What is geofencing?
This technology is best and most simply described as a virtual barrier. Geofencing can use GPS, radio frequency identification, and ultra-low power beacons to define a virtual boundary, which allows companies, governments and individuals to disable and enable connected devices when exiting or entering a defined area.
For example, many may already be familiar with geofencing in terms of law enforcement, where the technology is used in the ankle bracelets of offenders. If the wearers of the bracelets ever leave their designated area, authorities are immediately alerted.
A retailer might use geofencing for marketing purposes to trigger the sending of a text message, with an offer or coupon code to a potential customer as they enter the retailer’s local area. Geofencing might also be used by human resources for security purpose, i.e. the software can be installed in employees’ identity cards in order to enable security to be alerted if an employee tries to access an area that is off-limits.
An individual might use geofencing technology to keep an eye on their goods, or even their children! For instance if, as a parent, you wish to know when your child has arrived back home from school, you could set up a virtual barrier around your home, which will then ensure you are alerted via email or text message when your child (and their connected device) enters the specific area.
With the continuing growth of internet of things (IoT) technology, and the resulting billions of devices that are going to be ‘online’ by 2020, the issue of how safe these devices will be once everything is connected and how the devices will speak to one another, are both very important questions to answer.
Geofencing can most certainly help make IoT devices a lot more secure and accessible and be simply activated via device software to help individuals, companies or governments do any number of things; from keeping goods safe, tracking employees, and managing company-owned devices, to helping minimise workplace accidents!
Geofence and beacon technology now work in tandem with the key difference between the two being that geofencing mainly uses GPS, whereas beacons are a low-cost, micro-location-based technology that make use of Bluetooth. With the two technologies working together it makes it possible to be even more precise when locating and connecting devices to one another. This makes disabling/ enabling the functionality or accessibility of such devices a lot simpler.
This technology is therefore crucial in the development of IoT devices for it can play an important part for anyone wishing to withhold or prevent information being accessed by unauthorised visitors and/or employees.
If this technology is used properly, companies, individuals and even the government will find there are many benefits, not least that sensitive data held on any connected device, can be locked down and made inaccessible whenever it leaves specific premises.