What are Geofences? – All about Geofencing in 5 min

Geofences are virtual borders around a physical location that can be used to trigger events when a user enters or exists the region. This video answers the most commonly asked questions about geofencing, how it works, accuracy, and viable use cases.

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Geofences are virtual fences or perimeters around the physical location.
Geofences detect when someone comes in or leaves the given region.
When this happens, it is possible to trigger events and actions, such as sending a notification to the users’ mobile phone.

That’s great, Daniel. But how does it work?

As a user moves around with her phone, a new position is calculated every now and then from a variety of different sources, such as Wi-Fi and cellular data, GPS and Bluetooth beacons.
The phone uses the updated position to check if the user has entered or left any of the geofences, and in this case, it triggers the corresponding actions. These actions can let the user know that they have entered the geofence, for instance by displaying a notification.
However, they can also be silent without informing the user. Such would be the case if you wanted to track how many times the user has come into your shop and how much time they spend there. Geofences require no additional hardware or sensors to be installed.
However, you can use Bluetooth beacons to improve the accuracy of your geofences, especially indoors. For practically all cases though, you will require that users have your mobile application or one of your partner’s mobile applications installed on their device.
You can place geofences practically anywhere, even around your competitors’ shop.
However, there will be some limitations on the size and accuracy of the geofences depending on the location and the positioning technology used.
Mobile phones typically detect their location using native positioning. This gives an accuracy of roughly 20 to 50 meters.
If your app relies on this type of positioning for geofence detection, then this is the size you should be aiming for.
If you are interested in smaller geofences, for instance, if you want to know in which part of your shop or venue the customer is standing, you can use Bluetooth Positioning.
By installing Bluetooth beacons around your venue, you will be able to get around 2 meters of accuracy.
GPS positioning is also possible, but due to the high battery consumption, it’s not always recommended.
Keep in mind that the location will also play an important role. If you are placing a geofence in a dense urban center, accuracy will be much higher than if you are placing a geofence around the rural area with very few Wi-Fi signals.
Geofences work both when the app is actively being used as when it’s running in background mode. For instance, if your user has the phone inside their pocket.
However, behavior will be slightly different.
For instance, your app might receive less frequent location updates in order to preserve battery power.
Behavior will also change according to the platform, which is being used Android or iOS and the position technology used.
According to your use case, you can define a strategy to achieve optimal results.
Check out our website for a detailed guide on how. (https://proximi.io)
There are many use cases for geofences. One of the main ones is marketing. For instance, you can detect when a user is nearby your shop and send them a special offer to their phone, in order to get them to come.
You could also use them to build a profile of your users’ preferences, by detecting how much time they spend on each part of your shop.
Geofences can also be used to display relevant content. For instance, inside a museum, the museum app might display information relevant to the room or the exhibit that the user is looking at.
Of Course, these are just examples. With the proximi.io SDK you can achieve any type of action.
Geofences are features provided by Android and iOS, which you can program directly into your own app. However, by using a platform, such as the proximi.io SDK, you get a bunch of benefits.
For starters, you can easily define geofences using our online graphical tool.
You can define an unlimited number of geofences, and you can change them dynamically even after your app is already published.
You also get analytics on your users’ behaviors without any extra work.
Additionally, you can define any type of action when the user enters or leaves any of the geofences, such as sending a notification or triggering a third-party API.

That’s all for now.
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