The End of Location Based Applications ?

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. 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 its 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 shouldnt  brick and mortar establishments  ?

Even more interesting is the fact that Facebook provides a database of 500mm 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.

87 thoughts on “The End of Location Based Applications ?

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  5. You know what would be an additional way to monitize a service like this? – Retail past purchase recoginition.
    If you could identify a shopper on the fly and thier location within a closed store – you could send an audio file of thier sales history (and recommendations) via blue tooth to a floor sales representative’s earpiece explaining who to look for, thier name and what to suggest. It should greatly increase customer service, increase sales with the recommendations, and maximize a sales rep’s impact by filtering out ‘browsers’ and focusing on purchasers. The technology you describe could become the engine behind apps like this. In fact, now that I think about it – if you guys create an API, let me know and I’ll build this “retail recoginition and recommendation system” on top of it. That would be fun. DM @sphoward

    Comment by thoughtsought -

  6. Mark’s blog topic should bring at least some ethical concern. Automation can be beneficial in positive or negative phenomena. I hope we can all strive to construct for human benefit. To Develop for positive creation and not destruction.

    Comment by zonedevsoftware -

  7. wasnt tom cruise in this movie??? except it was retena
    capture instead of facial..

    Comment by mverinder -

  8. good…

    Comment by c0mpex -

  9. ı not understand

    Comment by sherkan123 -

  10. Mr. Cuban,
    I believe this is a great idea for the future. I recently read an article in Entrepreneur magazine, and you had invested in a company that in return is making great money ( I have noticed that you like to invest in company’s in which you believe profit can be made.
    I don’t know if you will read this, but I have tried to get a old of you for an idea. I believe it is the future in many categories, and will represent a change in time.

    Comment by alienadvertising -

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  13. The End Of Location Based Applications This İs Good Post

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  16. Pingback: Facial Recognition – The future is near. « FiftyandFive's Blog

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  19. I had an interesting thought the other day – I was shopping online and wondered if my local Wal Mart had the products I was shopping for. Easier to just drive to the store, right? So I thought: Why not have cameras set up in every store and you can go online and view in real time the actual stock on the shelves of the store? But then I realized you’d see your high school math teacher standing in front of a row of porn magazines and realize how technology can sometimes sound great – but often times be quite evil.

    Comment by robbymulvany -

  20. – we do this type of facial recognition over the web and elsewhere.

    Comment by facedouble -

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  22. Mark,

    I agree with your vision on how “location services” will work in the future. Where you miss the target is on the how to. Face does not scale up in large populations, nor even in modest ones. Iris does. Iris also protects people’s right to privacy by means of something I invented called “Identification In Anonimity”. I know all this because I invented the state of the art iris-based identity management/location technologies/solutions in use today across Bank of America, NSA, USAF the Pentagon, and many others across the world.

    My team and I are in the process of creating a newco to go after the global consumer market. It may be interesting to meet and exchange ideas with a view to a possible collaboration. We can show you what we do and how, and what we are planning to and why it will dominate the world of identity management to which location services are tied to.



    Hector Hoyos, Chairman, President, CEO
    Global Rainmakers, Inc (GRI)
    10 E 53rd ST
    33rd Floor
    NY, NY 10022

    Comment by hectorhoyos -

  23. So correct. Future is off angle Iris Recognition. The company with the fast track is mentioned in this release.

    Should interest an IU grad!

    Comment by vaiwest -

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  25. Sorry Mark but it’ll never fly. You’re investing in something that the general public will never allow. It’s a total infringement on our right to privacy.

    I know my iPhone apps can give me my current location, but only when I ask for it. Only when I’ve launched that application. I personally will never use an application that will tell someone else where I’m located 24 hrs a day. I wouldn’t even do that to my children.

    Regardless of privacy laws, I just don’t see the application other than as a tool that can be used to spy on people or for statistical purposes.

    If I’m a business owner and I can see exactly how many people are near my store (that have “checked-in”, what should I do? Post a 50% off sign only when there are more than 20 people in the area in HOPES that they’ll actually stop in and buy something? Knowing that there are people in the area does not mean people will walk into my store, much less buy anything.

