WHAT IS GEOFENCING?
WHAT IS GEOFENCING?
Many of us would have come across the term “geofencing” in one way or the other. Perhaps in the news articles, product manuals, certain mobile applications, and so on. In explaining what geofencing means, we will split the complex word into its simple forms, i.e. geo and fencing. Geo simply means a geographical area, while fencing refers to the creation of virtual boundaries. Thus, geofencing simply refers to the creating virtual boundaries for a geographical area. However, in the technological world, geofencing refers to the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries, thus creating a virtual barrier. It is a software program that set a geographical boundary defined by an administrator, thus allowing the administrator to be notified when there is an exit from or entry into the boundary.
Geofencing has been applied in so many ways across various fields. One of the first commercial application of geofencing was in the livestock industry. It was applied by cattle ranchers in getting notified when the herd moved outside of their geographical boundaries in a ranch. This involved embedding GPS units on cattle. This enables the livestock farmer to optimize productivity in his cattle business.
Geofencing is also used by store owners and marketers to engage their customers and local shoppers. Its application makes it possible for the targeted shoppers to receive discount coupons and promotional offers when they enter a mall or store. It is applied such that a marketer could easily send messages to smartphone users, when they enter a geographical area defined by him, such as his shopping mall. Geofencing helps the marketer to improve his customers' experience while also driving traffic to his location and activity on his promotions. Real estate agencies apply geofencing technology to reach out to possible buyers when such persons come near open houses.
Another application of geofencing is found in the online application building business. In the cyberspace, all builders use geofencing to push notifications to their users' device when they enter or exit a geofenced area. This gives the users the opportunity of getting informed about offers or special announcements that relate to the geofenced area, enabling them to act on them. Some of the apps that apply the geofencing technology include the following:
- Life 360 app (available on Android and iOS)
- Find My Friends app on Apple iOS
- IFTTT (IF THIS THEN THAT) app on Android and iOS platforms
- Skylark on iOS.
In the entertainment industry, geofencing is used by musical bands to send messages to fans. Geofencing also allows movie lovers to get notified when a film is available for viewing at the cinemas around their geographical location, thus bringing real-time fun to the public.
Using geofencing helps companies in monitoring and safeguarding their vehicle fleet. A company manager, through geofencing technology, gets alerted when a company vehicle leaves the company’s boundary. This helps a company in ensuring proper evaluation of its activities, thereby reducing its risk of running into a loss. Geofencing has in no little way helped improve our world in many ways. It is believed by technologists that it can go a long way in proferring solutions to yet-to-be-solved issues in the technological world.
- Alex R