by Bethaney Wallace

How many times have you been heading to a bar and thought, “I only want to go if there’s 63 percent women, and the average male age group is 20-28?” All the time, right? This thought, the fear of undesirable gender ratios, is what keeps you at home on Saturday nights. Luckily, though, there’s a new app that can provide this very information. With a simple download, you can be on your way to attending clubs and bars with specific demographic stats – every nightgoer’s dream, right?

SceneTap, the culprit, gives smartphone users the opportunity to check out a “scene” before they even show up. Just take a look at the app to find out the male/female ratio, as well as age demographics. But here’s the kicker … users don’t check in to be identified. A camera at the club’s entrance scans faces to determine your sex and age before logging it into a computer. Unlike similar attempts at the club breakdown app, SceneTap is able to scan each and every person in the bar, whether they’re aware or not.

Technical Aspects

According to the app’s website, their “facial recognition technology” is used purely to identify and keep stats. Their footage is erased minutes after a scan has been completed – which takes place every 15 minutes – and no copies are made. And as far as accuracy, the app is said to be 90 percent correct, with ages differing between three and five years on those who were not accurately identified.

As for those who’ve seen the app in action, however, the reviews are coming in lower. MUCH lower. To test the app, users went to a certain bar to check its stats. Despite there being only two or three patrons present, the app stated the bars were more than half full of young women, men’s numbers were trailing, and most were in their mid to lower 20s. These same users said they’re in no hurry to trust the company because bars pay a subscription, therefore it’s in SceneTap’s best monetary interest to offer fact adjustments.

The Creep Factor

Despite whether or not users are in favor of using SceneTap on their phones, it can still affect the way you live your life. Just entering a business that uses the technology means a scanned face and becoming another stat in SceneTap’s skewed chart system. Not only is this an invasion of privacy, it’s just plain creepy. Who wants to be virtually scanned and identified each time they step into a club? The only way I’d let SceneTap check my grill was so it could incorrectly guess my age.

Luckily though, the program is only set up in major metropolitan areas, including Chicago, Athens, and Milwaukee. My guess is that Kansas, especially small towns, isn’t exactly high priority. For now at least, I can continue to party in peace.


Screen shot taken from 7-16-12.