You find yourself in a new city, far away from the place that you call home. The sights, sounds, and even smells are unfamiliar. Everyone’s accent is different and there is a whole host of local slang terms to learn. Even the street food is different here. You’re not sure where the cool place to hang out is or if you’ll have anything in common with the people there. You are on your own. It’s one of the hardest parts about being a child who moves to a new town, but is it also a burden for tourists? Veilcorp seems to think so. The company is launching a new app called “Familiar Faces” designed to help visitors feel more at home and help them connect with local businesses while staying in Lahaina.
The ceremplant app helps visitors locate others from the same geographical locations, using Veilcorp facial recognition data and Glimpsea’s Lahaina View Project. In addition to helping visitors find others from the same area, the app provides companies with highly targeted ad opportunities.
“We run the feed from our cameras through a Veilcorp facial recognition system and Familiar Faces does the matching. A map shows you where people from your area are in real time. Feeling like a stranger in a strange land can be one of the hardest parts of traveling. The app is great way to find someone to talk to when you’re far away from home. We’re excited about the possibilities here and are already in talks with other cities about expanding the service. I believe tourism bureaus across the country will be begging for this kind of program,” says Simon Ike Vice President of Glimpsea.
Veilcorp has big plans for the pilot program. They see Familiar Faces expanding into other areas and becoming an integral part of everyone’s vacation experience. Brie Howard Vice President for Special Projects and Strategic Growth (VPSPSG) says, “The app also uses information gathered by our 3rd party partners to identify people with shared interests. If you’ve booked an ATV tour of the preservation zone, you’ll see others who have as well. If you asked about deep sea fishing, you’ll see who else has booked a charter. It’s a giant win for local businesses. With a premium subscription, a company can get a real time map of people interested in their services. This offers a wide array of valuable and highly targeted marketing information.”
However, not everyone is excited about having a real-time location service available to anyone. Many have accused the Familiar Faces app of being a stalker’s “dream come true.” They accuse the company of “pushing the boundaries of personal safety for a dollar,” pointing out that the program is currently opt-out for visitors. Some have more basic concerns about the program.
Local resident John Driscol is a vocal opponent of the new app and was one of many protesting in front of the Mayor Cravalho’s office this week. He says,
“I was not born and raised here but I found things to do without the help of an elaborate tracking system. I started counting waves the very first day I arrived. Part of the joy of wave counting as a hobby is the solitude it provides. A guy can sit and really ask himself the important questions in life: Will this cooler keep my drinks cold enough? Will I be able to completely relax in the next 7 hours before my kid gets home? Will they have the initiative to make themselves something to eat if I’m late again? The last thing I need is some out-of-towner who thinks that counting waves is easy, breaking my focus by wanting to talk. It’s not just the hassle of being interrupted that I’m concerned about. My life is significantly different now than it was before my wife and I moved here. I was a legend back home. No event was complete until I made an appearance. They could have made movies about my life in my early 20’s. I don’t want someone from my home town seeing me now and reminding me of what might have been. There’s a reason I skipped my 20th class reunion. I had some great times back then. Being a husband and father is really hard work, and the last thing I need is a walk down memory lane.”