What is Geofencing Technology?
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Setting up a perimeter around a location has always been one of the most effective ways to ensure optimal security and control over what comes in and out of that location. Up to this point, we have been accustomed to setting up physical fences as means to barricade an environment and set up a perimeter.
This is because there usually were more physical threats than virtual ones. Nowadays, however, the reverse is almost the case. So, the need arises to set up not just physical perimeters and barricades, but virtual ones as well. And that is where geofencing technology comes in.
Simply put, geofencing technology allows us to set up a sort of virtual boundary or fence around a specific geographical location on a map. These virtual boundaries, or geofences as they are known, can be configured to behave in certain ways depending on specific actions.
For instance, a geofence can be configured to send notifications to a specified device whenever a mobile phone enters into the perimeter. In fact, geofencing for mobile tracking can be used to trigger physical devices which take defensive actions whenever certain activities occur within the perimeter .
Geofencing is possible thanks to real time location systems technology such as GPS, RFID, and WiFi.
Geofencing apps can monitor and set up a digital perimeter, carry out specific actions based on preprogrammed triggers, and monitor their changing conditions in real time.
Naturally, geofencing has many benefits that can not be overstated. From security to process streamlining, cost reduction, avenue to increase foot traffic, and increase in effectiveness, employing geofencing technology is a game changer for companies and businesses who find a way to put it into good use .
Thanks to its ability to set up virtual perimeters and keep an environment contained, there is no shortage of applications for geofencing. Below are some examples of industries where the technology finds invaluable applications:
- Retail – Geofencing in retail stores enables a handful of exciting features that can help drive up sales and improve shopping experience for the customers. For instance, retailers may choose to set up a perimeter wherein customers are offered specific discounts and promotional offers whenever they step inside.
- Logistics – Logistic activities could do with geofencing technology, particularly in warehouses. Shipments and vehicles can be tracked in real-time , which increases inventory management and fleet routing. Additionally, safety will be beefed up significantly thanks to the ability to track objects efficiently and avoid hazardous areas.
- Healthcare – Geofencing in the healthcare industry is perfect for tracking patients and medical equipment within the geofence. By ensuring that each equipment is in the right place at the right time, efficiency increases as does the entire life saving efforts of the hospital/medical establishment wherein the geofencing technology and integrated systems is put to use.
- Education – Schools who wish to keep a close eye on activities within their perimeter can make use of geofencing security to ensure that a great deal of virtual activities within the environment is under their control. For instance, a school may set up geofencing to notify parents when children leave the school perimeter without permission.
- Construction – Seeing as construction activities include a great deal of movement in a specified area, geofencing technology can be used to keep an eye on such an area, and gain control over movement of digital equipment in and out of the perimeter. This not only increases efficiency, but also ensures a greater level of security .
- Entertainment – In contained entertainment areas such as a set of a movie or a stadium, geofencing technology enables the organizers to carry out virtual monitoring of digital movement within. Additionally, it may be used to send out personalized offers to individuals depending on the area they occupy within the perimeter.
Sporting activities such as football matches may also make use of geofencing technology in one capacity or another. Generally, though, depending on the specific industry, what geofencing allows you to do, and what the technology really provides, is control.
Just like physical boundaries around certain areas provide control over the physical objects that are able to come in or out, geofencing technology provides control and oversight over the digital and virtual assets that enter or leave a geofenced environment.
4 Geofencing Examples
Having examined the general applications of geofencing technology, here are some of the most common geofencing use cases within the industries highlighted above.
- Recommendations & Discount in a Retail Store – A customer enters into a geofenced retail store. Immediately they arrive at a designated area, they receive specific, targeted recommendations based on their interest. This increases customer purchases and upsell rate significantly.
- Geofencing in a loading dock – Another one of the notable geofencing examples is in logistics. Take for instance, a logistics company tired of the inefficiency they experience as a result of time wasted during pickups. So they create the geofence around a loading dock which sends out an alert immediately when a truck enters the area. This lets them have the monitoring tool that lets you create awareness and know in a matter of seconds when delivery is ready for pick-up.
- Medical equipment tracking – A hospital recently acquired some expensive medical devices. To avoid theft, the hospital implements a geofence that alerts the appropriate authority whenever the device moves away from its designated position within the perimeter.
Indoor geofencing also allows them to know where each device is at all times and ensure that they get alerts when they leave the environment.
This allows the hospital to save costs significantly on lost/stolen devices.
- School Field Trip – Students at a particular school keep straying away during field trips. The school decides to set up a geofence. Thanks to the technology, they are able to monitor the location of their students at all times. The geofence immediately sends an alert when their students leave the area without permission. This is just one of several possible geofencing examples in schools.
How does geofencing security system work?
Geofencing works by making use of hardware and software components to initiate a virtual boundary around a specified location. This can be achieved, for example, using GPS to define the exact location and the boundaries within it that you wish to erect your geo-fence in.
From there you can proceed to install sensors and tags which will detect whenever a device crosses into or out of the boundary . And lastly, you can make use of the software component to configure whatever action you want to be taken based on specific triggers.
Now the exact hardware components that you’ll be making use of to shore up your geofencing capabilities will depend on various factors such as the size of the location, the accuracy of actions, the environmental conditions, and the specific geofencing use cases.
Generally, devices such as motion detectors, cameras, with beacons and other kinds of sensors are employed to detect movement and changes to the environment.
When it comes to the software components, you want to make sure that the user interface is easy and intuitive enough so that administrators can easily set up boundaries, triggers, and actions to be taken based on the triggers.
It should be noted that GPS technology is not the only location technology that can be used to set up a virtual boundary in geofencing systems. Other technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular network signals can be employed to great success.
Geofencing apps are capable of being powered by Ultra Wide Band as well, but is less common than other wireless technologies. Use cases include fleet management the act of managing a large fleet of assets, and to receive alert when something goes wrong.
The most popular and precise, however, Wi-Fi, GPS tracking and RFID technology that makes use of electromagnetic fields to track assets and equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, geofencing is completely legal. Obviously, the technology offers a lot of benefits particularly when it comes to beefing up security within an environment, so its use is something that is generally encouraged and not frowned upon by the law.
The only significant legal consideration that may arise has to do with privacy. Thankfully, there are local laws in place to deal with this particular issue.
For instance there are laws in certain places that require companies to have clear policies in place and be transparent about their use of geofencing security and any of the real time location based technology. Once users and customers are notified about the data being collected and used in their indoor geofencing, it is completely legal to implement and run the geofencing systems.
Whether or not you will need a geofencing web application depends on your desired geofencing capabilities and your objectives. For marketing and asset-tracking, setting up a web application is usually a good idea.
On the other hand, for a basic system for personal use, you can use geofencing without an app by setting up alerts through text messages or email.
Another factor that can influence whether or not you can use geofencing without an app is the size of your geofence and how many devices you need to manage within it. Having a centralized dashboard to manage multiple devices usually makes things easier and so is more advisable in cases where there are numerous devices to manage.
If you have a system that’s somewhere in the middle, then you may simply go with any of the best geofencing apps for Android and iOS devices that’s lightweight and efficient.
Making use of integrated geofencing technology allows you to get more from your geofencing systems. You get to enjoy all of the benefits that come with setting up geofencing, along with additional information and data that can be put to use in other areas of your business.
For instance, making use of integrated geofencing technology with real-time data analytics, can allow businesses and organizations to learn more about how various aspects of their business work in real time. Consequently, this knowledge is put to use to make data-driven decisions that yield results.
These geofencing tools with the help of location services are also incredible to know how much time and resources you can use on certain warehouse production processes.
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