Geofencing is a feature with which you can set up automatic actions for moments when a device or product enters or leaves a pre-established geographical zone. Traditionally used for security purposes, these virtual boundaries are also proving valuable in businesses and manufacturing.
In this article, we discuss what geofencing is, how it works, and how you can use geofencing in manufacturing.
What is Geofencing?
To put it simply, geofencing is the process of establishing virtual boundaries for devices or products.
Geofencing is a location-based service in which you use RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags, GPS, WiFi, or cellular data to track a device’s location in proximity to a pre-programmed virtual zone, known as a geofence.
Whenever the device or RFID tag enters or leaves that geofence, a set of pre-programmed actions are executed. You can set up geofencing actions such as push notifications, automatic emails, text messages, or even targeted social media advertisements.
In most cases, geofences are used for security purposes to make sure no valuable products leave a virtual zone. We’ll discuss specific use cases of geofence in manufacturing later in this article.
How Does Geofencing Work?
The following is a brief overview of how to set up geofencing:
- The administrator establishes a virtual boundary in GPA or an RFID-based software. This process may even be as simple as physically marking a specific zone on Google Maps.
- Next, the administrator can choose between a set of actions that must be triggered when a device or RFID-tagged object enters or leaves that zone.
- Once you’ve established the geofence and the triggered action, you need to define the authorized geofence device or devices.
- When those devices either enter or leave the virtual zone (as defined by the administrator), a set of pre-programmed actions are triggered. For example, if you’re using geofence to make sure your products don’t leave a specific zone, you can set up mobile alerts if any of it leaves the virtual zone.
Geofencing can be used by larger organizations and also end-users. For example, retailers may create geofencing triggers for when your phone (with their downloaded application) enters a specific zone. End-users can also set geofencing actions for when they enter or leave a specific zone, such as automatically activating the heating in their home when they get close.
A wide range of businesses harness geofencing capabilities. They have utility in social networking, marketing, retail, smart devices, human resources, security, and so much more.
Now that you understand how geofencing works and its various capabilities, let’s explore how geofencing can help the manufacturing sector specifically.
Geofencing in Manufacturing
The primary advantage of geofencing in manufacturing is in equipment monitoring.
Manufacturers must keep track of their equipment — whether they handle a large fleet of mobile vehicles or a group of stationary machinery and objects.
This is no small concern.
According to the National Equipment Register (NER), construction equipment theft leads to approximately $300 million to $1 billion in lost revenue per year. Furthermore, less than 25% of stolen equipment are ever recovered, which is why construction equipment theft is deemed a low-risk high-reward opportunity for those with malicious intent.
Wheeled and tracked loaders, towables, excavators, skid steers, and utility vehicles are some of the most frequently stolen equipment, according to the 2016 Construction Equipment Theft Recovery Report.
Manufacturers can authorize geofences for all of their products and vehicles, establishing safe geographical boundaries for them. Their movement outside the pre-established zone will immediately trigger geofence alerts.
As such, investing in geofencing features and technologies can drastically cut down all theft attempts and equipment damage, which can also reduce manufacturers’ insurance costs.
As we’ve seen, geofencing is one of the most effective means by which manufacturers (and all other verticals of businesses in general) can monitor their assets, preventing theft and property damage. Setting up a geofence is relatively simple, and it offers an abundance of benefits.