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Geolocation 16.07.21

What is geofencing?

When we talk about geolocation, we often hear about geofencing. This concept will be omnipresent in our lives tomorrow.

In this article, I explain how it works and the possible applications.

Overview of geofencing technology

Geofencing or geotagging is a process of monitoring the position of an object or person to perform an action when they are in a predefined area. The action can be sending content to a smartphone, switching off a machine when an operator is too close, etc.

This consists of dividing a space into zones. When an object is located in one of these zones, the action starts.

For example, an employee’s smartphone is geolocated in a company. When this employee is located with his smartphone in his office, then the computer turns on. When he goes for a coffee in the cafeteria, the computer automatically turns on. Each zone is associated with one or more actions.

Waze, geofencing in advertising

The famous GPS navigation application monetises geolocation data.

How does it do this? It’s very simple!

When you approach certain points of sale, the application displays ads to show you the latest attractive offers.

Waze defines zones around these shops where the ads are sent. This makes it possible to target the user perfectly.

With over 90 million active users, the app is revolutionising the way content is delivered to users.

Their content is targeted and adapted in real time.

What are applications for tomorrow?

Currently, geolocation data is used mainly for navigation in the general public.

New geofencing applications will emerge and revolutionise the sector in which they are used.

Application 1: Industrial transport between sites

When a transporter arrives at a warehouse, it always takes time to get access rights and find out where to put the goods.

Tomorrow, when he approaches the warehouse, he will be automatically notified and can start the process beforehand.

The accesses to the site will be prepared as well as the place where the truck can be parked.

Both the carrier and the warehouse can concentrate on their core business.

Application 2: Geomarketing

In the quest to sell more and more, retailers are looking for new ways to attract potential customers. They can now offer targeted advertising using geofencing.

Customers’ smartphones are located within the shopping centre and receive content based on their location.

You will be aware of the latest unbeatable offers from each retailer!

This can be done when you walk between shops but also when you are in a specific shop. You’ll get content every time you walk past a different product.

Note: in some Asian countries, this technology is already used. This raises many ethical issues.

Europeans are not yet ready to use this kind of solution which restricts our freedom.

 

Application 3: Lost and stolen tools in industry

An operator loses an average of 30 to 40 minutes a day looking for an object in industry. He is not efficient during this time.

This represents a cost of more than 5000€/operator/year per company.

Thanks to geofencing, the operator will be able to know the zone in which his tools are located at any given time. He will go directly to the right place to avoid wasting time. The inventory of the tool park will be done in a snap of the fingers.

Just go to your tablet and collect the data. In many industries, only the tool that the operator needs should be taken out to limit the risk of finding a screwdriver in a reactor or engine!

Tracing tools ensures that the tools are in the right place.

Finally, tools are also sometimes stolen. An alert will be sent to the tool managers when a tool leaves the predefined area.

These recurring thefts represent huge costs for companies.

The aim of geofencing for tools is therefore to ensure that they are in the right place and to know their position when they are not.

To summarise

Geofencing is a way to perform an action when a located object is in a predefined area.

This technique will be used more and more in the future. The applications are numerous and touch all sectors of activity. It can be used to bring targeted content to the general public via their smartphones or to improve the productivity of operators in factories.

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