The Silvertrac Extra: A Blog & Podcast for the Security Guard Industry

007: The Difference Between Geofencing and Breadcrumb Tracking

May 7, 2015 2:10:00 PM / by Johnny Page

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Ever wondered what the difference is between "Geofencing" and "Breadcrumb Tracking"? Chances are pretty high that you've heard of one or both of these tactics in the security industry. So we're here to set the record straight. 

First, let's define both approaches and then talk about the pro's and con's.

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Geofencing

Geofencing refers to a technology that allows you to constantly track an officer's movement throughout the entire shift. This allows the company to establish a virtual fence around the property and enable alerts if the officer breaks the perimeter. 

Geofencing also lets you receive alerts if the officer is not moving around the property or remains inactive for an extended period of time. 

For example, if you have an officer run around the property three times and then take off in their car, geofencing would allow you to see the path in which the officer traveled and could then send an alert to a supervisor notifying them that the officer had left. 

Requirements:

  1. A separate device: almost all consumer level devices (like smart phones) are unable to withstand the constant GPS connection due to limited battery life.
  2. A HUGE data package or sim card: Sending a constant GPS reading can require large amounts of data. 

Breadcrumb Tracking

Breadcrumb tracking refers to a technology that captures the GPS location of a handheld device on a per instance basis. Each time an incident is reported or a checkpoint is scanned the GPS location of the officer is captured to verify that they were on the property. 

Breadcrumb tracking is designed to verify the location of reported issues, rather than creating a virtual fence around the officer. 

GPS_1

The example above shows small pinpoints where certain issues were reported. But we're not going to see the areas the officer walked without submitting issues or scanning checkpoints. 

Requirements: 

  1. Most solutions that utilize breadcrumb tracking do not require any additional hardware or devices. 
  2. Because the data is on sent and received on a per instance basis there is not a major requirement in regards to data usage. 

Pros and Cons: Geofencing

  • Pro: The constant view of the officer on site to ensure that they are there and moving around
  • Pro: Receiving notifications if the officer is leaving the site

  • Con: Adding an additional device to the officer's tool belt. 
  • Con: High cost of both the data plan and the technology
  • Con: Geofencing is really only a tool for the guard operator and does very little to deliver value to the customer. 

Pros and Cons: Breadcrumb Tracking

  • Pro: All incidents and reported activity can be verified via GPS
  • Pro: No additional devices or data packages, which results in lower costs
  • Pro: Breadcrumb Tracking minimizes the investment into accountability. With a security guard management software tool like Silvertrac the user is able to deliver value to the customer while still satisfying the basic accountability requirements. 

  • Con: If the officer fails to interact with the handheld device, there won't be any GPS data available. 
  • Con: The officer could leave the property without anyone being notified. 

Conclusion: Invest in the Minimum Viable Solution

When it comes to investing in technology, every dollar counts. Make sure that you get the most out of your investment by utilizing the Minimum Viable Solution. 

Do you really need to track the officer's every step throughout the shift? Rather, why not verify the location of reported issues and hold the guard accountable to the desired outcome of the customer? Does it really solve the customer's problems if you just draw a virtual fence around the property to prove that the officer doesn't leave? 

What are your thoughts on Geofencing vs. Breadcrumb Tracking? Are there any pros or cons that we missed above?

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Johnny Page

Written by Johnny Page

Johnny is a Customer Success Enthusiast for Silvertrac Software who is passionate about business, technology, and (of course) our customers! Johnny spent time in the security industry in Business Development, Marketing, and Operations before joining the Silvertrac team.

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