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Geofencing: Definition, Benefits and Uses

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geo fencing to track childs cell phone location

Geofencing uses GPS (global positioning system), RFID (radio frequency identification), or similar location-based technologies to create a virtual boundary or geographic area around a specific location on a map. Geofencing enables the monitoring of entries and exits of tracked devices within these boundaries or geographic areas. Geofencing is used in mobile apps, security systems, and geographically targeted marketing campaigns, where it triggers specific actions, notifications, or alerts based on the device’s proximity to the defined boundaries.

The most common method of using geofencing is through an app. Geofencing apps are similar to phone tracker apps. While phone tracking apps show only the mobile device’s current location, geofencing apps can alert the app’s user when the phone enters or leaves a predefined geographic area.

In this article we’re going to take a quick look at how geofencing works and how you can use it to track anyone from an employee to a child or even a spouse.

What are the Benefits of Geofencing?

Plain and simple “geo-fencing” uses the GPS system built into every smart phone to create safe and non-safe areas.  You can think of these as places the phone (and more importantly it’s owner) is allowed to go places it’s not.

Want to learn more about our favorite app for tracking a cell phones location and other data?  Check out uMobix.

Once you’ve got it setup on a monitored cell phone you’ll receive a notification that the person and their phone have left an area that you designated as a safe zone.

Let’s look at an example.  Let’s say your child Timmy goes to school every day on the bus. 

But he’s not allowed to leave the neighborhood after school.  You can setup a couple different fences.  One would be around his school and the other would be around your neighborhood.  

You’ll get a notification stating that he’s left school and then another when he arrives home.  Simple enough right?

Now let’s say little Timmy gets a call from his friend Paul in the next neighborhood down the street.  Paul just got a brand new video game. 

Of course Timmy knows he’s not allowed to go to Paul’s neighborhood without your permission, but he really wants to go check out this new video game.  So he decides to ride his bike to the next neighborhood. 

Well as soon as he leaves the neighborhood you’ll get an alert on your phone telling you he’s left.  Now you can do whatever you feel is necessary to rectify the situation such as call them or send a text message.

What Are the Uses for Geo-Fencing Apps

Geofencing apps are useful for parents, spouses, and employers. Geofencing apps help parents monitor the location of their child. These apps allow spouses to monitor the location of their partner’s smartphone. Employers can use geofencing apps to track work vehicles.

Human Resource Management

While most employees are responsible that you don’t need to monitor their location on a regular basis, there are always those that manage to get into trouble.  If you’ve got employees that require a bit more monitoring geo-fencing is a great option. 

From your monitoring dashboard you can setup zones that they are not allowed to enter and those that they are.  

If they wander out of the safe zone you can confront them about where they went later and decide on an appropriate action.  One caveat is that many employees will be resentful of any attempts by management to keep tabs on them.

But this has to be balanced by your businesses need to make money.  If your employees aren’t where they’re supposed to be and doing what they should be doing you lose money. 

Geo-fencing allows you to have a list of infractions for each employee and use this information for whatever actions your deem necessary.

Managing a Fleet of Vehicles

There are plenty of businesses that manage large fleets of vehicles as part of their every day operation. The ability to track each vehicle is very valuable for a wide variety of reasons.

  • you can quickly re-route vehicles when changes in schedule come up
  • see when employees are lingering too long over lunch
  • quickly determine how long an employee was on a job-site to avoid billing disputes
  • quickly assess hours worked by each employee based on job-site

There are specialty geofencing apps and hardware for doing these same functions, but when you can just have it performed by the employees phone you can save literally thousands of dollars per year.

Tracking Your Children Using Their Phone

Even the best behaved child breaks the rules every once in a while. Just like in our example above with little Timmy, sometimes it’s just nice to KNOW where they are. In fact, you can even track a phone without installing an app if it’s an iOS device. 

In the old days if your child didn’t want to tell you where they were going you had to try to catch them in a lie.  Now this work is all done for you.

And of course it’s not always the kids fault either.  While it’s horrible to think about, kids get abducted from schools and playgrounds every day.  

If they’re phone notifies you the minute they leave one of their safe zones you’ll be that much closer to finding them quickly.  

You’ll be able to see exactly when they left and where they went based on the phones current location.  Learn more on this topic here.

Want to learn more about the best apps for setting up geo-fencing on your child’s phone?   Check out this article to see how you can use Google maps to track a phone.

Tracking Your Spouse

If you need to see where your spouse is at any given time these apps are a perfect solution.  They allow you to track your husband’s phone, wife’s phone, or whoever.  

You simply install the software and you’re ready to go.  That way if they ever lose their phone you’ll be able to track it down quickly.

In Conclusion

Geo-fencing is a great way to monitor the location of just about any phone.  It quickly allows you to see it’s exact location. 

In addition, this software will notify you when the phone leaves a predetermined area.  This means you’ll know exactly when and where a phone is at any time day or night.  

The best part is as long as YOU own the phone you don’t need the person’s permission to monitor their phone.

Geo-fencing is just one of the capabilities built into today’s cell phone monitoring software. 

About the Author

Jason has over 25 years in the information and internet security industry. He is passionate about smartphones, gadgets, and technology. He also got a solid background in programming and software.  This includes Python, C++, app development and more.

jason thompson