Originally launched on the iPhone at SXSW in March, LoKast, which is actually short for “local-casting,” allows you to set up a profile that will list all of your photos, selected contacts, videos, web links and music on your mobile phone. You can select which content you’d like to include to the public and which content you’d like to keep private. When a LoKast user is in proximity (300 feet) of other LoKast users, the app will automatically discover other users nearby and allow the user to view and download their content.
The app is optimized for background operation, and will notify a user when a Lokast member crosses their 300-ft radius. The app then allows users to view the available digital profiles of others in the same venue, similar to browsing for Facebook profiles, but targeting those who are physically around them. You can also share music, video and other content with iPhone users who are members of the network.
For example, you can see music library of any user who is in close proximity to you. You can choose to download a 30-second clip of any song to your own profile. Similarly, you can download photos, videos and even contacts from other users into your profile. You’ll also soon be able to share apps on your phone with other users.
LoKast is also partnering with bands to help market their content to users. LoKast has struck deals with music distribution companies including The Orchard, IODA and Monalis 360 to provide users with exclusive content within the LoKast app. And production companies, such as Mark Cuban’s Magnolia Pictures, are also using the service to promote their new films.
Of course, some people may not feel comfortable sharing their personal content to complete strangers, which could be a barrier. But Lokast has been actively used at concerts and music events as a digital stage, where users are willing to share photos and music with strangers in their location. Lokast says that over forty artists are using the service at summer concerts across the country including New Kids on the Block, Third Eye Blind, and others.
The beauty of Lokast is that it has its own internal network; eliminating the need for 3G connectivity to run the app, as LoKast works in subways, underground and heavily congested areas such as stadiums, where 3G connectivity is unreliable. The startup’s app is effectively all network based and currently has five patents for its proprietary technology.
If users can get used to sharing content with people based on location, versus relationships, Lokast’s apps could take off. The iPhone app has seen moderate traction, downloaded 125,000 times in the first two months. But integration with Facebook could take the app to the next level, allowing users to filter out their actual friends within their location.