I’ve been playing with LoKast for a few days and it’s raised some rather exciting possibilities. The application turns your iPhone into a two-way media server, enabling you to rapidly share any of your media (photos, video, contacts, music) to anyone else using the app on the same WiFi or Bluetooth connection.
My first reaction was ‘well, there’s just me at home, so…’ — but that’s to miss the point with LoKast. For any young’n'hip things regularly hitting music venues or gigs, LoKast could be hugely valuable. Provided you’re both running the app (and that’s the main issue) you can swiftly discover random people in your vicinity and start browsing the media they’ve elected to make public.
It’s an absolute breeze to use. Fire it up, give yourself a name, choose a profile photo and start tapping media you’d like to share. It’s stupidly fast — of course — because you’re not using the internet, you’re using the local connection.
‘Local-casting’ will typically work when you’re within 300ft of other LoKast users — provided there’s WiFi (or if there’s not, Bluetooth is a useful fall back).
Think about using it at a sports stadium, for example. That could be a rather interesting experience. One imagines you might be able to find some fantastic photos, videos and audio related to your team. But LoKast could be phenomenally useful around the music scene for anyone who’d like to receive (or distribute!) all kinds of band or artist related media.
Flip up the app, browse the users and you’re immediately browsing their public content. Click the ‘add’ button on anything and it’s yours (apart from DRM protected music — DRM music offers you a 30-second clip and the option to buy the track on iTunes — fair enough).
I love it’s simplicity. It’s essentially just a nice skin on top of a web server — but the simplicity is what is beginning to swiftly engage users. I hear it’s getting a riotous reception at the mediafest that is SXSX. I can well imagine why. I’m particularly keen on how the app ushers in an era of disposable media — the transitory experience of sharing media, never to be repeated again. Forget becoming friends or ‘adding people’, this is all about the media.
I’m not entirely sure where LoKast could go. I certainly think that if some of the cool’n'hip iPhone users pick it up around the music/gigs/events space, it’ll break out quickly from SXSX.
I think music is the way ahead though. Indeed, I understand that artists such as The Boxer Rebellion, The Ruse, Bazaar Royale, BlackMahal and Katia have all signed up to use LoKast at their events this month. I can imagine a lot of users all flipping up LoKast on their iPhone at the instruction of the band they’re watching. Very interesting indeed.
Speaking of SXSX, Mark Cuban’s Magnolia Pictures are reportedly planning on using LoKast to promote their new movies at one of the upcoming SXSX events. Again, that’s another area that makes a heck of a lot of sense.
I’ve made a quick video walk-through of LoKast so you can see some of the basic features in action:
You can, of course, find LoKast in the iTunes App Store (iTunes link — free). Enjoy…