Geofencing? How geofencing works

What is geofencing? How geofencing works

When a device enters a predetermined area, a service called geofencing causes an action to be initiated. Businesses are figuring out inventive ways to exploit these virtual limits for things like coupons, notifications, engagement features, and security alerts.


What is geofencing?

In a location-based service called geofencing, a mobile device or RFID tag that enters or exits a virtual boundary created around a specific geographic place, or “geofence,” will cause an app or other software to employ GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi, or cellular data to carry out a previously pre-programmed action.

A geofence’s configuration can cause push notifications on mobile devices, text messages or alerts, targeted social media adverts, tracking of vehicle fleets, the disabling of particular technologies, or the delivery of location-based marketing data.

Management can view alerts when someone enters or exits a certain region thanks to geofences that are put up to monitor activities in secure areas. Businesses can utilize geofencing to track company property, automate time cards, and maintain tabs on field workers.

How geofencing works

An administrator or developer must first create a virtual boundary around a given place in GPS or RFID-enabled software before using geofencing. When creating a smartphone app, this can be as easy as drawing a circle 100 feet in diameter around a location on Google Maps. When an approved device enters or quits the area as set by the administrator or developer, this virtual geofence will then initiate a reaction.

Since users must consent to location services in order for a geofence to function, it is most frequently defined within the code of a mobile application. There may be an app you can download that provides information about the concert if you visit the venue. Another option is for a shop to create a geofence around its stores to send mobile alerts to clients who have downloaded the business’s app. In these situations, the app is programmed with a geofence that is controlled by the merchant, and users can choose whether or not to grant the app access to their location.

By utilizing the geofencing functionality in their mobile apps, users can also establish their own geofences. These apps, such as iOS Reminders, let you choose an address or location to start a specific alert or push message. When an app is written to initiate an action based on another action, this is referred to as a “if this, then that” command. As an illustration, “If I’m five feet from my front door, turn on my lights.” Alternately, you may instruct a reminder app to notify you once you arrive at a particular spot.

You’ll hear about geofencing in drone conversations. It’s not just used for smartphone apps; it’s also used to manage and track trucks in the shipping sector, animals in the agricultural industry, and people in the drone industry. Geofencing, which is typically set up around airports, outdoor venues, and even the White House, is supported by almost every drone. These drone-resistant geofences can be set up by the FAA upon request; some of these barriers can stop a drone in mid-flight, while others will send the user a warning message. In order for law enforcement to maintain track of unmanned drones, some drone geofences will request a user’s authorization, a process that links the user’s identity to their drone.

Geofencing applications

With the popularity of mobile devices growing, geofencing has become a common practice for many companies. Once a region is identified, there are almost unlimited possibilities for what businesses may do; this is especially common in marketing and social media.

When you approach the boundary, you’ll receive a push notification encouraging you to visit the rival place. Some retail and hotel firms may put up geofences around their competitors. Another option is to have a coupon pushed to your device when you enter a store. If you download a grocery app, chances are good that it will detect when you drive by and send you an alert in an effort to persuade you to stop in.

Here are other common geofencing applications:

Social networking:

One of the most well-known applications for geofencing is seen in well-known social networking apps, most notably Snapchat. Location-based filters, stickers, and other shared material are made possible through geofencing. It’s all possible because of these virtual boundaries, whether you’re using a sponsored filter at a concert, a specially created filter for a friend’s birthday, or uploading to publicly accessible location-based stories.


In addition to social networking, geofencing is a well-liked method for companies to give in-store promotions. This method alerts you as soon as you approach the store. Businesses can use geofencing to target ads to a particular audience and determine which marketing techniques are most effective depending on user location information.

Audience engagement:

At scheduled events like concerts, festivals, fairs, and more, geofencing is employed to captivate large crowds of people. For instance, a concert venue might utilize a geofence to collect social media posts from the public or to disseminate details about the location or the event.

Smart application:

It’s now simpler than ever to set up your fridge to alert you when you’re out of milk the next time you pass by the grocery store as more of our equipment become “smart,” with Bluetooth capabilities. Alternately, you might use a geofence to ensure that the thermostat is already set to the ideal temperature when you return home from work.

Human resources:

Some businesses use geofencing to keep an eye on employees, particularly those who spend time off-site performing field work. Additionally, it’s simple to automate time cards by clocking workers in and out as they enter and exit the building.


Telematics can also benefit from geofencing, which enables businesses to create virtual boundaries around buildings, workspaces, and secure areas. When engaged by a person or a vehicle, they can convey alerts or cautions to the operator.


Depending on how it’s used, geofencing could sometimes appear intrusive and like an overreach. To increase the security of your mobile device, geofencing can also be used. By utilizing a geofence, you can, for instance, configure your phone to only unlock while you are at home or to send you notifications when someone enters or exits the building.

The future of geofencing

Geofencing comes with several warnings, particularly when it comes to marketing privacy. One of the first states to pass a consumer protection statute that forbade the use of location-based advertising was Massachusetts just last year.

The Attorney General stopped an anti-abortion ad campaign by Copley Advertising that was intended to target women in the waiting area or close by. Copley Advertising had been contracted by a Christian organization to build up a geofence around women’s health facilities.

Geofencing doesn’t appear to be losing its appeal anytime soon, despite concerns about security. The geofencing market is anticipated to increase by over 27 percent by 2022, as stated in a Markets and Markets press release, due to “technological advancements in use of spatial data and increasing applications in numerous industry verticals.”

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