A Beginner’s Guide to Geo-fencing for Mobile Applications

What is Geo-fence?

An area surrounded by a virtual fence allows the admin to map the number of devices that come in and go out of the facility is called geo-fence.

For instance, In a shopping mall, the mall admin can push notifications of offers and deals of visitors located within the confines of this virtual boundary. All this can be accomplished using a mobile application with geofencing technology.

However, to trigger a response from users, they need to communicate their location, making their devices recognizable for instant and send real-time notifications.

Geo app definition

Geo-fence is a specific software program that uses a global positioning system ( GPS) to define the virtual boundary on a map based upon real-world location. By using the geo-fencing technology-based app or program we can trigger or setup a specific notification alarm when the device enters or exits the virtual boundary defined the app/program admin.

There are majorly two prime ways through which the geo-fence based application define virtual boundaries.

  1. The first part includes the administrators to integrate Google Earth, through this the administrator can define the boundaries to the specific geographical area.
  2. In the second process, the administrator can define the virtual boundary by longitude and latitude or via web-based maps.

How Geo-fencing applications work?

Geo-fencing apps help in targeting the most qualified audience by serving them ads of products and services when they step inside in some particular geofence. Those advertisements could take the form of push notifications, text messages, PPC ads served in a web browser, etc.

The overall scope of this technology is very vast. Let’s look into some day to day practical applications where this technology can be very helpful.

  1. The local restaurant owner can trigger a special offer of the day text message when the opt-in user enters in a defined geographical area.
  2. Let’s say you are parents of a 12-year-old kid who wants to go 3 blocks away to meet his friends, but as parents, you are not uncomfortable with your child being that far away from home. You can use geofencing functionality based app, which will trigger you when your child is out of pre-defined virtual boundary.
  3.  The truck fleet owner or manager can use geofencing based app to track the truck fleet and get a notification when a truck driver breaks his route.

How accurate is geo-fencing?

To ensure that geofences are accurate, the technology uses a combination of GPS, cellular data, or Wi-Fi data.

In environments where cell phone towers and Wi-Fi routers are everywhere, urban environments provide a good example. The accuracy of geo-fencing can reach anywhere from 100 to 200 meters.

Keep in mind that geo-fencing will always work properly when you enable a smartphone’s Wi-Fi enabled and activate the GPS services.

Examples of geo-fencing apps 

  1. Uber or other cab service providers
  2. Zomato, Deliveroo or other food delivery apps
  3. Sephora
  4. Dunkin Donut's Snapchat Geofilter

For many technology evangelists, the geo-fencing solutions are going to play a very major role in the mobile security market too, there are many organizations and mobile app architects who are developing various apps globally by keeping geo-fencing functionality at its core. Briefly, we could say it is an optimal fit in mobile app development.

We can also see in the upcoming time that geofencing technology merge very well with Big Data to provide value-based information to the opt-in consumers and which eventually will increase the ROI.

By merging the location-based information for example device usage pattern on various locations, mobile ad campaign service demand with data analytic the administrator or business owner can develop actionable insights.

Geo-fencing leverage the strong combination of GPS and cellular triangulation, Bluetooth, etc and this provides it unified integration with different technologies.

The location-based geo-fencing can play a very vital role in mobile marketing. The typical examples we can have implementing geo-fencing to the specific stores of let's say ABC Mart, or in case of multi-store structure we can implement advance level geo-fencing which can trigger within 1 mile of all 200+ stored of ABC Mart. Through advanced geo-fencing technology, we can target the trade area or go with trade zone targeting too.

Alright, we have looked into the benefits that geo-fencing technology can bring to us and how it can be effective in various industries. But now it’s also important for us to look into what technical hurdles this technology can have.

The major hurdles are that this technology demands a steady satellite connection and this demand results in a major amount of battery drain. We assume in the coming time we will see more advancement in the geo-fencing solutions which will able to demonstrate the right balance between precise location tacking and effective battery management.

The other major hurdle with this technology is related to the personal privacy of the end consumer. The user worries that these location tracking technologies may invade their privacy by continually relaying their current location coordinates.

I am sure in the coming time we will see more advancement in this area too, through which the end-user can control privacy protection. I feel user consent is a must while providing the services which are based upon geo-fencing technology and there should be an easy way to disable his service on demand by the end-user.

I also assume that with the latitude of progression this technology has, it’s important for geo -fencing solution to have a robust amalgamation of security features to prevent unconstitutional access, and safeguard user privacy.