Expect to See More Mobile Geofences

Posted in: Mobile

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How is a Mobile Geofence used?

Imagine you drive to a location, and your phone starts receiving notifications about an event happening nearby. It could be a discount at a coffee house. It could be free tours at a local museum. Maybe a beach party with a free lobster and crab fest. It could be a local event and offer directions on how to get there. Or maybe, it’s a note from a friend who is having a holiday party, sending along more details.

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Location-Based Patents

We’ve seen patents about location-based notifications and advertisements before. With the growth of the use of mobile devices, such as phones and cameras to connect to Apps and the Web, it possibly shouldn’t be a surprise to see more ideas and innovations arise from sources such as Google and Apple. I wrote about an acquisition Google made back in 2011 which took advantage of mobile devices in the post, Google Acquires Virtual Post-it Notes Patents. Will we start seeing location-based alerts and notifications from Google as described in the patents they acquired?

We might begin t0 see ideas start at one company on the Web, and then spread out to other companies, involving such things as geofences.

A mobile geofence is a virtual perimeter you can create to set up a location to send advertisements of notifications to people who enter and stay in that location…

You can also choose a perimeter around a particular building, neighborhood, or event. It’s an idea that is growing these days because of mobile devices connecting to the Web. Apple was granted a patent on setting up geofences this past week. Additionally, Google was granted a patent on setting up geofences in October. You aren’t limited to surrounding your location with a geofence and can choose other locations around competitors, or events. There is a nice introduction to the topic at: 7 Things About Geofencing You’ll Kick Yourself for Not Knowing

It’s worth looking at the Apple patent and the Google Patent, and knowing that this may be something that both sources may offer in the future. Furthermore, Snapchat has been offering Geofilters, to be used in a geofenced area for a while, and you can find out more of those on this page from them: On Demand Geofilters: Submission Guidelines.

Google’s Geofence Patent

Clustering geofence-based alerts for mobile devices
Inventors: Xiaohang Wang, Farhan Shamsi, Yakov Okshtein, David Singleton, Debra Lin Repenning, Lixin Zhang, and Marcus Alexander Foster
Assignee: GOOGLE
US Patent: 9,788,159
Granted: October 10, 2017
Filed: January 31, 2017


A geofence management system obtains location data for points of interest. The geofence management system determines, at the option of the user, the location of a user mobile computing device relative to specific points of interest and alerts the user when the user nears the points of interest. The geofence management system, however, determines relationships among the identified points of interest, and associates or “clusters” the points of interest together based on the determined relationships. Rather than establishing separate geofences for multiple points of interest, and then alerting the user each time the user’s mobile device enters each geofence boundary, the geofence management system establishes a single geofence boundary for the associated points of interest. When the user’s mobile device enters the clustered geofence boundary, the geofence management system notifies the user device to alert the user of the entrance event. The user then receives the clustered, geofence-based alert.

Apple’s Geofence Patent

Content geofencing
Inventors: Thomas Alsina, David T. Wilson, Kenley Sun, Sagar Joshi
Assignee: APPLE INC.
US Patent: 9,826,354
Granted: November 21, 2017
Filed: May 11, 2016


Systems, methods, and computer-readable storage media for invitational content geofencing. A system first sends, to a server location data associated with the system, the location data is calculated at the system. The system then receives a listing of places of interest within a geofence including a geographical perimeter for identifying places of interest in the listing, the geofence is based on the location data associated with the system. Next, the system selects a place of interest from the listing based on the location of the system. The system then presents a content item associated with the place of interest.

Mobile Geofences in Action

It’s interesting seeing both Google and Apple mapping out the world virtually, especially like this. Would you consider setting up a geofence to advertise something in a particular location? It’s likely something that we will be seeing more of, as Google and Apple are making the technology available:

Here’s what I’m seeing so far:

Google: Provide contextual experiences when users enter or leave an area of interest
Apple: Location and Maps Programming Guide: Region Monitoring and iBeacon

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