The Tech Herald

Citysense provides mobile nightlife location

by Stevie Smith - Jun 10 2008, 15:06

Sense Networks launches the alpha version of its Citysense location application. Image: Sense Networks/RIM.

Eager to sample the tantalising nightlife of a new town or city but not quite sure where best to sip on trendy cocktails or throw some groove-busting shapes? Armed with an ever-willing mobile device and a focused sense of entertainment-based purpose? Then allow New York’s Sense Networks to be your guide via its new Citysense nightlife discovery application.

While perhaps not the most vitally important piece of software you’re ever likely to embrace, when it comes to rooting out the best destinations for a little well-earned R&R then the real-time social navigation and nightlife location abilities of Citysense are the equivalent of that candle-burning best friend who knows every haunt worth frequenting.

Launched this week alongside the company’s new Macrosense software platform, the alpha version of Citysense arrives as a mobile mapping application that users can rely on for highlighting nightlife hotspots in real-time based upon current location.

Initially rolling out in San Francisco, Citysense users will be able to identify the busiest (or most popular) entertainment locations, while the application will also leverage knowledge based on years of historic data in order to focus on hotspots with a long-standing record of high activity.

“Citysense demonstrates the power of combining anonymous, aggregate location data for social navigation,” outlined Sandy Pentland, Chief Privacy Advocate, co-founder of Sense Networks, and Director of Human Dynamics Research at MIT. “The idea is similar to automobile GPS systems sharing and pooling current road speed conditions so that everyone can avoid congestion.”

Sense Networks has also revealed the Macrosense platform, which collects massive amounts of anonymous data emitted from mobile phone handsets and automobiles. The platform then analyses the received data through machine-learning technology and against billions of historic data points. The upshot of the platform is that it provides business and investors to quantify aggregate consumer behaviours and isolate real-time macro trends in spending and sentiment.

“Just as Google indexed pages on the Internet to optimize web discovery, Sense Networks has indexed the real places in a city and characterized them by activity, versus proximity or demographics, to better understand the context of consumers’ offline behavior,” explained Tony Jebara, Chief Scientist, co-founder of Sense Networks, and Director of the Machine Learning Laboratory at Columbia University.

Citysense is currently compatible with RIM’s popular BlackBerry smartphone, through which interested partygoers looking to get the jump on fellow revellers when it comes to having an informed thumb on a city’s pulse can download the application’s alpha version. An iPhone version of the application will be available from Apple’s upcoming App Store.

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