    I just don’t get it.

    Comment by hawkman02 -

  26. First time visitor… came to the MC blog expecting to find an Idea Exchange, per the media descriptions of “The Mark Cuban Stimulus Plan”.
    For some reason, I ended up on this thread.

    While the concept of the ‘stimulus’ offering is enticing and ‘news grabbing’, is cumbersome and somewhat arcane. If Monsieur Mark were truly interested in assisting entreprenuers, he would create a dedicated website to that end without restrictive rules. There are orders of magnitude more IDEAS needing venture capital, which are potentially more significant in terms of economic impact and sustainability. The ‘next greatest thing’ is not going to come from a flash-in-the-pan 90 day wonder!

    That being said, the [invested in] concept of video tracking, while potentially profitable, is egregiously invasive. On that basis alone, it is IMMORAL! Whose side is MC on anyway? The extension to facial recognition reminds me of ‘The Minority Report’…. Why not invest in consumer assistive startups?

    Comment by bojonson -

  27. Sorry … hit submit to quick… website is

    Comment by jquade -

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  32. If “Location Check in is so 2010” then I guess I’d better get moving on developing that permanent false ID on the ‘net.

    Comment by chrisyoura -

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  39. Hey Mark,

    Not sure how else to contact you, so will start here. Thanks for the time.

    Will you please come to CA. & rescue us L.A. Kings fans from the horrible ownership & GM we currently have ?

    You are the type of well, maverick owner this city & team needs, & it gets you a permanent place inside Staples Center!

    AEG does not want to pay for their hockey team, rather, they pay a boatload for a flake of a soccer player, in Beckham, they builkd rinks in Europe, invested in the never to ne Michael Jackson concert as well as many other real estate transactions, but God forbid they pay for the prized possessions in this off season’s Free Agent market, Ilya Kovalchuk, as they wouldn’t match or surpass the NJ Devils offer

    Many sources say he & his wife wanted to come out here; him to play & she to advnce her aspiring music career. But Dean Lombardi & Tim Leiweke lowballed him an offer & he walked away.

    This team is young, made the playoffs last season for the first time in a long while but we lack a true sniper, a proven goal scorer. Kovalchuk, since he came in the loeague, 9 years ago, no one has scored more goals than he; he has had 6 consecutive seasons of 40+ goals & that is exactly what we need here, a prolific scorer, but they won’t pay for it, only for other business ventures non King related.

    I know it’s a longshot Mark, but please give it some thought for all us original fans – i have followed them since their inception in 1967 & have little to get excited about, other than a few seasons when the Kings played the Bruins in the late 70’s, the cup run in 93 with Wayne & now, this team is on the cusp, but lack of a true sniper will see us adbance no further. & since the Kings lowballed him & wasted 2 weeks, they got none of the top tiered Unrestricted Free Agents & are now stuck, regardless of what Dean says, as there’s no great scoeres left, only a fewe Restricted Free Agents & they risk losing alot inm making offers or the same goes for a trade.

    Okay, thanks for your time & I am dead serious when I ask you to consider buying the Kings & finally bring the Cup to SoCal!


    pleasae excuse my typing/typos as i have neuropathy in my hands.

    Comment by losangeleskingsfan -

  40. This idea is stupid, and I hope it doesn’t take off. Geolocation is a way bigger deal. Cuban’s just trying to get attention for his new thing. Boo!

    Comment by josephwesley -

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  42. Great, another reason to leave Facebook.

    Comment by Dawn -

  43. Let me know when phase II gets under way. A few quick edits to my Facebook page and profile picture and voila, bands play “Hail to the Chief” when I walk into a room! Alternately, someone I don’t like gets some dark suited federal types who address him as “Mr. Bin-Laden”.

    Comment by crispy2000 -

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  47. the casinos have been doing face recognition for a while…I think when NJ enacted the RICO laws to keep the Mafia out….

