What Is Geofencing?
Geofencing is the process of defining virtual fences or perimeters around a real-world physical location using geofencing software which is a common part of RTLS (Real-time Location System). Geofences detect when an object or person enters or leaves a virtual zone. When this happens, it is possible to trigger different events or actions. This means you can apply advanced logic when configuring the zones and triggers, not only to trigger an event based on entry into the zone, but also on a sequence of entries to zones or the length of time that an object has spent in the given zone, etc.
How Does Indoor Geofencing Work?
These are the three vital attributes that any geofencing software needs to provide:
- Accuracy essential to ensuring reliable data
Let’s say you want to track pallets that are stored in a row to know exactly at which position each of the pallets are. The euro pallet size is 120 x 80 cm, which means that you need less than 60 cm accuracy with a confidence interval of 99% to reliably define the pallets’ position to, for example, accurately guide a forklift to it.
- The ability to set up and update an unlimited number of virtual zones
Warehouse configurations tend to change over time, therefore, a real-time location system (RTLS) needs to provide an easy-to-use interface to add, delete and update virtual zones with just a few clicks. It must also be capable of including thousands of zones within a single facility, some of them overlapping others.
- Advanced zone logic
While some use cases might require triggers simply when a tracked object or person enters or leaves a zone, many others require advanced logic that better corresponds to real-life processes. This can include knowing if a tracked entity is still within a defined space and hasn’t left via a specific location or if any of the rea-life processes have a critical perquisite step that must be completed and monitored.
What Are Typical Applications of Geofencing?
The ability to set up virtual zones that correspond to particular entities such as products, process stages or materials and to simultaneously track other objects and people as they enter the zones and measure the time they spend there are some of the various use cases from different verticals – from entertainment, through industry to livestock.
Material Flow Tracking and eKanban
Geofencing is a cornerstone for material flow tracking. Each virtually created zone represents a real-life operation or production stage. This can include events such as the entry of a material into a virtual zone, signaling the start of an operation or stage. In a digital Kanban solution, the virtually set zones correspond to Kanban swimlanes – the material flow is tracked in real-time, providing full insights into production.
Decreasing the Time for Searching for Assets
As in the case of make-to-order or bespoke production, where the final products are assembled from multiple components, the time operators spend on searching for parts to complete their task represents a common waste. Geofencing allows you to divide the facility into an unlimited number of virtual zones to zoom in and locate the right component immediately.
Geofencing for Increasing People’s Safety
Mastering Processes Effectivity
Using RTLS’s geofencing feature, mastering processes can be improved and their time of completion reduced, helping you to define and optimize various zones, including safe emergency meeting points.
Prevention of Injuries
Alerts can be automatically triggered when somebody enters a dangerous zones or spends more time than allowed there (the maximum dwell time). Proximity alerts can initiate the automatic shutdown of the hazardous machine when a person gets too close to it.
Decreasing Restricted Area Movements
Using geofencing, restricted zones can be set easily. The virtual zones can also have different roles and user permissions set. By knowing who is going where in real-time, you can monitor and prevent any unauthorized access.
Automatic Configuration of Tools
Tools can be automatically configured based on their location or the proximity of an object. This could be used as an automatic configuration of the tightening torques at a nutrunner’s station based on the proximity of a particular car body and a particular nutrunner.
Automatic Workhour Reconciliation for Subcontractors
Geofencing allows automatic workhour calculation based on knowing how much time each contractor worker spent in a particular virtual area, which typically corresponds with a specific process. This supports automatic workhour reconciliation for machine maintenance contractors based on how much time they spent around each of the machines that were undergoing maintenance.
When a valuable tracked object leaves a defined area, an alarm signal is triggered. A good example represents exhibits at a gallery that feature UWB tags to trigger an alarm if they are moved.
Geofencing in Location-based Marketing and Location Experience Platforms
Location Triggered/Aware Content
The most common application of location marketing is to alert a device’s owner about an offer from a near-by business. Advanced use cases include recommendation engines based on the time spent in proximity to a product – moving the well-known “people also buy” from the online to the offline world.
Interactive Guides and Games
Museums, galleries and showrooms are verticals taking advantage of the accurate geofencing features UWB RTLS provides. Personalized content in the visitor’s language is instantly shown and updated based on the visitor’s location. Questionnaires and surveys add a gamification angle and navigation leads the visitor through the desired customer journey while keeping their engagement high.
Indoor location projects usually provide some form of analytics, such as spaghetti diagrams or heatmaps. Geofencing adds to the analytics mix the real-time metrics on visits and the time spent in close proximity to particular products within a retail environment.
Livestock Tracking to Prevent Illnesses
Setting virtual zones on a cattle farm to identify how much time each cow spends in the feeding alley versus the cow alley provides one of the inputs for an AI predictive algorithm that signalizes the potential sickness of a cow. This cow can be identified immediately and treated or even taken away from the herd to minimize the risk of spreading the illness among the animals.
Customer Projects Leveraging Geofencing
Sewio Partners Delivering Geofencing-based Projects
The Benefits of Using Sewio RTLS
Rechargeable UWB RTLS tags for employee location tracking with a battery life of years.
A fully scalable solution that allows you to customize existing tags, add thousands of trackable personnel and increase the coverage as your needs grow.
30 cm accuracy, which allows the full flexibility and variability of virtual zones without any changes of infrastructure.
Sewio RTLS is fully industry certified to guarantee reliable and scalable performance in even the harshest environments.
One flexible infrastructure suitable for multiple existing and future business cases.
We ensure you find the perfect certified and well-trained partner in your region for your project based on customer/partner fit.
Ready to Start Leveraging Geofencing?
After integrating the UWB RTLS with the Locatify Creator CMS, we’re extremely pleased with the support and indoor positioning accuracy provided by Sewio. We look forward to harnessing the technology to develop a new range of innovative applications and are excited to deliver such a level of indoor positioning accuracy to our customers.”