What is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a virtual boundary set up around a geographical location with the use of GPS or RFID technology. Whenever a user with an location-enabled mobile device enters into this predefined area, it triggers an action or push notification. Thanks to the advancement in the technology, now every person carries a GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth in their pockets and this has made geofencing easily accessible and quite cheap marketing equipment for business owners these days.
Photo Credit: Common, Wikimedia.org
Geofencing can be used vastly with a little bit of creativity. If you are a businessman, it is now easy for you to engage potential customers while they are in or around your area with the help of geofencing. As the customers are all connected with the internet that actually the offline businesses are sometimes totally forgotten. Geofencing bridges that gap between the online and offline element of the brand.
Technologies that Enable Geofencing
Geofencing depends on any of the four mobile technologies mentioned below to classify the location and implementing boundaries. Here is a brief description of all of them so that you can choose the right option for yourself.
WiFi is available on almost every device these days which makes it a good potential reach. If there is an open area network, then anyone who enters the particular zone with their Wi-Fi on is not required to opt-in to receive messages. They will automatically receive the message, but the only drawback is that customers need to keep their Wi-Fi on and it is something that drains the battery very quickly so not everyone opts for this.
RFID or Radio Frequency Identification offers the highest level of accuracy in tracking, and the best part is that it does not require any special effort from the consumer. Though it is consumer friendly, it requires high investment and is difficult to implement too.
GPS is not only economic but it also provides good accuracy, and it can be easily clubbed with other location-based solutions such as Wi-Fi. But the drawback is that it should be used outdoors for better results, and it also results in heavy battery drainage.
Bluetooth beacons are battery-operated devices that are used to identify the location of all devices within the signal radius. The devices ensure high precision with less battery usage. But the drawback of this technology is that you will have to install these devices in the locations you need to track which is quite impossible to cover a large area.
How Does It Work?
There are many ways in which the technology of geofencing can be used. To practically apply geofencing, the first step is that the implementer needs to set up the fencing of a specific location by using any of the above given four methods. It is just like drawing a virtual circle of say 100 feet around the location on Google maps. When you enable the geofencing, it will trigger a response every time an authorized device enters or exits that particular area as specified by the admin or the developer.
There are various platforms available in the market that renders geofencing services, and one of them is Radar. Whether you own travel, shopping, social, food, entertainment, or any other business, Radar offers you the best service and helps you improve the overall performance of your business. You can track users efficiently with best-in-class iOS and Android SDKs or generate contextual events with Geofences, Insights, and Places and also send data anywhere with webhooks and integrations.
Areas of Application
Social Networking: The Social Networking apps have used geofencing in a great way. Remember the last time you logged in to Facebook on vacation, and the first thing you see is Facebook telling you the temperature of the area. In Snapchat too, you can get location-based filters, stickers, and other content according to your location.
Marketing: There are a lot of businesses that use geofencing for their in-store promotion, alerting the customers about their ongoing sale and other offers when they are nearby their stores. They target the potential customers and send them ads containing personalized offers.
Audience Management: The geofencing technology is also used by event management companies to organize the crowd in several events like concerts, festivals, fairs, etc.
Smart Appliances: Geofencing technology is also making the gadgets even smarter. Take the example of a geofencing technology enabled air conditioner that has an app that detects that you are around and before you reach home, it automatically switches on the AC and manages the temperature of the home.
Other than these uses, geofencing can also be used by shipping industries to track their vehicles. The drone industry is using the geofencing technology to set boundaries for their drones to stay in a given parameter and also not to enter into any restricted area such as monuments and government properties.
Not only this, but the geofencing can also be used by the consumers. There are apps in which you can set the alert for the specific location, and when you enter the location, the app will notify you with the push message that you have fed into for that location.
All in all, Geofencing is great technology that helps the marketers to target the maximum number of potential consumers and provide personalized offers to the buyers. And it has a vast area of application that definitely makes our lives easier in many ways. Have you come across any experience with geofencing? Share with us in the comment section below.