Understanding the Geofencing Technology and Its Applications

Ever experienced receiving push notifications on your mobile when you are close to your favourite retail store? You probably have, and that's geofencing at work! Geofencing is a technology which enables you to define a virtual fence over a desired geographical area, so that some sort of trigger is sent every time someone steps into or steps out of the virtual fence defined by you.

Geofencing has number of use cases that can benefit the interests of the new age Enterprise. With more and more people going mobile, and the increasing interest in accessing everything online, geofencing can have unlimited possibilities. Your favourite restaurant can use it to send you discount coupons when you are nearby, it can be used by colleges and educational institutions to mark the attendance of the students, and even provide relevant information to you when you land up in a new city or you are visiting a new place. Applications and use cases of geofencing are practically endless, and it all depends on how creatively a business is ready to use the technology. Now that we have a brief idea of what geofencing is, let us discover how it works.

How Does Geofencing Work
Interestingly enough, geofencing not just works outside but also indoors. There are no limitations to the area that you can define within the geofence. It can be as small as a classroom or as large as an entire city. The core principle of geofencing is pretty simple – it works like a sensor that identifies predefined entities and sets off a trigger or alert or any kind of predefined responses in the scenario. 

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For example, if the geofencing is set up around a 5-km radius of a retail store, then it will set off a push notification (alert in this case) whenever registered users (pre-defined entity in this case) of the store step into a point that is within the predefined 5-km radius around the store.

 To have geofencing working successfully, you need to have the following prerequisites:

a] You need to have an App in the picture: Yes, that's right, an app is essential because the app is what the technology uses to identify the predefined entities. For example, the technology identifies only those people as users who have a specific app installed. The app is what helps the technology identify the entity or user.

b] Permission to access location details: Geofencing is all about location and so it’s very important that your users have location access permission turned on, so that the location can be accurately detected. Unless and until the location is detected, it will never be possible to determine if they have stepped into the geofencing area or not.

Geofencing works with the combined use of GPS, Wi-Fi and cellular network data. You can create circular geofences for an area that comes within a uniform radius or choose a polygon for irregularly shaped areas. Talking about the accuracy of geofencing, it can reach anywhere from hundred to 200 metres.

Applications of Geofencing

The possibility of geofencing is immense and we today have only tapped into a small part of it. Given below are the key applications of geofencing that we are using today.

1] Tracking of inventory
Tracking of inventory is one of the key applications of the geofencing Technology. When truck loads of inventory leave the premises of the manufacturing unit, is very important to track its journey to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays on the way. Geofencing can take care of this, as it can be set to trigger notifications as an when the inventory leaves one region and enters another.

 2] Updating work hours of remote employees
Today when businesses are going global, there is the continuous need for employees to travel across the globe, meet clients and prospects, schedule market visits and carry out other tasks that require them to move out of the office premises. By defining the market area or client visit area with geofencing, work hours of the out-of-office employees can be automatically updated on the HR software, why did the employees spend the certain number of hours within the defined area.

Digital HRMS is one example of HR software that uses geofencing to update the work hours of employees who are outside the premises for work related assignments. This way, they are saved the hassle of having to login to the HR platform and raise an attendance regularization request to make up for the work hours they have spent for out-of-office work.

3] Diverting traffic from busy areas
There are certain areas in every city that are blocked with traffic during certain hours of the day. With a well-designed traffic app, it can be possible to divert traffic as soon as they come close to the predefined area in which one doesn't want too many vehicles.

4] Preventing accidents
There are certain stretches on highways that are prone to accident, because of sharp angles or poor visibility. To prevent accidents in these areas, push notifications can be sent to the riders or drivers once they come near the zone, which can help save many lives.

5] Creating enhanced customer experience
Just like the example we had seen towards the beginning of this blog, geofencing can be used to generate personalized and relevant push notifications for the users. If you own a business, you should know that your customers are a more likely to step into your store if they are nearby and you manage to send them an attractive deal that they find hard to resist.

So, you see that geofencing is not just another location based technology, but is much more than that. It opens an all new window for businesses to explore the creativity and reach new heights in terms of staying ahead in the competition and building a name for their brand. If used in the right way, it can really help businesses connect with customers through thoughtfully created push notifications and alerts. At the end of the day, a business can significantly increase revenue by using the geofencing technology to their advantage.

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