Geofencing: Understand the Big Picture

Focus on the Forest Before the Trees

Location-based marketing has garnered significant attention in recent years and there are many technologies that have grabbed headlines: RFID, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS, the list goes on and on. While each of these technologies can be extremely valuable depending on the use cases you are trying to enable, we’ve found that many of our clients can most effectively accomplish their business objectives with geofencing. Our clients understand the value and importance of creating a mobile offering that leverages location, yet many of them focus on micro-location technologies without considering the larger (macro) part of the equation. Our advice you may ask? Focus on the “big picture” before you dive into the nitty-gritty.

As alluded to, geofencing is one of the best tools today for accomplishing many of the initial mobile location needs our customers face. Gimbal’s industry-leading geofencing features can be used in a multitude of ways such as letting loyal customers within a 2-mile radius know you have a physical location nearby, or that there is a special or sale. It could also be the ability to understand what locations have the most visitors and foot-traffic, enabling you to optimize the physical locations due to the new data and insights you’ve collected. The list of potential uses goes on and on, but the takeaway is the same: geofencing is a great way for you to begin engaging and understanding your mobile customers, before getting tied to solutions that require hardware and that need very precise placement and deployment strategies. Many of the location use cases our clients immediately want to implement can be achieved with a geofence strategy, so be sure you understand the capabilities of both before mapping out your organizations own implementation to ensure your success.

A Quick Lesson on Gimbal Geofencing

At a high-level, geofencing is a software based macro-location solution you can use to set virtual perimeters for the geographic areas you are interested in monitoring. This can include shopping malls, stores, or any outdoor space greater than 50 meters. Gimbal developed an innovative take on geofencing by allowing for many of the capabilities to occur server-side and in the background. Without getting too technical, this makes for a solution an enterprise can use to easily monitor and set up an unlimited amount of geofences, change the shape to circular and non-circular dimensions, and add or remove them without updating the mobile app in the app store. Further, unlike traditional client-side geofencing, this results in far less drain to a consumer’s smart phone while enabling the solution to run in both passive (background) and active (foreground) modes. This means you can have a rich in-app experience, wake a locked device with a notification, or passively collect behavioral location data whenever a virtual perimeter is breached. You can learn more about the differences of server-side and client-side geofencing here.

How Can I Use Gimbal for my Geofencing Needs?

Gimbal makes it easy to get up and going with geofencing in several ways. With our cloud-based management portal, you can easily begin setting up the Places you are interested in monitoring. You can upload CSV files, use APIs, manually select or use public geofences for places like libraries, parks and more. To actually engage with users of your mobile apps, you need to first integrate the Gimbal SDKs for Android or iOS. Once you do, you’ll be able to begin testing the value of location for yourself. Create a Gimbal Manager account here.


While location will increasingly become an integral part to mobile strategies, major enterprises need to take a step back and carefully consider which solutions are most appropriate for them (learn more about that here). More importantly, they need to adopt platforms that are flexible, scalable and secure, so whether they are starting with a handful of stores or are interested in nationwide deployments, they have a partner that can support their needs. Lastly, geofencing can be considered a great starting point before turning on the faucet and digesting more granular location data generated from our line-up of Bluetooth beacons. Begin by understanding the large picture, and then plan the strategy to deploy beacons to carry the torch for enabling in-venue experiences, increasing customer loyalty and improving mobile analytics.