As it increases in popularity, the use of GPS geofencing technology is on the rise in a variety of different sectors as company leaders come up with new ways to use it. Utilizing GPS on any smartphone, a geographical boundary is set up by a company and when the device enters (or exits), a geofence alert is issued. Among many other things, businesses are using geofencing to connect with customers, safeguard valuable assets, improve workplace management and as an app to track employees.
Rock-solid time tracking
Geofencing can benefit both you and your employees with its ability to track employee time, location and wages. With an employee punch clock app, it’s around a work site that notifies you and your workers when they enter and exit the site.
Using Timesheet Mobile, the virtual perimeter can be customized so that employees can be alerted to punch in or out of a shift once they are near the designated geofenced area – and also notify managers if there was any geofence violation.
This helps companies rely less on manual processes for timesheet logs, and gives on-the-go workers accountability and peace of mind that their hours are being accurately captured. Because both sides have undisputable evidence of the hours worked, there are bound to be fewer disagreements over hours and wages, leading to a better relationship between employer and employees. That was the case with Jericho Home Improvements, a leading remodeling company in Kansas City that adopted Timesheet Mobile’s GPS geofencing technology to keep better track of their workers.
Reel in customers
Retailers are increasingly turning to geofencing to get in touch with their most loyal customers when they are most likely to make a purchase.
For instance, a retailer will set up a geofence around their store or the mall in which their store is located. When a customer who has downloaded their app enters the area, they get a push notification on their phone that lets them know of a deal at the nearby store.
You can target customers who have downloaded the app specific to your business or you can partner with a third party app, such as RetailMeNot, which alerts its users to deals at a variety of different businesses.
You may be surprised once you get a glimpse of the data generated by geofencing applications over a long period of time.
The technology will allow you to analyze long-term trends on any number of workplace-related issues. How often are workers leaving the workplace site? Are they punching into a shift from far away from the site, or are they within the geofenced area? How do customers react to different geofence-activated notifications, and are they taking action on the alerts? Our data showed that in the last 1.5 million shifts that were captured using the Timesheet Mobile geofencing app, 9.87% of employees had left the geofenced area without punching out. Using Timesheet Mobile, employers can ensure that hours are accurately tracked, while gaining valuable insights in real-time.
A wide range of companies can use this type of virtual boundary to keep tabs on their places of business or equipment after hours, but it’s particularly important for companies that are managing fleets or working in the construction industry. Our deep understanding of our customer’s pain points was one of the reasons why Capterra recently named us as one of the “Outstanding Geofencing Tools” for the construction industry.
A geofence around a construction site can alert you to any unauthorized entries to the site, as well as the departure of any equipment. The result for you is less anxiety about leaving valuable tools unattended.
If you’ve been having issues with theft, whatever you save (by preventing further theft of expensive equipment) will likely more than make up for what you invest in geofencing technology. Furthermore, you will likely be able to cut back on other security measures you’ve taken in the past, such as surveillance cameras, security personnel or other common anti-theft devices.
You will also pay less for insurance – either because you have implemented a solution that prompts insurers to charge you less or because the reduction in damage and theft will allow you to get a better deal.
Putting up virtual perimeters around areas that you don’t want workers to enter or exit can also serve a critical safety function. If you are going to be conducting an explosion as part of a project, for instance, it might be a good idea to set up a geofence in the affected area so that you can be sure that no employees are nearby when the blast takes place.
Similarly, you can link geofences to machinery, so that a piece of equipment will stop working if taken out of a designated area. That could prove useful if you don’t want a tractor heading towards a nearby marsh, for instance.
In light of the uptick in work-related injuries and the billions of dollars it has cost U.S. businesses, any measure you can take to prevent injuries will reduce your worker’s compensation costs and make for a happier and more productive workforce.
The benefits of geofencing are becoming more obvious and more common in a variety of industries. If you are not taking advantage of the new technology, you are likely going to be left behind.
In retail, foregoing use of this technology puts you at risk of being on the losing end of a zero sum game. Stores that are luring in shoppers with location-based marketing are going to gain at your expense.
In other industries, the benefits amount to long-term improvements that will make you a more cost-effective and better-run business that is more likely to attract good-paying clients. Contractors that have data to show that they run an efficient operation due to geofence monitoring of workers and equipment will have an advantage over those who cannot.
Similarly, those who employ a mobile workforce, such as home cleaning businesses or home care services, will be able to show potential customers that they have a top-notch monitoring system that ensures their workers will arrive on time and stay for as long as they are scheduled to be there.
Beware of drawbacks
The advantages of investing in geofencing are clear. But that’s not to say there aren’t pitfalls. Just like any innovation, use of this technology can backfire if you aren’t careful about how you use it.
For instance, if you are using it to monitor workers, you should only implement the solution after thoroughly explaining to your workers how the system functions. Make clear to them that you are not seeking to invade their privacy or become “big brother.” You will not know where they choose to take their lunch break –– only that they are leaving the worksite to take a lunch break and that it’s not for a longer period than you've agreed to. At Timesheet Mobile, we take great care in protecting employee privacy and we do not track employee locations when they are off the clock.
You can also risk turning off customers if you overdo geofence-enabled marketing. You need to make sure that the fence you create around your store isn’t too big. If people are getting notifications every time they drive by the mall, they may get annoyed, uninstall your app and cut themselves off entirely from your marketing.
But overall, the benefits of using geofencing far outweigh the risks. It’s an exciting technology that has already provided significant improvements to a number of businesses and promises to further revolutionize business by empowering managers to have a better view of what’s happening on the ground.