Definition

geo-fencing (geofencing)

Part of the Network hardware glossary:

Geo-fencing (geofencing) is a feature in a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. A geofence is a virtual barrier.  

Programs that incorporate geo-fencing allow an administrator to set up triggers so when a device enters (or exits) the boundaries defined by the administrator, a text message or email alert is sent. Many geo-fencing applications incorporate Google Earth, allowing administrators to define boundaries on top of a satellite view of a specific geographical area.  Other applications define boundaries by longitude and latitude or through user-created and Web-based maps.

The technology has many practical uses. For example, a network administrator can set up alerts so when a hospital-owned iPad leaves the hospital grounds, the administrator can disable the device. A marketer can geo-fence a retail store in a mall and send a coupon to a customer who has downloaded a particular mobile app when the customer (and his smartphone) crosses the boundary.

Geo-fencing has many uses including:

Use Example
Fleet management When a truck driver breaks from his route, the dispatcher receives an alert.  
Human resource management An employee smart card will send an alert to security if an employee attempts to enter an unauthorized area.
Compliance management Network logs record geo-fence crossings to document the proper use of devices and their compliance with established rules.
Marketing A restaurant can trigger a text message with the day's specials to an opt-in customer when the customer enters a defined geographical area.
Asset management An RFID tag on a pallet can send an alert if the pallet is removed from the warehouse without authorization. 
Law enforcement An ankle bracelet can alert authorities if an individual under house arrest leaves the premises.

 

See also: location-based services, geolocation, geotargeting, telemetry, machine-to-machine (M2M)

This was last updated in August 2014
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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