    I like the face recognition stuff w/ check in/out for the retail industry it will be sort of like what happens on the web where someone knows “someone” was there…and how long and in some cases where they were on the site. This will give a whole new set of stats for many industries trying to recover in this economy by seeing who checks in, how long, and maybe someday…what they were looking at exactly…(maybe integrate bar code reading software into the app……. 🙂

    Comment by mkratz01 -

  48. Pingback: Checking In…with Your Face? | Tech News Ninja

  49. I can’t help but to imagine that, if the “founding fathers” of this country knew how much our privacy was gonna get @$$-raped in the future, protection of privacy would have been one of the cornerstone tenets of the Constitution.

    So now Facebook isn’t just a colossal waste of time, it intends to be the point man for Big Brother? Yeah, I’m sold.

    Anyone who thinks this is a good idea should do some research on the “panopticon.”

    Comment by sinisterx -

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  53. I’m glad I cancelled facebook before it turned public if every joe-blow company thinks they can use Facebook as a database.

    I guess this goes back to a previous post about how you are selling your privacy for the social connections on facebook. I guess everything is worth a price. My privacy for a personalized coupon when I walk in the door?

    Fuuuuuuuck that

    Comment by kjnickell21 -

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  58. Sounds very interesting. I saw something similar on CNN, you can watch it on YouTube:

    The video shows a similar concept that is being running as a trial in Japan.

    Comment by Elicoi -

  59. Would be interesting to have you predictions for 2014 then please write something here
    Co-sponsored by Tellmewhere

    Comment by Phil Jeudy -

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  62. What are people on foursquare spending time doing? It seems to me they’re mostly just checking in to places. If you take that away you have to find something else for them to do that keeps your site in mind.

    Checking in isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

    Comment by akkartik -

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  65. Convenience seems to be a weak selling point, when it comes to privacy – unless you give users control. I’m interested to see what key factors will drive user adoption.

    On a side note, from a biz / geek standpoint, I love it. From a user standpoint, I loathe it. I think you will find similar polarizing views. Perhaps, that’s why I’m attracted to it. 😉


    Comment by tzmartin -

  66. I can clearly see the opportunities presented by this innovative technology. However, it sounds very Orwellian, and could potentially become Big Brother. My primary concern is prevention of that eventuality.

    Comment by spakona -

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  69. Mark,

    Definitely think this is where the market is heading. I actually use AIM “Anonymous Impression Metrics” in our interactive digital signage network in hotel lobbies through a camera system built into our 50 inch devices. We actually have 20 hotels in DFW. We pull in almost 200,000 impressions a month of travelers and know if they are male, female, approximate age and how long they interact. We actually match the time stamps to give our sponsors exactly who was interacting, “ex. Male 30 to 40, at 3:30 pm interacted for 4.6 seconds”. Our sponsors are eating it up, they have never seen data like this before much less a measurable ROI and hotels know have data that never existed. Some of your boys from back in day have seen it. This technology really moves us far beyond pay per click into a per impression actual impression where we can begin to hyper-target.

    Like where your heads at on this one. Check us out:

    – Best

    Comment by jp8879 -

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  71. I think this really is step one. Before you can extract value you have to add value. What you’ve done is to expose a “potential” opportunity. It can’t be verified yet because you are not identifying the user, so you might as well be point to cows in a field. If you can make contact with the individuals and obtain their permission to share their location whilst also allowing them to opt out that will be the second step. The third step will be identifying the value that you can offer them. Check out the article in today’s NYT regarding Bynamite – they’ve figured it out – data (specifically my meta data) can be exchanged in return for value. The problem to solve is how to obtain that meta data with as little friction as possible. (A problem we’ve been working on now for 4 1/2 years and have solved for Mobile devices).

    5o9 Inc.

