Geofencing refers to the automated triggering of action by crossing a geolocated boundary on the earth’s surface or in the air. In most cases, the boundary defines a closed surface so that a distinction can be made between inside and outside. For example, a notification can be triggered when entering or exiting the surface. To do this, the observed object must send its position at regular intervals or allow its position to be queried from the outside. This location can be determined via the mobile radio system at the radio cell level or coordinate-based via a navigation satellite system.
Geofencing areas can be defined as circles or rectangles. The decision as to whether the observed object is inside or outside the predefined area is made with the help of a geographic information system. Geofencing may help to track visitors to an area, analyze their behaviour and provide or deny them special services.
The invisible fence is supported by RFID, WiFi, GPS or cellular data. 5G is likely to give this geofencing a powerful boost, as significantly more wireless capacity and bandwidth is expected to enable precise positioning. The radius of a geofence can be very small or very large. While beacons can interact with the mobile devices, they work in a different manner in terms of the ability.
Applications of Geofencing
- Monitoring of the area of application of machines, i.e. when renting construction machinery, as the fees may depend on it, or as theft protection.
- In the mobile operating system Apple iOS you can create “location-dependent reminders”, define circles on a map and choose whether the reminder should be triggered when entering or leaving.
- In the case of rental cars, geofencing ensures that the vehicles are only used domestically.
- In the case of valuables transports, an alarm is triggered when the vehicle is moving out of a corridor along the planned route.
- Restriction of airspace for drones
- Detect whether control points are reached during (time) critical transports.
- Location- and target group-oriented marketing strategies of companies
- Off-road games in which a safe area may not be left or a destination must be found as in a scavenger hunt or geocaching
- Additional alarming of emergency services (voluntary fire brigade and civil protection) via apps
- Determine presence and absences of the emergency force or distance to the guard
Advantages and disadvantages of Geofencing
This technology has the following advantages:
- Companies can send personalized messages for customer acquisition.
- Physical locations can be represented virtually.
Disadvantages are the following aspects:
- There are data protection concerns in the collection and analysis of movement profiles.
- When consumers enter areas that are surrounded by a geo-fence due to various organizations/companies, the number of notifications increases sharply.
- Cost-intensive implementation
Limits of Geofencing
Inside buildings or vehicles, the reception of signals from navigation satellites may be disturbed. This makes it difficult, for example, to find stolen objects when they are transported in a closed van, or even makes it impossible to find them. The use of interference devices can also prevent satellite reception.
By reconstructing the signals from navigation satellites (spoofing) a position other than the actual one can be faked. In areas where there is weak mobile coverage, the GPS receivers used for geofencing can no longer send position messages.