Geofencing is a service that uses GPS and the internet to create virtual, geographical boundaries. These geographical boundaries (or geofences), are created in software but exist around real-world objects or locations. If a tracker or mobile device enters or exits a geofenced area, a pre-programmed action is triggered.
For example, a circular geofence could be created around your office, with a radius of 20 metres. A tracker could be installed in a vehicle so, when the vehicle in question leaves this 20-metre boundary, an alert is triggered.
Geofencing is everywhere
Computer or mobile applications allow customers to define virtual, geographical boundaries which are designed to give vehicle owners greater control over their cars and assets. Thanks to advancements in GPS technology, this real-time information is shared instantly. What started as somewhat of a gimmick, has quickly become an essential business and security tool.
Some examples of geofencing technology include:
- Employee smartcards. If the employee enters an unauthorised, geofenced area, the employer can be alerted.
- A store app can send push notifications with a voucher code, set to go off when the smartphone is near the store/a competitor’s store.
- Installation on devices such as tablets, to prevent further use if it has been removed from the premises.
- Ankle tags which are used to alert the authorities if a person is under house arrest leaves the house.
- No-fly-zones for drones can be used to help alert authorities.
- If a home owner’s smartphone exits the fenced area of the house, the thermostat can be lowered to a predefined temperature.
- Fleet software that creates a geofence around a drop-off point. Once a fleet vehicle enters the geofence, the employer knows a delivery is being made and can send drop-off confirmation.
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Geofencing your fleet
An essential benefit of geofence technology is being able to know the status of your fleet even when you aren’t watching it. Geofencing allows an administrator to define an area and be alerted when a device leaves this area. This alert is usually received as an SMS, push notification or email. If needs be, the fleet manager can quickly access the fleet tracking software and see the live location of the vehicle and any further movements it takes.
Generally this fleet tracking data is collected by a OBD tracking device, plugged in underneath the car’s steering wheel.
Many geofencing applications superimpose these boundaries onto maps so that administrators can define boundaries on a satellite view. Otherwise, you can define a geofence using coordinates.
1. Monitor vehicle movements
The aim of geofencing is to ensure a vehicle’s movements are better tracked. A geofence could be made around the perimeter of the company car park, for example, so you can be warned if the vehicle leaves the car park. Accordingly, you can detect if business travel is ever used inappropriately by employees and if vehicles are used for private activities. Likewise, geofences can detect unauthorised trips during the weekend, depending on if the vehicle is parked on the company premises or at an employee’s home.
2. Theft protection
Should an unauthorised user attempt to remove the vehicle from the car park and the pre-defined geofence, a quick decision can be made on how to best react. In the case of theft, the police can be notified immediately. Since the location and the movement of the vehicle are constantly displayed, in the vast majority of cases it is possible to keep track of the car, even after the event.
If there is a suspicion that an unauthorised employee is driving the vehicle, the police do not need to be involved. In this case, the employee can be dealt with in-house. Only the owner or an employee entrusted with the supervision of the vehicle fleet can be informed about geofencing breaches.
3. Customer service and communication
Delivery services use geofencing to inform their customers of the arrival of a package. The delivery service company can create a geofence around a delivery address. Once the vehicle has entered this geofence, the company will receive a notification (which it can then pass onto the customer) with a confirmation of delivery.
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Geofencing can save businesses time, money and boost customer satisfaction and retention. As a result, it is now considered to be an essential part of any good fleet management and fleet tracking software.