Your cell phone starts beeping. You just received a text message. The message says that your child has left school and gives you a link to track his or her current location.
This is just one of the many new applications available thanks to geofencing—the creation of virtual fences which alert you (or someone else) when you cross them. Here are five of the most exciting ways people are using geofencing today:
1—Monitoring Your Loved Ones
Children and pets can be quite ingenious about sneaking away, but if your child has a cell phone and your pet has a GPS-enabled tracker, you can create a geofence zone which will warn you when your child or pet leaves it.
You can also use geofencing to monitor the adults in your life. If you work a somewhat flexible schedule, your spouse can setup a geofence around your work and receive a notice when you’re on the way home. Or you can setup a geofence to tell you when your out-of-town cousin is within thirty miles so you can invite him over for dinner.
2—Location Specific Coupons
Several apps now provide coupons if you walk within a particular geofenced area. For example, you’re on your way to do your weekly shopping and you walk past the electronics store. Your phone vibrates and you see a notification that bluetooth headsets are discounted 50% today at the store you just passed.
3—Meet Cool People
Unlike physical fences, geofences can move, so there are several services that use geofencing to tell you when you’re in the vicinity of interesting people. You can get notices when you’re near your friends and family, and at least one dating service notifies you when you’re near a potential match.
Geofences are a great way to have a casual conversation. Stop in the local coffee shop and create a geofence. As people who want to talk to you pass by, they’ll be notified of your presence and have the opportunity to stop in and chat with you.
Geofencing can add a new dimension to games. Take the classic game “capture the flag.” Now you and anyone else with a smartphone can play across the world. You simply go to a particular location to capture the flag for that location; if anyone enters that location after you, they capture the flag.
Now imagine the flag location is hidden deep within the woods or at the top of a mountain. The game keeps gets more challenging and more interesting, and many other fun games are possible with geofencing.
5—Disaster And Delay Notification
If you have a recent high-end car GPS (or you use Google Maps), you may already be using geofencing. When there’s a significant road delay, traffic management organizations or the automatic Google Maps software will geofence the delayed part of the road. Your GPS device or software will see that geofence and automatically try to route you around the delay.
More importantly, geofencing can warn you if you’re in or about to enter a region with a disaster warning. For example, you can receive a notice that you’re in a tornado watch area or that the state park is closed due to bear activity.
About Ali Gajani
Hi. I am Ali Gajani. I started Mr. Geek in early 2012 as a result of my growing enthusiasm and passion for technology. I love sharing my knowledge and helping out the community by creating useful, engaging and compelling content. If you want to write for Mr. Geek, just PM me on my Facebook profile.