Promoting safety while protecting privacy: How geofencing can mitigate tracking concerns

Mike Mulica, CEO of Actility

A Deloitte report this week revealed that the number of people using digital navigation indoors is liable to surge in the next five year, says Mike Mulica, CEO, Actility. As it stands, one in 20 instances are already indoors, with this number expected to rise to one in four by 2022.

According to Paul Lee, Deloitte’s head of Research for Technology, Media and Telecommunications, some of this can be attributed to parents using digital navigation to keep an eye on their children, and make sure they’re safe.

However, despite the clear advantages this can bring, the idea of tracking relatives can seem intrusive to some. To promote safety and provide peace of mind while still protecting privacy, innovative businesses throughout the world are therefore utilising “geofencing” technology, which sends an alert if your child or elderly relative strays far away from where they’re meant to be, as opposed to tracking them all the time.

Via technologies such as LoRaWAN, it is now possible to deliver geofencing for an exceptionally low cost. Rather than requiring an expensive smart phone, this technology just needs a key ring or hat, and the battery in the tag last for ten years.

The potential of such solutions to save and enhance lives can’t be under-estimated. In Japan in 2015, over 12,000 dementia patients went missing, and out of this number, 479 are unable to be located, and so are expected to have died. Enabling tabs to be kept on relatives would help to dramatically reduce such losses, and can hugely enhance relatives’ piece of mind.

In addition, as the technology is inexpensive and efficient, it’s giving rise to a wide range of innovative use cases to help people recover lost items, and even pets. In Australia, for example, solutions are being used to prevent cow rustling, and in the Netherlands drivers have been able to track down stolen vehicles that had a tracker in them. While continual tracking may be too intrusive for many to fully support, geofencing provides an optimal means of promoting safety while protecting privacy.

The author of this blog is Mike Mulica, CEO of Actility

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow

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