| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Innovation & Startups

New technology helps customers answer the question: Is it bumpin'?


New technology answers the question: Is it bumpin'?
 
If you've been to Commonplace Voluto lately, you may have noticed a new device lurking by the door. Then again, it's so discrete that you may have overlooked it. The device, installed just about two weeks ago, is the technology behind IsItBump.in?an intended solution for people who want to make the most of their time and avoid waiting in long lines.
 
The device is the brainchild of Matthew Pegula, creative software engineer at Deeplocal and longtime Commonplace Voluto customer, who enjoys pursuing personal projects off the clock.
 
"Deeplocal keeps me plenty busy, but it's fun to work on projects like this with no real deadlines that let you explore ideas."
 
His other side projects include apps Baby Selfie and the popular Yinztagram, which lets you pose with such Pittsburgh greats as Rick Sebak and a Primanti Bros. sandwich.
 
The idea for IsItBump.in came to Pegula when waiting in a long line at the grocery store.
 
"I thought, 'I wouldn't have come if I knew it was so busy.'"
 
That got him thinking about how he could know how busy places were before he left his house.
 
"I'm a new dad and time is tight—so if I can avoid waiting in line and use those 15 minutes doing something else, it's a big win," he says.
 
Using infrared sensors, the device detects people entering and exiting, keeping a running count. Numbers are reported back to a central server every minute and saved. Data is then made available via the website and an application program interface. The technology uses historical data to make predictions about when places will be busy to help people optimize their time.
 
"A coffee shop is a good example test bed because it's a place that doesn't take reservations, or have a seating policy. [It's a place] that you might get to and have to leave if they're too busy," says Pegula.
 
He says the test site is seeing consistent usage and encouraging trends.
 
Megan Drew, manager at Commonplace Voluto says, "People are just curious about it. We haven't noticed a change in business."
 
Other locations are currently in the works, including a test box at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Boxes are also en route to Australia and France.
 
"We've received lots of interest and we're planning our approach for fine tuning and getting it out there en masse," he says.
 
Pegula wants people to put it anywhere they have to wait or are inconvenienced if it's too busy, such as Laundromats, grocery stores and banks.
 
"The big picture is to make the devices cheap/easy enough that anyone can buy them and deploy them anywhere on their own," he says. "So, even if your local coffee shop didn't want to install IsItBump.in, you could buy one and do it on your own so you knew when it was busy."
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts