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What is Geofencing and What is It for?

Geofencing is a technology for defining virtual barriers for an electronic device. Discover the precise definition of geofencing, its operation, as well as the application areas of virtual guarding.

Thanks to the emergence of Big Data, and more specifically to the explosion of geolocation data generated worldwide, new technologies, including geofencing, have emerged.

Geofencing: what is virtual guarding?

Geofencing is also called virtual guarding; it is a feature of a software program to define virtual geographical barriers. The software administrator can manually set these limits. When the device on which the software runs (usually a smartphone) crosses the virtual barriers, entering or leaving the zone, an alert is issued.

Geofencing is usually based on Global Positioning System (GPS) or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) . Many geofencing applications incorporate Google Earth to help define a geographic barrier apart from a satellite view. Some applications also define virtual barriers based on longitude or latitude or from web-based maps.

It should be noted that virtual barriers can be active or passive . Active barriers require an application to be open and the user to connect to a service. Passive barriers operate permanently in the background, relying on WiFi or cellular data rather than GPS or RFID.

Geofencing: what’s the point? What are the areas of application?

Geofencing is used in many areas. For fleet management, it is possible to receive an alert if a truck deviates from its route. In the area of human resource management, this technology can be used to ensure that an employee does not attempt to enter an unauthorized area.

Businesses that lend mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets can also use geofencing to receive an alert if a device goes out of the pre-defined zone and locks it. Geofencing features can therefore be proposed by mobile device management software.

The electronic bracelets that some criminals are equipped with also rely on geofencing to monitor that the wearer does not attempt to leave the authorized perimeter. Smart Home devices such as smart thermostats can change the temperature when the homeowner enters the home.

In the field of marketing, geofencing is also increasingly used so much that a specific term has emerged : geomarketing . For example, it is possible to define a virtual barrier around a store. Thus, when a potential customer crosses the barrier, it is possible to send him a promotional offer or a mobile ad on his smartphone to encourage him to buy.

Similarly, it is possible to define a virtual barrier around a competing store to offer its customers competitive promotional offers. In addition, even if geofencing does not systematically push the barge for purchase, it is possible to use this technology to monitor customer behaviour within a physical store to build on this information to develop more effective marketing campaigns.

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