ibeacon

A London-based digital publishing company is trialling use of Apple’s iBeacon technology to provide bar patrons with free access to digital versions of two magazines in Newsstand, reports TechCrunch.

The way it works is that the bar buys a subscription, and one or more iBeacons (each little larger than a quarter) unlock the content for customers within range. On iOS devices, the whole process is completely automatic. Once the customer leaves the location, the content is locked again and becomes available for purchase as normal … 

“As this is very much new technology we are showcasing it for the first time at Bar Kick in Shoreditch, London,” Exact Editions‘ Daniel Hodgkin explained about the first real world use of the tech. “When in this bar, the soccer magazine ‘When Saturday Comes’ and the fashion and culture magazine ‘Dazed & Confused will be available.”

The company hopes the trial will prove a win-win: customers get free access to magazines, and some of them will then choose to buy a copy or subscription to have continued access to it after leaving the location.

If you’re not up to speed on iBeacon, check out our briefing. The technology is going to be pretty mainstream by early next year, with the possibility of it becoming a new payment platform later.