Check the Weather, Check the Crowds

Placemeter Image

Everyday, we wake up and check the weather before heading out, but soon enough we could be checking how crowded our destination is — at least that’s what start-up venture Placemeter thinks.

Their technology uses algorithms to identify how many people are going in and out of venues or hot spots in a city. The idea is that you will be able to check how crowded your favorite coffeeshop is before you go, or how crowded that department store is, or whether you need to leave now to get in line for that concert. They currently use live-streams of various parts of NYC and they only need 2,000 more cameras to cover the entirety of Manhattan. The team is currently working on gathering data, and beta users are encouraged to mount their iphones on their windows with a provided suction cup to stream video over wifi to help with the data.

The service is somewhat similar to Waze, a corwsourced mapping service with 50M users and 70K contributing data.

<via techcrunch>

Why I’m Curious

As we get closer and closer to Minority Report status and companies can track our whereabouts, I’m becoming more curious about how willing people are to give up their data in exchange for value-adding efficiencies, whether its more targeted advertising or simply utility.

With this app in particular, I’m wondering if

a) enough people will opt to stream video from their phone

b) whether an mobile app will be rolled out for people on the go to see what their destination looks like

c) whether retail brands or entertainment brands will start leveraging this data to provide flash sales or promotions based on the number of people at their branch locations

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