Geofencing: Was the Movie Minority Report A Peek Into the Future?

Today, smartphone users are embracing permission-based social networks like Foursquare, Loopt, and Facebook to let their friends and family know where they are. Go to your favorite restaurant, for example, and “check in” on Foursquare to announce to people that’s where you are. To reward you for checking in, and doing some basic word of mouth advertising, the restaurant may reward you by giving you a free appetizer for being the “mayor” (checking in more than anyone else in the last 60 days).

But those technologies rely on people using those networks actively to find those deals. What if you could push a message out to a possible customer, but only pushing it to people who are in the area?

The technology that enables this is called geofencing — that’s where your GPS coordinates on your mobile phone are being used to calculate your proximity to a particular business. This triggers an app that the user has downloaded to alert them whenever they’re near a business that is offering a special discount or coupon.

A geofence can be dynamically generated in a radius around a particular store address or location, like a historical marker. It can also be a predefined set of boundaries, like neighborhoods or city or county limits. Whenever the user enters or leaves the boundaries, the geofencing app is notified, which triggers (or turns off) an event, like sending a digital coupon.

Imagine being a store in a mall that sends a digital coupon to anyone with this app who enters the mall. Or imagine a convention and visitors bureau pointing visitors to interesting places in your community when they pass by them, or even enter the city?

While it was a few years ahead of its time, geofencing works like the scene from the movie Minority Report, where Tom Cruise walked past different stores, and the digital billboards changed to his specific taste in products.

Interapt works with different clients in different B2C settings, helping business owners and managers to reach potential customers who are only in the immediate area, taking advantage of possible impulse buyers. There’s no broadcast advertising that may reach a huge audience who has very little interest in the product or store. This way, they can reach a smaller targeted audience at a much lower cost. And best of all, the users, by using these apps, have given the marketers permission to send these ads, which is an ideal situation.

At Interapt, we work with companies to help them find the best ways to reach their customers through mobile apps like geofencing. For more information, please contact us at our website.

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