Geo Fencing

Geo fencing is a technical expression for a simple concept: it consists in setting up virtual zones et be notified mobile devices entrances and exits in these zones. This is a powerful feature, allowing the developer to display notifications, based on geo­tracking, even as a background work or when the application is not even turned on.

 

Geo fencing on iOS and Android

In its advanced documentation for developers, Apple discuss about “regions” and “region monitoring”. This feature is available since iOS 4.0 and have been improved since then. With Android, geo fencing is quite new (may 2013): an addition to APK Google Play localisation services. It brings to developers an abstraction layer and they can therefore avoid to manage multiple complex cases. The two platforms define models before you even start your project of geo fencing. If you need to define more complex zones, you will need to call for a third­party alternative, such as iBeacon, a service provided by Pimclick.

 

Accuracy

Geo fencing uses cellular towers and Wi­Fi data to get an exact precision while using less battery and energy. With triangulation and position data Apple and Google state, cellular network and Wi­Fi can help localising your smartphone. Accuracy depends mainly on Wi-Fi routers density and cellars towers: triangulation in rural areas is not ideal for instance. However, using Apple or Google geo fencing implementations will not give you the best precision you can get. iOS documentation adds more details about notifications break- even point: the minimal distance must be significantly exceeded for a certain amount of time so the notification can be sent. Therefore, if the user cross the zone, the notification will no be sent immediately. Moreover, this break­even point depends on technologies available at this time (Wi­Fi and cellular networks activated or not). Therefore, questions you need to ask to yourself when you are building your application are: do my users live in a city? do my users let their Wi­Fi turned on when they are using my application? do I need my application to send an immediate notification after the user crossed the perimeter? If you are interested in geo fencing for your application and need help to develop it, please refer to our web design agency in Bangkok, Pimclick.

 

Operating life

GPS uses a lot of battery from your device. To use less energy, geo fencing does not use it. Instead, it uses cellular towers and Wi­Fi, as for more accuracy. However, some geo fencing users in the iOS app “Reminder” complained about an unusual loss of autonomy. Google introduced geo fencing through the Jelly Bean material, a more efficient way than making localisation calculations by software analysis. These feature is available since Nexus 4 and 7 (2013), but neither Google nor the developers have talked about it since then. They also add a Wi­Fi scan mode, which is the same as the iOS one. Geo fencing allows you to add discreet but efficient functionalities if they are well­adapted to each case, that is to say if the accuracy fits your needs. You will need to test its impact on the mobile device operating life but if it is appropriate, you can use it. Apple and Google both provide to developers high­level methods to use geo fencing in your apps. In order to use less energy, it uses Wi­Fi or cellular triangulation. There are however some default to geo fencing: it lacks of accuracy and largely depends on the density of transmitters, but it can still be sufficient according to your cases. If you cannot use geo fencing due to lack of accuracy, we advise you to look for alternatives, such as the iBeacon technology that can help your mobile application in the inside and in the outside.