I just invested in a company that takes video of an area and can tell you exactly how many people are in the capture area at any given time. It’s great for traffic patterns, security, and much more. We are posting cameras in certain environments where anonymity is required, and we don’t and won’t capture faces or anything that could identify an individual. We will simply provide incredibly accurate traffic information and patterns. It's a great application with great opportunity.
The next extension is to install it in places where we can add facial-recognition software. So rather than someone checking in to a specific application, we would already know you are there.
Of course, there would have to be “opt out” mechanisms. Of course, there would be a battle over whether or not a store or venue should be “opt in” vs automated recognition. But that’s not a software issue.
The reality is that it solves “the path of least resistance” issue with check-ins for location-based software. Individuals never do any of the work. The store/host recognizes you are there and rewards you for allowing your identity and information to be captured and linked. If Amazon can “welcome us back” and offer us personalized specials, why shouldn't brick and mortar establishments?
Even more interesting is the fact that Facebook provides a database of 500 million people and their names from around world. While not all profile pictures are going to be valid in facial-recognition software, most will.
Few people exclude their basic name and picture information from public search, so FB could be the first to provide a database of names and faces to the commercial world of facial recognition.
Location check-in is so 2010.
(Image source: nned.net)