Though facial recognition technology isn't exactly flavor of the month at the moment, it could prove popular among revelers queuing at a busy bar. British data science company DataSparQ has introduced the A.I. Bar service, which helps bar staff decide who needs serving next by putting customers in a virtual queue.
Getting served at a busy bar can be something of a fine art. Or maybe just pure luck. But there's one thing for sure, it's not exactly fair – especially when some chancer cuts in and gets served before everyone else. It's not the fault of bar staff, who are often faced with a long wall of tightly-packed bodies all vying for attention. But DataSparQ says that its A.I. Bar could bring an end to all that.
"Queuing is a part of British life that we all have to endure – but we wanted to do something to improve the experience," said the company's John Wylie. "It's the uncertainty of waiting times alongside queue jumpers that's adversely affecting consumer behaviors in bars and pubs. The A.I. Bar ensures it's a hassle free, first come, first served system that makes ordering drinks more convenient for both drinkers and bar staff alike."
It works by scanning folks as they approach the bar and displaying a live video feed on a screen above the bar. Customers are allocated a number, which appears above their heads as if in a real-world version of The Sims computer game. The number represents a reveler's place in the queue.
Customers can look at the screen at any time to see where they are in the virtual queue, and even get an estimate of how long it will be before they get served. Bar staff are able to see who's next on an iPad screen, but the system is also able to help with ID checks too.
If a customer in the virtual queue is determined to be under 25 by the system, customers will be prompted to have their ID ready for inspection, and bar staff will even be informed if such checks have already been undertaken.
DataSparQ is currently working on tweaking the A.I. Bar tech so that customer orders will be saved to memory during a session, allowing customers to re-order from within a queue so that the drinks are waiting for them at the bar. Simple hand signals would be used to let the system know if a customer's order requirements have changed since the last order.
The A.I. Bar technology has been trialed at a cocktail bar in London, with bartender Luka Kovijanić telling the Evening Standard: "It enables us to maximize our pouring potential and cuts out the need for sharp elbows. The regulars still moan about the price of a pint but now they can't moan about who's next in line."
DataSparQ will be offering the A.I. package - which makes use of a webcam, display screen and internet connection – to landlords as a software-as-a-service product from £199 (about US$240) per month. Customer privacy is respected, with collected data deleted within 24 hours. The video below has more.
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