    Comment by Peter Cranstone -

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  73. It’s an interesting theory. Both facial recognition software and location-based services are only as good as the information they provide. The problem with Foursquare is that the information isn’t accurate. Facial recognition software could be. That could provide some interesting information to businesses.
    The thing is that any retail store should already be collecting this information, even if it’s not through futuristic technology or through social media applications. That’s why there are reward cards, email lists, catalogs, etc. – so that businesses can keep track of you and information on you.
    The problem isn’t in the information. Sure this would allow you to track everyone who enters your store, but any good business already tracks when their most frequent customers make purchases. The problem is that none of them use it for anything meaningful. No retail establishment has felt the need to innovate beyond email newsletters that coincide with your payday. Rather than collecting more information, stores should instead be thinking of more creative ways to use the information they already have.
    I do agree that location based apps need to get a lot better or just go away. If we’re all honest with ourselves, when’s the last time you used Foursquare or Gowalla to accomplish anything useful?

    Comment by Parker Short -

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  76. Sounds like a great investment. Does it sounds as an end to location-based applications? No! It sounds as an add-on to a location-based service via API such as . But from the brief description I see it more as a package for stores who will be willing to use the software to learn more about their customers.

    Also, although the tech sounds awesome, and it will work with Facebook or use Facebook to login/access Facebook’s 500 million users, I think this kind of technology for interacting with costumers is still 3-5 years away for at least being acceptable among every day customers and not just the tech bubble.

    So at this time long live location-based applications. I’m interesting in hearing more about your new investemnt and hopefully its something location-based services and businesses can use together to offer value to customers.

    Comment by Wayne Sutton -

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  78. The facial recognition portion is gonna to be gangster for law enforcement and such. Incredible times we are living in.

    Comment by profitmoffatt -

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  80. Also there is a need for traffic information at airport security checkpoints. So consumers know how long to expect the wait to be. I believe the TSA provides this info but it is not real-time and I have seen people complain that buy iphone apps to get the info.

    Comment by nathanfrantz -

  81. I imagine this will also have great potential for military applications as well. Having a real time headcount on the enemy, and for that matter of the allies during international co-ops, could be very useful.

    Comment by nathanfrantz -

  82. Yes this

    Comment by tdougherty21 -

  83. Can’t they do this already by pinging people’s cell phones in a given area? No extra hardware necessary and less privacy concerns.

    Most of the time I don’t want to check-in automatically. I don’t want people to know how many times I frequent Mcdonalds. Sometimes I don’t want people to know where I am. This along with privacy concerns would have to make it an opt-in system, which would exclude the vast majority of people.

    Comment by Doug M. -

  84. We would love to leverage the core identification and “traffic” technology for our in-dev inventory management software. We manage multiple facilities and can see your technology greatly improving inventory audits and time based transaction accounting. Let us know when devs can get a peak. Bravo Mark!

    Comment by umesh3000 -

  85. I think this is jacked up because of the big brother part of your second phase. People change their Facebook profile picture often and 70% of people have their Facebook pages locked down so you can not see anything unless your a friend. As for replacing a check in why? These services have zero value unless it gets you to buy something. Foursquare does not require a purchase. That is a defect. So your service might check me in when I go to say a store. And say I go and browse 200 times in a year but don’t buy anything. How do you plan to get me to buy? Your going to offer me something..just like the 3 gazillion other businesses that all want me to buy? So its a big spam network?

    Sorry to be the devils advocate here Mark because I admire you to no end. Hell I wish it was you who owned the Knicks vs the crap that does now. But opting in is very powerful. But after Opting in it becomes push advertising, Geo-Fences? Push. Fake Loyalty SMS/2-D bar codes – Push. We don’t want push. Push = spam.

    So you need to craft this very carefully so that marketers and brands find value in it. All these digital ad networks have been a money suck with negative ROI for almost everything outside of search. We don’t need another negative ROI product. Too many exist.

    Comment by Free the Cows -

  86. If Amazon can “welcome us back” and offer us personalized specials, why shouldn’t brick and mortar establishments?

    March 2011:
    “Hello Father, I have a question about Easter services….”

    “One moment, my son…”

    “hmmm, Do you need a map to the church? We haven’t moved it since Christmas!”

    “Umm. What? Okay. See ya Sunday!”

    “And WE’LL see YOU!”


    Comment by danphx64 -

  87. Sounds like another great investment. Just when we think we are all “tech’d” out, some company comes through and offers us the next big thing (trend). So what company is launching this?

    Comment by lizalde210 -

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