Big Data is the new IT at present, just like mobile phones were in the middle of 2000. The prevalence of large, dense data sets and tools to analyze them, is simply becoming one of the new de-facto layers of the computation stack. It is deeply changing the way software and systems are architected and developed, since it is taken into account at the design stage as a full part of a system. Moving ahead with this trend is New York based startup Placemeter, started by Alex Winter (founder and CEO) and co-founder Florent Peyre.
The Pain of Waiting is Resolved
You know you need to stand in a long queue if you are going for grocery shopping on a weekend, still you end up being in that line. You expect that a particular coffee shop will be less crowded but you end up in the most crowded coffee shop, or wish to be partying but find the bar empty! It’s irritating when you expect something and you face exactly its opposite. Placemeter puts into use feeds from public videos and computer vision algorithms to come up with a real-time data layer about places, roads, weather and neighboring areas.
You end up being at these unexpectedly over crowded places because you usually miss out on some crucial information about how places are or how they will be before you actually go there. Placemeter does not want you to face these situations over and over again, especially knowing that the world is getting more and more instrumented, and that activity data is (almost) there for you to grab- but with a little bit of rocket-science ofcourse!
Placemeter consumer app can tell you in real time whether a grocery store of your choice is packed up or not. If the wait time is long there, you will be notified, and you can shift to some other shop or probably opt for another day. Placemeter is smart enough to tell you which day it would be nice for you to be at that grocery store! If you are looking for a quiet coffee shop to do some work between two meetings, Placemeter app comes handy to giving you exact recommendations.
The range for Placemeter does not end here. Suppose you wish to rent or buy a house that the realtor tells is on a quiet block. Placemeter app can identify whether there has been a rise in car traffic over last 6 months or more. You can choose to stay on that block or shift to another one after checking through all the data Placemeter provides.
Measuring Process + Weather-based-Crowd
Placemeter measures activity in places using video streams. They can be public streams.Its community of users can also provide video streams in a very seamless and free way. Once it has these streams, its unique computer vision technology can count people and vehicles. It can detect how many people are coming in and out of places, and infer how many people are inside at any point of time. That is how Placemeter measures how busy a place is!
Once Placemeter has the data, it correlates its activity with weather conditions and local events- Some places are busier when it’s nice out, some are busier on rainy or cold day- Placemeter can automatically detect that. It uses weather forecasts to predict how places will be in the future. Needless to say, if there is a street closure or a parade in the neighborhood, that will also affect the traffic. Placemeter even has that in its predictions!
No wrong Guesses or False alerts
If you need to grab a quick bite, you can turn to Placemeter app to know which restaurant will serve you fastest. Time is too precious, and Placemeter understands that. It also understands how much you worry about your home when you are miles away. So, Placemeter also plays the role of a diligent guard. You can receive instant alerts of any abnormal activity in your block. So, you can bring down your old smartphone, download this app and put it over your window with the help of a suction cup that Placemeter team will send you for free.
Placemeter’s Future Plans
Placemeter works on Android and iOS for now. Its consumer application has sensing features so that when you use it, it senses the world around you. A lot of computation power and sensors found on modern phones are put into use.
Currently, Placemeter will be busy measuring places in New York. The first application will be released this fall for New York. In about 9 months, Placemeter team will start laying out battle plans to deploy it in more US cities like Chicago, Boston, San Francisco.
Placemeter is made with love in NYC
With a backing of some renowned investors, founders of Placemeter agree that NYC is a great place if you are looking for angel investors rather than VCs. An extremely social and dense environment in NYC makes getting connected to many people really easy. There are many bright people around you, all you need to do is take home what inspires you the most. There will be many people praising your product. For a change, ignore that and dig into what they have pointed out as a folly, or what they haven’t talked about. That’s how Placemeter has been growing, and soon it will searching places for each one of you right on your smartphone!
Wish to know more? Check out their pitch from Tech Stars NYC 2013 Demo Day right here!