Most companies today tend to have a large chunk of employees working from remote locations that include both frontline workers and the field force who are responsible for carrying out several business operations pertaining to service delivery, production line, customer support, stakeholder and partner interaction and so on. And this remote workforce depends heavily upon the usage of mobile handheld devices to ensure fulfilment of all these tasks in a timely and accurate manner.
While enterprise mobility helps them to stay flexible, productive and informed throughout the day, the companies too need to keep a tab on their whereabouts, activities and real-time locations. On top of that, as most frontline workers and field forces majorly use corporate-owned devices to complete their office works, it also becomes necessary to make sure that the devices and the data stored in them are protected and are used within the limited boundary set by the company.
This is where geofencing comes to the forefront, especially when it involves your frontline workers and field force.
What is Geofencing?
Geofencing can be defined as a location-based service, which can set up a virtual barrier around a specific location. When geofencing is used alongside an app or some other software that uses RFID, Wi-Fi, cellular data or GPS, it prompts a pre-defined or pre-programmed action when a particular RFID tag or mobile device enters or exits this pre-defined virtual periphery, which is set up around a geographical location.
Depending upon their geofence configuration, the particular mobile devices will receive instant push notifications, nudges, alerts and text messages. Company IT admin can leverage the geofencing application to perform tasks like sending location-based messages and targeted ads, tracking of vehicle fleets, limiting certain device functionalities or technologies and other security-related activities.
Quoting a general instance, geofencing helps companies define a virtual boundary based on an actual geographical location, which directly or directly delineates how mobile devices carried by the remote workforce should be used within and outside the virtual boundary.
The role of geofencing for frontline workers and field force
Now imagine yourself as the manager of a construction crew comprising of field force and frontline workers who work from a specific construction site, and you look after all the operational activities involved therein. You decide to use geofencing and hence create a virtual boundary around the construction site using the GPS or RFID enabled software.
This geofencing application aligned with the devices used by your frontline workers and field force will enable you to stay updated with real time notifications and alerts about your team members entering or leaving the set premise, to track employee movements and activities in the field, to automate time cards and to monitor the movement of corporate-owned devices and assets used by your team.
It can also notify cases of absenteeism and late-comings to rectify process delays and loss of productive hours. Geofencing drives team discipline and work efficiency as it disallows the device users or the employees to log into their shift timing before entering a specified location or their workplaces.
Apart from this, mobile devices using geofencing as a feature can be tracked seamlessly as soon as the user carrying them enters or exits the pre-defined geographical zone. Geofencing also reminds your frontline workers and field force to clock in or out depending on their shift timings and movement inside and outside the defined perimeter.
Some more geofencing use cases for frontline workers and field force
For a company that works with a team scattered across multiple locations, geofencing can prove to be a perfect feature with incredible usefulness. It can play a meaningful role and can be used by:
- Travel companies who can use this feature to pre-define the area of movement for their travel agents and guides using corporate-owned devices.
- Transportation, delivery and logistics companies use geofencing on devices provided to their fleet drivers to notify the dispatchers in case the vehicles take an undefined route.
- Manufacturing companies can use geofencing for asset tracking and protection and to keep certain restricted areas inaccessible to unauthorised staff.
Benefits of geofencing when it comes to your frontline workers and field force
Geofencing if implemented carefully on the devices on your frontline workers and field force using a powerful MDM for frontline workers can introduce your business to several benefits. Some of the core advantages are discussed below.
- Company IT admins can use geofence in a particular device profile, which makes it easier for them to accurately monitor employee work hours and timings.
- Geofencing drives precision in time-sheet maintenance, which in turn reduces instances of misconduct like buddy punching and time theft.
- Geofencing enable managers to ensure that the employees working from remote locations are safe and accountable for their work within the defined perimeters.
- Geofencing makes it easy for the managers to track employee time and hence simplifies the payroll process
- Geofencing drive device and data security by notifying the IT admin about a lost or stolen device as soon as they exist the perimeter of defined boundary.
- IT admin can also track and analyse geofencing breaches to identify a pattern of malpractice by the device users/employees
- Geofencing breach notifications allows the IT admin to take timely data security measures like remote data wipe, device lock and enforcement of certain usage policies to stop data/device abuse
So, to put it all together, geofencing can be a win-win feature for frontline workers and field force as well as for your company IT team by promoting employee productivity, data and device security, process automation and operational efficiency. When companies use a powerful MDM solution that comes with a geofencing feature, it allows the IT admin to restrict, limit or allow access to corporate apps and resources, and also enforce dynamic security and usage policies, depending on the device’s location. Geofencing is definitely going to be harnessed and explored in new and innovative ways in the coming future by the top mobile technology giants and service providers.