M2mobi - What is a geofence and how can it increase your app usage?
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What is a geofence and how can it increase your app usage?

The world of mobile is moving faster and faster. Together, we downloaded a record number of apps in the first quarter of 2017 (Emerce, 2017). But, the fact that we downloaded many apps does not mean that we also use them on frequent basis. Personal relevance is becoming more important. If you want users to use your app on regular basis, you'll need to to stimulate them. One way to reach personal relevance is through context-based push notifications, such as location and time.

What are the possibilities of context based push notifications?

As a result of the increase in apps, more and more techniques are being used to stay personally relevant and thus encourage repeat usage. One of these techniques is Location Based Service (LBS). This technique uses the location of a user to provide him of relevant information.

1 We have implemented this technique at a few airports. Visitors who have downloaded the (iOS or Android) app, receive a welcome messages when they arrive at the airport. In this way, you will be able to make latent users aware of the existence of your app on their phone. But, you want to achieve more than awareness. Ideally, you want to make your app part of the entire customer journey. To achieve that, you will need to work with more information than a user's location.

2 You can achieve personal relevance when you combine real-time data with a user's location. Think about the available information of waiting lines at the gate on an airport. If you know the location of a user, you'll also know his distance to the gate. In this way, you will be able to send a push notification when a traveler has to start walking to the gate to be on time. By providing passengers with the right information at the right time, an app can contribute to a careless journey.

img geofence example

3 A next step is the use of real-time data from third parties that open up their data. For example, public transport. Travelers who have landed at an airport can receive real-time information about public transport towards their stay. When you know a user's location, you can send a push notification about the next train or bus that he can take. In this way, travelers do not have to rush, but can trust on your app.

In short, the possibilities with Location Based Services are very large. But how does this technique work?

How do Location Based Services work?

LBS Solutions often use geofencing. Geofencing places a virtual fence around a geographic area. An app can act proactively as soon as a user or an object enters a virtual defined area, such as an airport. A major advantage of geofencing is that the app doesn’t have to be active on a user’s smartphone. So, app developers will be able to send push notifications at any time of the day, regardless of location. But, users must give the app access to their location to receive those notifications.

As a company or app developer, you do not want to send too many push notifications. This could trigger a sense of irritation to a user, possibly resulting in deleting your app. Thus, it is important to limit the number of push notifications that the smartphone can sent in a specific period of time. The smartphone will send the notification when a user enters the virtual fences. The smartphone itself sees when a user enters a defined area and passes this information on to the app. The app wil then send the push notification. That’s what makes geofences such a powerful technique. App developers do not have to track users their location and thus ensure the privacy of them.

The maximum number of push notifications depends on the purpose of the notification. In our ‘welcome message’ example, one notification will be sufficient. When a user has forgotten something in his car, it won’t be relevant to send a second welcome message when he walks back in.

The right information, at the right moment

The combination of Geofencing and real-time data enables us to interact even more with smartphone users. We can provide them with the right information at the right time and at the right place. We have successfully implemented this geofence technology at Dubai Airports and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. We are continuously looking for new opportunities within this mobile technology. As an app developer, this is one of the many ways how we want to enhance the customer journey. Want to know more about our mobile solutions? Check out our airport page or go to our projects.

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