CHICAGO, September 5, 2012 — At least once in everyone’s adult life they have gone out with friends only to stuggle to find the right place to socialize. The local watering hole, the dance club, the new microbrewery doesn’t live up to the hype. What happens after is a dance more uncomfortable than the Macarena or Cha-Cha slide. You’re already somewhere and need to find a different venue. Each person posing a different idea and some, if not all, growing increasingly impatient.
Apps have been “yelpful” but they are a snapshot of the bar or venue at a given time in the past. What you really need to to know is how that venue is currently. Cole Harper, cofounder and CEO of SceneTap, has developed a way to make that possible.
He talks below about why he created SceneTap, how it can eventually be used for more everyday tasks and when you can classify a bar as a brodeo.
1. How does SceneTap work?
SceneTap answers the question you and your friends ask each other every Friday and Saturday night - “Where should we go out?” The app works by using anonymous facial detection software and other programs to approximate the age, gender and number of people at a venue. Users can get a snapshot of real-time information, only in the form of data, on their smartphones or over the web. Users can also check out food and drink specials, live events and other cool features to help them decide where to go. On the flip side, the operators of SceneTap venues receive powerful data on foot traffic and customer demographics to better understand their trends. They also have the ability to measure the effectiveness of their marketing and advertising efforts.
2. What made you think to do this? Personal experience?
I was headed out with my friend (and SceneTap cofounder Marc Doering) one weekend when we started adding up how much money we were wasting on cabs trying to find a place that wasn’t too empty and had the right crowd for us. We’d get to one spot and it’d be dead. The next place was packed but had a young demographic. I knew that others faced similar pain points and decided we would find a way to collect and share information on the social scene in an entirely automated way.
3. What are the short-term, long-term goals for SceneTap?
Short term, SceneTap is gearing up to launch in several more cities around the U.S. SceneTap is currently live in eight cities, including Chicago, Austin, Milwaukee, San Francisco and several college towns. We have more launches planned in the near future and we’re constantly making connections across the country where SceneTap would fit in with the local scene. Sales have been completed in over 30 domestic markets to date.
SceneTap just celebrated its one-year anniversary in July. Long term, we plan to continue expanding our technology into new industries and start socializing the information in a way that improves our lives. One day, you’ll get home from work and use SceneTap to determine if it’s the optimal time to go to the gym or get your grocery shopping out of the way.
4. What is an ideal male-to-female ratio at the bar? At what level can it be labeled a brodeo?
For bars, on average, a 55/45 split is a realistic goal, though it depends on what marketing and advertising efforts the venue operator is making. If a headliner DJ is playing or if there’s a trivia night, the ratio is usually a little more favorable. For lounges and nightclub environments, a 1:1 ratio or better is the target for operators. The male-to-female ratio alone means little, though, without also knowing the crowd size and the age demographics of the patrons. SceneTap offers all these elements.
The “ideal scene” varies from person to person, which is why SceneTap focuses on a wide array of venue types, locations, genres, etc. From a bar operator perspective, once the ratio becomes greater than 3:1 (75%+ males), they consider their venue to be more of a “brodeo” and look for ways to change the trend either immediately or in the near future.
5. What’s next for you?
We’ve begun setting up all sorts of partnerships and strategic relationships, ranging from music and entertainment to professional sports, retail and charities. I’ve spent most of my time connecting those bridges so SceneTap can move 100 times faster by the end of 2012. This time next year, I want to be celebrating the launch of SceneTap in Tel Aviv while simultaneously helping people determine the wait time in airports so they can get through security and come join us.
Stay tuned, and be sure to follow us at @SceneTap to find out.
Jeff Barrett is a recognized leader in public relations, experiential marketing and social media. Co-Founder of Status Creative, 2011 PRNewswire Award Winner for “Best Use of Video In Social Media” and record holder for Most Strikeouts in Tee-Ball.
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