The New Weapon Against Underage Drinking is a Phone App?

The market for smartphone applications or “apps” has exploded over the last few years as web savvy entrepreneurs continue to think of new and increasingly remarkable uses for the average consumer’s smartphone. One demographic in particular that these entrepreneurs are continually trying to target is teenagers, who are uniquely positioned to provide a major marketing push thanks to their social media knowhow.

Interestingly enough, one software company recently released an iPhone app that targets teens not from a marketing perspective, but rather from a law enforcement perspective.

Intellicheck Mobilisa, the company behind the software for the majority of ID scanners here in the U.S., released a new app entitled barZap that is specifically designed to cut down on the incidence of underage drinking by enabling bartenders, bouncers and liquor store clerks to easily identify fake IDs.

barZap, which has been downloaded over 1,000 times since its release on July 1, can detect several varieties of fake IDs, including second-hand, expired licenses of older relatives, licenses that have had non-encrypted information altered, and advanced fake licenses with compromised bar codes.

Furthermore, it is significantly cheaper and easier to maintain than traditional ID scanners, costing either $1.99 for a limited trial or $19.95 a month for an unlimited number of scans.

After barZap is installed and opened, the bartender, bouncer or liquor store clerk can point their iPhone at the ID’s bar code. From there, the app will proceed to pull out the relevant data (age, expiration date, height, weight, etc.) and display it on a pop up screen, informing the user if the ID is indeed valid.

Given its relative ease of use and affordability, it’s highly likely that barZap will become the primary weapon of choice against underage drinking among bar, restaurant and nightclub owners. It should be interesting to see just how effective it proves to be.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Company debuts iPhone app that could spike underage drinking,” Steven Nelson, July 26, 2013

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