I found this video from Location Labs talking about three variations on the concept of geo-fencing. The first time I’d heard of geo-fencing was when Sonic restaurants incorporated it into their marketing mix. My take on what could be done with this is below the video.
The three types of geo-fences described in the video are:
- Static – An individual receives location based offers as they get close to a specific location or an area. An SMS, MMS or kicking off an API process. This is the concept we’re all fairly familiar with. “As I get closer to Starbucks, they send me an offer, because they know I’m addicted!”
- Dynamic – This type takes the user’s location into consideration when delivering multiple feeds. This concept is interesting and has someone potentially receiving a steady stream of things that are happening within a clearly defined area. This type of offering fits best for events like the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. As you get within range, you accept data pushes via the festival’s iPhone app. Once you’ve accepted AND shared your location. You get a series of updates based on your location/preferences in the iPhone app.
- Peer-to-peer – This type of interaction depends on another user and kicks-off a process when they get closer. The word Facebook keeps floating through my mind for some reason or maybe a mobile dating service like meetMoi. For Facebook, as you get closer to a friend, the system would alert you that one of your friends is close and asks if you’d like to tell them you’re close AND ask them if they’d like to meet somewhere. Once they accept (because deep down inside they really REALLY like you – you’re connected on Facebook after all!) the system would send you their 10 most recent updates and whether or not their birthday was soon, so you would appear as though you were the totally up-to-date friend you’ve always dreamed of being! And to monetize this little gathering, Facebook would then deliver a coupon that they thought you’d both appreciate. They’d send it to you because you initiated the contact but you could share it with your friend by gently bumping your smartphones together.
These are just some of my thoughts and this is why I’m excited about location based services. The opportunities for a diverse set of interactions are limitless!
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Great summary. There is another type of geofence though: the Predefined Geofence. For example, a neighborhood boundary. This is different from a static geofence because a predefined geofence is a) more complex, b) more useful in many cases, and c) not necessarily static. Another example is ZIP Code boundaries – very useful for tying in demographics and pretty stable (but they do change over time). You can read more here: http://blog.maponics.com/2010/07/16/the-case-for-predefined-geofences/ .