Why corporate innovation execs should know Placemeter

Anyone in the retail or restaurant business knows how challenging it can be to get good data about prospective new locations — or what is happening at a competitor’s location a few blocks away. Innovation Leader recently met with a Manhattan startup called Placemeter that has a radical new approach to collecting that kind of information in real-time: it pays anyone to stick a spare smartphone in a window, and stream video over a wifi connection about what is happening on the street and sidewalk outside.

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The company also gathers video from public webcams — like those run by the New York City Department of Transportation — and analyzes it to count the number of cars and pedestrians streaming past a particular storefront. Placemeter can even track how people enter a location. (The cameras don’t try to identify individuals or specific vehicles, so there’s no way to know if the same person is walking or driving down the street several times each day. Placemeter also doesn’t store video after it has been analyzed.) It’s worth watching the two demo videos below.

Placemeter’s Jason Novack tells me the startup isn’t building specific applications for customers right now, but instead is focused on creating “a platform that enables a wide variety of users to answer all kinds of questions.”

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