One of the lesser announcements to come out of the iPhone 5c/5s media event was the launch of something called “iBeacon”. It was described as a way to deliver content to iOS devices based on extremely tight location-based notifications. I immediately assumed that all it would be good for was another wave of bogus advertising initiatives.
In other words, blah.
However, it looks like there might be something in play here that is both cool and can be monetized enough to make it stick. A pilot project at a bar in London is using iBeacon to deliver actual content to patrons’ iOS devices while they are at the pub. As long as you are within the confines of the bar you get copies of the footie magazine When Saturday Comes and the lifestyle paper Dazed and Confused for free on your i-device’s Newsstand. If this works out, it could be a win across the board: The establishment (pub, bookstore, coffee shop, whatever) gets you to stick around and buy a couple of more drinks while you read, the magazine publisher gets both the licensing fee and the potential for hang-on subscribers, and the patron gets some reading material that is tailored to their tastes. Much cooler than straight-out advertising, and much more likely to have some legs in the long run.
Fingers crossed that this one works out.