Geofencing: What it is, how to use it and why it should matter to you
Most fleet owners and companies believe that fleet tracking software is only useful for tracking the whereabouts of their vehicles. While this is an excellent feature of many fleet management software solutions, it is far from the sole benefit. It’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can do.
In this article, we will explore how geofencing transforms vehicle tracking for businesses, providing actionable insights to optimise operations and boost efficiency.
What is geofencing?
Geofencing is a location-based technology that uses virtual boundaries, known as geofences, to trigger specific actions or notifications when a device or object enters or exits predefined areas. Geofencing allows you to create virtual boundaries and designate a safe or unsafe geographic region.
You’ll be notified whenever one of your fleet vehicles enters or exits this boundary. Virtual fences can be as tiny as your backyard or as large as the entire country, depending on your preferences.
In simple terms, a geofence is a virtual boundary that encloses or defines an area.
How does it work?
The concept of geofencing revolves around defining geographic boundaries and associating them with specific locations or points of interest. These boundaries can be as large as an entire city or as small as a specific building or area.
Geofencing relies on a combination of technologies such as GPS and cellular networks to establish and monitor these virtual perimeters and are typically created using GPS coordinates or by drawing custom shapes on a map.
Once a geofence is established, fleet managers can utilise it to automate various actions or receive notifications based on the location of a vehicle. In fleet management, geofencing can be used to monitor vehicle movement, track routes, and send alerts when vehicles enter or exit designated areas.
What are the types of geofences you can set up?
Using a geofence in your fleet management software allows you to make sure that all vehicle activities happening within the fence or territory are tracked and information is stored for future reference.
- Proximity fence
A proximity fence can be created by drawing a buffer zone (for a specific distance) over a particular point or a place. You may set to receive notifications when a vehicle enters the buffer zone. This helps us to know how close our vehicle is to a specific location.
- Route fence
Route fences are virtually created routes with via points that helps to restrict the movement of your fleets to a predefined route. When it comes to business uses, route fences let you have complete control over your fleets and the drivers who are using it.
- Park fence
A park fence allows you to set a fence or virtual boundary for your assets or parked vehicle. A park fence eliminates your worry about your vehicles getting stolen or towed away and ensures that your vehicle or asset is safe and secure.
- Spot fence
These are fences created for a small spot or location on the map. A spot fence could be your office location, a pickup location or a delivery point. Fleet management software will enable you to set an alert if a vehicle enters, exits or stops at a particular point.
For example, if you have a logistics company and have different collection centres in the city, you can mark all the pick-up spots on the map. The person in charge of the next location can be notified once the vehicle reaches a specific location and can be ready with the consignment that needs to be delivered.
What are the benefits of geofencing?
- Improved Fleet Visibility and Real-time Tracking
With accurate and up-to-date information, geofencing alerts allows fleet managers to make informed decisions, and respond promptly to unexpected events.
- Enhanced Route Optimisation and Efficient Dispatching
By combining geofencing with route optimisation algorithms, businesses can optimise their delivery routes, saving time, fuel, and resources. Geofencing allows for the creation of virtual perimeters and geo-targeted routes, ensuring vehicles take the most efficient paths while avoiding congested areas or road closures.
- Reduced Fuel Costs and Improved Fuel Efficiency
Geofencing plays a vital role in reducing fuel costs by enabling businesses to monitor and optimise fuel consumption. By setting geofences around fuelling stations or preferred routes, fleet managers can identify opportunities to refuel at the most cost-effective locations and reduce unnecessary detours, ultimately improving fuel efficiency.
- Driver Safety and Accountability
Businesses can set geofences to monitor driving behaviour, such as entering restricted areas. Notifications and alerts can be triggered, reminding drivers to adhere to safety protocols and providing valuable insights for training and coaching purposes.
- Proactive Fleet Management with Geofencing Alerts
Fleet managers can receive instant notifications when vehicles enter or exit specific geofenced areas, allowing them to monitor operations closely, detect anomalies, and address potential issues in real time.
- Preventing Unauthorised Vehicle Use or Theft
Geofencing acts as a powerful deterrent against unauthorised vehicle use or theft. By setting geofences around designated parking areas or company premises, businesses can receive immediate alerts if a vehicle moves outside those boundaries without authorisation, enabling swift action to prevent theft or misuse.
- Valuable Insights and Data-driven Decision Making
Analysing geofencing data allows fleet managers to identify patterns, optimise routes, improve resource allocation, and make data-driven decisions. It enables businesses to continuously refine their operations and achieve higher levels of efficiency.
Disadvantages of geofencing
Despite its numerous advantages, geofencing also has certain drawbacks that should be considered when implementing this technology. Some of the main disadvantages of geofencing include privacy concerns, battery drain, technical limitations, and costs.
- Privacy: One concern associated with geofencing is the potential invasion of privacy. As geofencing collects and processes location data, it can lead to pushback from customers, employees, or other individuals who might perceive this monitoring as intrusive. Ensuring transparency and obtaining consent when using geofencing can help alleviate these concerns and foster proper adoption.
- Battery drain: Battery drain is another disadvantage of geofencing, particularly when using some GPS-based systems. Continuously monitoring location data can consume a significant amount of battery power on smartphones and other devices, which may lead to user dissatisfaction. That’s why Netstar’s application runs in the background, to save your battery life and allow you to use other apps.
- Technical limitations also pose challenges for geofencing. For instance, GPS signals can be obstructed by tall buildings or other obstacles, reducing accuracy in urban environments. In instances where the unit’s GSM cellular connection is interrupted, the positional data is stored on the device. Once the unit is in coverage again, it will send the data to the servers that will then process it and send notifications as required.
- Costs associated with implementing and maintaining geofencing systems can be a drawback for some businesses. Depending on the chosen geofencing solution’s scale and complexity, businesses may face significant upfront costs for hardware, software, and infrastructure, as well as ongoing expenses for maintenance and support. While the benefits of geofencing outweigh these costs, businesses should carefully assess their budget and return on investment before adopting technology.
How Netstar can help
Netstar offers a robust geofencing solution designed to cater to the needs of companies across various industries. One of the key advantages of Netstar is its overall user-friendliness, making it easy for businesses to set up and manage geofences for their specific requirements.
The intuitive interface allows companies to create custom geofenced zones, monitor the real-time location of assets and employees, and receive automated alerts and notifications based on predefined rules. Should you require additional assistance in setting up geofenced zones, our extensive user manual can be of help, or your account manager can be contacted to arrange further training.
Geofencing has become a game-changer for businesses aiming to optimise their vehicle tracking and fleet management operations. By embracing this technology, businesses can achieve increased efficiency, improved safety, reduced costs, and enhanced customer satisfaction. Stay ahead of the competition by leveraging the power of geofencing and transforming your fleet operations today!