iBeacon Technology Tapped to Unlock Location-Specific Newsstand Content on iOS Devices

Exact Editions, a London based digital publishing startup, has begun implementing Apple’s iBeacon microlocation receivers to deliver location-based access to iOS Newsstand publications, reports TechCrunch. The iBeacon receivers are used as a part of the company’s “ByPlace“ service, which can trigger location specific publications and other content once an iPhone or iPad is nearby.

In the first implementation of the program, patrons of Bar Kick in Shoreditch, UK can access soccer magazine “When Saturday Comes” and style magazine “Dazed & Confused” free of charge while at the bar, with the apps reverting to regular subscription status once out of range of Bar Kick’s iBeacons.

ibeacon_exacteditionA deployable iBeacon receiver

Exact Editions expects that selling subscriptions attached to iBeacon delivery will be particularly attractive to a magazine with a niche audience, and one that will be particularly associated with corresponding venues. The principal advantages for the venues are as follows:

1. Suitable content can be selected (eg film magazines for a cinema wifi zone, fashion magazines for an arty venue, finance or business magazines for a location in the City or in an airline lounge etc.)
2. The venue can choose its content to suit its audience, and the iBeacon will generate statistics which indicate which magazines are most used and when.
3. There will be discreet but noticeable in-app branding for the venue, through the use of ‘courtesy panes’ within the app, stating the sponsorship eg “When Saturday Comes brought to you by courtesy of Bar Kick”.
4. As the venues get statistics on the usage of the apps that they host, and as they get in-app credit for the use of those apps, they will be able to measure to an extent the degree to which freely magazine apps generate repeat business. The customer who really enjoys his app and walks out with the app synced to his iPhone has a reason to buy a subscription in iTunes, but he also has a reason to return to the bar where he got some free access.

First introduced at WWDC, iBeacon microlocation APIs are designed to access location data through the Bluetooth Low Energy profile on iOS devices, interacting with physical transmitters. The technology first appeared earlier this year, when Major League Baseball announced plans to begin incorporating Apple’s iBeacon APIs into its MLB.com At the Ballpark app to create interactive experiences within stadiums in the near future.

Apple is also said to be incorporating iBeacon technology into its own Apple Store app and retail stores, providing customers with enhanced location-based product information and in-store services. Recently, shopping app Shopkick and Macy’s teamed up for the first retail-based iBeacons, allowing customers to find location-specific deals, discounts, and recommendations in the Shopkick app while in a participating Macy’s store.

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