Otherworld aims to make local news relevant through location-based storytelling

The experiment uses beacon technology to send people news and push notifications about what is happening in the area near them.

News apps may be making a comeback, and push notifications may be the reason why, but the challenges that come with them are still there: publishers still have to convince people to download their app and use it regularly, while too many push alerts can send readers away.

But what if we could get the news and other relevant, contextual information to our audiences without asking them to clutter their homescreens with yet another app?

This is what Otherworld, an experimental storytelling service that launched last week (25 July) is trying to do, using beacon technology to give people access to relevant information based on their location – just by turning on the Bluetooth function on their mobile devices and walking by one of these beacons, they will receive news in the context of their location through silent push notifications that just appear on screen without any noise.

Otherworld, which is a trial project from a start-up called Like No Other, founded by writer and entrepreneur Stuart Goulden, received funding through Google’s Digital News Initiative to “revolutionise local news discovery”.

The pilot will run until the end of the year, and Goulden is working with more than 50 content partners in Manchester, from the Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council, to Co-Op, Trinity Mirror and other local businesses and charities.

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