14th August 2017
Exploring the wide-ranging uses of geo-fencing technology
We made the headlines1 recently when the media discussed potential ways of minimising the future risk of vehicles once again being utilised by terrorists in a similar way to the attacks in Stockholm, Berlin, London and a few days ago in Paris involving a hire car.
Andrew Brown-Allan, director of our technology incubator, Trak Labs, explained how “it is now possible to immobilise a vehicle remotely using the technology that goes into a black box.” Aside from helping combat vehicular terrorism, geo-fencing is successfully being put to other excellent uses in the automotive world and is proving equally revolutionary in many different sectors, too.
As a technology and insurance solutions group encompassing a broker for young drivers, it’s always concerning to digest figures like Network Rail’s revealing that 29% of youngsters surveyed admit to using their smartphones while walking over level crossings, where this age group is identified as being at higher risk of near misses. Fortunately, Network Rail is adopting geo-fencing technology to detect smartphones in the vicinity of level crossings and alert their users of the potential dangers, advising them to put their phones away in an effort to improve road safety2.
In Leeds an exciting initiative called Project ACCRA3 has got under way, primarily comprised the Transport Systems Catapault, Tevva Motors, Dynniq, EarthSense, Cenex and Leeds City Council. Real-time traffic and air quality data will be monitored and uploaded to a decision-making engine interface that will communicate with a new system devised for hybrid vehicles, automatically triggering their powertrains to switch to electric mode at certain times. If successful in Leeds, such geo-fencing technology could be rolled out to other clean air zones across the UK, improving public health for current and future generations.
The hospitality industry is also increasingly harnessing geo-fencing, a great example being the ten-strong Tavern in the Square restaurant chain in the States4. Following a complete rebrand, the launch of a loyalty program and also an app, their financial platform additionally enables the chain to connect with loyalty members within the vicinity of its restaurants, special offers transmitted by push-pull SMS to customers inside a certain radius, resulting in a 50% sales increase.
Office security can benefit from embracing geo-fencing, with a virtual perimeter on premises logging employees’ entry and exit, notifying security whenever an individual accesses an unauthorised area5. It’s likely that public buildings such as hospitals and airports will also follow suit, making them safer for everyone.
Technophiles will love the way that geo-fencing is being incorporated into domestic smart home systems7 and gadgetry so that central heating or air conditioning systems adjust when someone nears their property, and apps alert people if they unintentionally leave their ovens switched on8.
Recruitment is another sector exploring the benefits of geo-fencing, with a number of specialised stateside employers and agencies having turned to sending vacancy opportunities to targeted potential candidates’ phones when they enter a geo-fenced zone9. Careful filtering of data ensures that role details are only sent to prospective employees with relevant skillsets, which could be a welcome surprise for some.
Airports are set to become better protected against drone-related incidents and threats with flight delays also minimised thanks to geo-fencing that will see UK-sold drones pre-programmed with the GPS coordinates of airports, sports venues, government buildings and other sensitive locations to prevent them from entering such zones10.
Even the wine industry is reaping the benefits of geo-fencing solutions. Take southern Australia, for example, where viticulturists have successfully proved the technology’s value in strengthening biosecurity. Programming virtual fences around vineyards is helping to monitor, prevent and treat the spread of pests and diseases like phylloxera. Movement is detected within predefined boundaries and landowners are notified when unauthorised access occurs that could otherwise leave crops vulnerable to infection, wine-drinking customers ultimately benefitting as well.
Particularly when it comes to making our homes, public spaces and general lives safer and cleaner, it’s quite reassuring to discover how geo-fencing and other technologies are playing a key role and we will be sure to keep our blog’s readers abreast of future insights.
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