Geofencing: putting location and the internet to practical use

What the heck is geofencing?

Geofencing is the use of GPS satellites, Bluetooth or WiFi to create a virtual boundary around a specific location from which you can trigger an event for your mobile device. That device might be a car, a phone or any other type of connected device. These days even mattresses (insanely) are connected devices!

Here’s a quick example of geofencing: As you drive home from work, your phone reminds you to pick up a gallon of milk as you drive by the grocery store. For iPhone users, this can be done via the Reminder App. Implementing geofencing application used to be an expensive endeavor. Not anymore. Now, the hardware and application software costs have made geofencing available to everyone, whether that’s a business or a single individual.

For your organization, the possibilities are endless:

Automotive (Connected Cars)
Soon, instead of an annoying beep that your gas is low or when it’s time for an oil change, your car will tell you where you can actually get gas or an oil change based on your regular commute and which places have the best deals. FYI, this “connected car” functionality happens to tie directly to our experience in developing and supporting Ford Motor Company’s connected car program. It’s an exciting time to be in technology for the automotive industry.

Internet of Things (Smarthome)
Today there are connected devices such as the Nest smart thermostat. Right now, Nest can determine when you are at home and adjust the temperature accordingly. But with geofencing, you can take that further. Soon you can have your cell phone “talk” to the thermostat as you drive home, and based on how far away you are, automatically start warming the house for your arrival.

Industrial Internet of Things (Manufacturing)
Here’s an example of how geofencing can save manufacturing thousands (or more): Say you have a product that requires First In, First Out. If the product doesn’t ship quickly, quality and cost suffer. With RFID chips and geofencing, the company can now be flagged when a product is nearing its critical delivery date and clear the flag automatically once it’s left the plant.

For those of us at i2, geofencing is like the ultimate “if/then” application. If something is here, then do this. Or, if something is not here, then do that. For 20+ years, those kinds of questions have resided solely within code on a server or workstation. Now, with geofencing, the doors are open and the opportunities are (literally) anywhere you want them to be. Pretty cool.