UK’s Odeon Cinemas to test movie theater iBeacons, expand pre-show experience

In the latest news about Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iBeacons, Britain’s Odeon Cinemas is looking to bring smartphone use to one of the locations where it is generally forbidden and considered quite gauche as well, the movie theater. The beacons, which transmit highly location-specific data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), will be added to the cinema chain’s properties to ascertain to what extent they actually improve the customer experience there.

According to an article on Marketing Week, Odeon already has a lineup of different uses planned for the geofencing devices. One of the most intriguing is a possible method of enabling visitors to the theater to scan movie posters on the walls. This would trigger Odeon’s app to play trailers for the film involved and to display the times when the movie will be shown.

At the moment, the company plans to use the beacons for pre-show information and for post-show followup. However, according to spokesman Andrew Edge, there is a possibility that Apple’s (AAPL) iBeacons may be used inside the cinema itself while a movie is playing, though the details of this are still vague.

Odeon Cinemas Right now, Odeon is focusing on making the pre-show a larger and more fulfilling part of the whole cinema experience through use of the iBeacon and associated apps. Besides the possible poster scanning function noted above, the app will also alert theatergoers to ticket discounts on certain films, and help them find the refreshments that they want to purchase while going in to watch the movie they have chosen.

Odeon Cinemas is a firm which was founded in 1930, based on the premise of using the most cutting edge technology available to deliver films to patrons. The cutting edge technology of 1930 was a far cry from that of today, but the company clearly remains dedicated to its original concept as it tests the incorporation of iBeacons in its theaters. The company has a highly developed cinema loyalty program as well, which will probably be worked into the iBeacon scheme.

The Odeon Cinema company already has apps for both the iPhone and for Android phones. The free app lists Top Films, Films A-Z, and Coming Soon. It provides film details for each movie listed, including genre, release date, showtimes, trailers, and other information. Much more functionality is likely to be added to this app’s latest version to support the new Apple (AAPL) iBeacon push.