Geofencing Technology Review - Why Does Business Need It
Geofencing, or geofencing technology, is widely used in business. Using geofencing technology, it’s possible to set borders of certain areas and initiate any events when a user with a mobile device gets into the area. Geofencing can be compared with an invisible fence whose location is defined by GPS, RFID, Bluetooth beacons and other technologies. It covers everything that appears within the defined radius and allows businessmen to direct necessary notifications to potential clients.
The mechanism of geofencing is quite simple. The software sets the borders of the area (of any sizes and forms) and tracks the chosen geolocation. If the appropriate geofencing applications are installed in the user’s phone, the system automatically defines the person’s location, when he gets inside the controlled zone, and initiates the actions which are launched in the mobile device.
Spheres of geofencing application
The geofencing platform can be applied in many spheres:
- Advertising and marketing – the geofencing marketing definition presupposes that geofencing software lets companies focus on consumers while organizing events, exhibitions, etc. Defining geozones in marketing helps trade networks to send exclusive offers to users.
- Logistics – by means of the application, one can notify the warehouse manager on arriving a vehicle for loading or unloading.
- Gathering data on visitors – a shop owner can analyze how often visitors come to his shop and how much time they spend there.
- Smart home management – as soon as the user gets into the geozone, the system can give commands to the controller for executing certain actions (for example, to turn on the light or open the garage door).
- Parental control – thanks to this platform, parents will be aware of their child’s location, whether he is staying inside or outside the school or yard.
- Reminders – if the person approaches the sales point, the system can remind him that he was going to visit this store.
- Attendance records – thanks to the system, managers can control the time that the staff are at work, time of coming to work and leaving home.
Advantages and disadvantages of geofencing
Geofencing can give some advantages to businessmen:
- Improving enterprise teamwork.
- Increasing operation safety.
- Protecting valuable company’s data inside the given perimeter.
- Growth in consumers’ loyalty.
- Improving sales of goods and services.
- Possibilities for analytics and attracting people to stores on the basis of conducted analysis.
The main minus of geofencing is inaccurate user’s localization. Tracking can be active and passive. In case of active tracking, location is defined by GPS that quickly runs the mobile device battery down. In case of passive tracking, localization is ensured by mobile Internet which gives even lower accuracy in comparison with active tracking.
Geofencing or iBeacon?
Geofencing has an excellent alternative – iBeacon technology that the company Navigine works with. The system functions by means of special Bluetooth beacons. In comparison with geofencing, this system is characterized by a lower measurement error in defining location; it doesn’t track the given areas but only point locations, for example, shops, exhibition halls and even certain goods or objects.
The choice of one or the other technology is determined by the user's end goals. Thus, geofencing software is more suitable for large marketing campaigns since geofencing isn’t characterized by enhanced accuracy in geolocating. iBeacon technology is more effective for working inside buildings. It can be used for exact navigation in buildings and for sending identifiers when the user approaches the beacon.
Despite the differences, the technologies can successfully complement each other. Geofencing can be used for strengthening beacons and encouraging users to keep Bluetooth switched on all the time. After establishing the necessary geozones, the retailer can get signals that a person comes into or out of the stated zone. Such feedback is convenient for sending notifications that will encourage mobile application users to support activated Bluetooth.