reason to be concerned about privacy. "All of our detection software is completely anonymous, so there's no ability to determine individuals, it's more of a specific demographic."

About 23 bars in Milwaukee are tapped in so far. Oak Lounge co-owner Jared Siemers is impressed with the accuracy.

"I didn't believe it actually was gonna be, but we actually track it, and it is," Siemers says.

On this particular night, Karma is posted as being 'Lively', with a ratio of 55% women to 45% men.  Andrew exclaims, "I like those odds! I think I would go to bars with women. Bars with more women than bars with more men!"

Milwaukee is one of the first cities to get SceneTap. The app is free and continues to expand to cities across the U.S.