What is Geofencing Technology? 4 Unique Ways to Use This Technology

Image showing phone with mapping points and stopwatch

What is Geofencing Technology, Exactly?

Ge·o·fence (noun):

  • A virtual geographic boundary, defined by GPS or RFID technology, that enables software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area
  • Technology which allows any business in any industry to improve bottom line performance, better serve its clients, or both

Geofencing technology, available in SOTI MobiControl – part of the SOTI ONE Platform – is a great way to track the physical location of your devices in the field and to control what they can or can’t do based on where they are.

SOTI MobiControl utilizes polygonal geofencing; meaning you can deploy policies, apps and content based on the precise visual boundaries of any shape. It also uses detailed maps, thus making it easy to create as many geofences in as many locations as required just by clicking and dragging your mouse. Once a geofence is active, it stays that way until you decide to alter or delete it.

Besides device tracking, there are other ways geofencing technology helps your workers and the bottom line of your business.

1. Stopping Time Theft

“Buddy punching” – the practice of one worker clocking in on behalf of another who is absent or running late – affects 75% of businesses to the cost of $50 billion USD each year. Those aren’t lost wages; they’re stolen wages. And 19% of workers admit to doing it.

Geofencing puts an end to “buddy punching” and time theft. Instead of punching in a physical, paper-based time-card (still used by 38% of all U.S. employees and 58% of Canadian workers), a geofence-enabled device automatically clocks in when it enters a geofence and clocks out when it exits.

Since the device and employee are tied, geofencing eliminates the workaround of logging out and logging back in with the late or absent co-worker’s credentials.

There’s an additional benefit too – when it comes to attracting talent, 53% of workers say they’d be more inclined to accept a job with geofencing capabilities if it ensured they got paid accurately.

2. Securing Corporate Data on Corporate Devices

There is information which, if it ended up in the wrong hands, could prove catastrophic:

In the industries mentioned above, and in others like emergency services and field services, devices and the sensitive data and apps on them are always on the move. It’s easy for a smartphone, tablet or a rugged device to be lost or misplaced while in transit.

Looking at the stats, 4.3% of company issued smartphones are lost or stolen every year (that’s 10 million employee devices) and 70 million smartphones – personal, corporate or a combination of the two – are lost.

(And if you’re curious, smartphones and other devices are usually lost at coffee shops, restaurants, bars, airports, public transit and on airplanes.)

When devices are in between work locations, geofencing can lock them up so that any business-critical information is safe, secure and inaccessible. A geofenced work location can be any shape and any size: as small as a house or as big as a sports stadium.

Many organizations are worried because adding mobile devices increases the attack vector for hackers. Geofences can ensure that sensitive work data remains inside its virtual walls.

3. Educating and Protecting Your Workers

Geofencing technology is being used to educate workers and, for 33% of organizations to proactively increase on-the-job safety. For example:

  • Operators entering a forklift shed instantly receive a two-minute video on their device reminding them of best practices and safety tips. The end user must watch and acknowledge the video prior to operating a forklift. This promotes on-the-job safety and worker accountability
  • In the construction industry, geofences are used to sound an alarm on the device when workers come into proximity with hazards such as overhead powerlines or dangerous materials. Geofence technology can also alert supervisors if workers or equipment have crossed a boundary, allowing for a quick response to the situation
  • Employees for an oil and gas manufacturing company receive a daily checklist when they enter the perimeters of a geofence. Because the organization employs this best practice – and because the workers are required to follow the checklist – workplace injuries dropped by 20% within one year

Organizations are also using geofencing technology to help with their onboarding protocols. On a geofence-enabled device, training materials are available when the new employee enters the workplace facility and unavailable when they leave. This can also be extended to other areas such as the worker’s home address so they can continue learning away from the corporate environment in a safe, secure manner.

4. Controlling Expenses

When a driver or agent arrives at the wrong destination in specific industries such as field services or T&L, here is where the biggest unnecessary wastages occur:

  • Fleet (additional wear-and-tear on a vehicle)
  • Fuel (using and paying for extra gas)
  • Time (having to double-back and get on the right road)

Geofencing technology can alert drivers and field technicians when they enter an incorrect location or take an unapproved route and guide them to the right place, thus saving time and money.

Additionally, geofencing can be used to steer drivers and vehicles away from high-crime areas. Cargo in transit is the highest proportion of all T&L theft at 71%. While in Canada, $5 billion CAD worth of cargo is stolen every year.

Protect What Matters – Devices, Data, Apps and Workers – with Geofencing Technology in SOTI MobiControl

Setting up geofences with SOTI MobiControl is easy. Once done, you get instant peace of mind knowing that you can control what a device can or can’t do depending on its location.

Better still, SOTI geofences are polygon-based, meaning they can be deployed precisely around buildings or areas of any regular or irregular shape. And it’s not just software you protect, it’s hardware too. Use a geofence to disable the camera, USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi ensures that no pictures or data are “accidentally” taken from the premises.

Are your devices and people constantly going from one location to another? Always know where they are and what they can do (or can’t do) with geofencing technology and SOTI MobiControl.