These are terms that are becoming increasingly relevant when evaluating software. The process behind each of the terms is quite different and the outcomes from using them are functionally different.
Let’s look at Geo tracking first. This has been around for some years now and has featured in the news as people realised that Apple were monitoring and recording the every move of iPhone owners. If you use an iPhone you can find the information which shows that the time you arrive and the time you leave different locations. This happens during your everyday and records whenever you move around from one place to the next.
How do they do this? This uses a combination of technologies to track your location, including a GPS signal, access to wifi hotspots and a triangulation of your signal on the phone when it connects to different cell towers.
Android phone owners are also tracked and monitored although the same level of detail about your movements cannot generally be accessed on your phone.
The benefits in business are that should you need to locate someone, for example in the case of an emergency call out for an engineer to visit a customer, the nearest support engineer can be identified and then contacted and routed to visit the customer. This give the benefit to your customers as you can respond to them faster, fix their problem and get them operational again.
Now let’s talk about a geo fence. A geofence is a specific location. It is specified as a particular address (based on a latitude and longitude map location) and then by setting a distance from the address (or point on the map). This is usually set, for example as say 25 or 50 metres from the address. This creates a circular radius or zone around the location.
Now every time someone enters or exits the geofence zone it triggers an event, for example recording the time. This is quite different as the event is triggered on entry or exit instead of constantly recording your location like geotracking.
The same combination of technologies are used by your phone to identify it’s location as used for geotracking, just not recorded all of the time.
The benefits in business include automatically calculating the time spent, for example, on a building site. With the new European ruling that the time employees spend travelling to a job should also be classified as time at work, their travelling time can be calculated automatically. Also if you are charging a customer for travelling time as well as time at their premises then the travelling time is automatically calculated between two registered zones.