NearVerse, a year-old startup from Philadelphia, plans to launch a new proximity-based media-sharing service called Lokast next month at SXSW in Austin. Lokast is to debut at some of the festivals’ music shows, with bands releasing exclusive content to the members of their audiences with iPhones.
We haven’t had a chance to try Lokast yet but we spoke to co-founder Vic Singh today about how it works. Basically, once users install a yet-to-be-released iPhone app, they’re able to share and receive content from other logged-in users who are within a 300-foot radius. If you’ve heard of the Bump mobile data-swapping app, which lets iPhone and Android owners swap contact info by bumping their phones together, it’s kind of a similar idea. Singh contended NearVerse’s transfer speeds are much faster than 3G and more convenient than finding a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Content is shared on Lokast on a one-to-one basis over Bluetooth (a coming Android app will support other connections). Of course, this isn’t your typical P2P experience where you start downloading a file and then go about your business, given the iPhone can only run one app at a time. But whenever you want to exchange a local video or photo, you can fire the app up, get your friend or fan to fire up theirs, and send away. This will work despite network congestion, which may well be an issue again at SXSW.
The Lokast app will be free, with NearVerse planning to monetize through advertising and premium products. NearVerse has eight employees and has raised $1 million from backers that Singh is not yet disclosing.
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