The trial is a partnership between transport company FirstGroup, out of home specialists Exterion Media and NFC payments firm Proxama. The partnership aims to increase loyalty, footfall and engagement for brands, while consumers are given the trade-off of discounts and deals with the participating retailers.
The link between brands and customers is a location-based app called Loka, which uses bluetooth beacon technology to target people at the right time.
At the time of trial 20 retailers are signed up to the project, which claims to be the first use of beacons alongside bus transport.
Jason Cotterrell, managing director for Exterion Media UK said: "Many bus journeys in urban centres today involve consumers using their smartphones to keep themselves engaged. At the same time, many of these journeys are also for the purpose of hitting the high street."
The experiment is part of the government funded Connected High Street Project. Funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the scheme aims to drive customers to the high street by better connecting stores to people’s mobile phone use.
Miles Quitmann, COO of Proxama, said the project could potentially roll out more widely in the UK: "This initial six month beta project will provide learnings from this partnership and will shape future rollouts, which will take place on other bus networks in the UK to benefit both consumers and businesses."
The interest in iBeacon technology is increasing for UK brands. Earlier this month Asda announced plans to trial iBeacon technology in its stores.