Invisible Fence… Invisible Security

We promised you some commentary on Geo-Fencing. Here it is. I’m gonna keep it short because while it’s a promising feature, it’s probably the most overhyped thing since… well… something of very little residential value attempting to be of very large residential value.

Geofencing is, in essence, an invisible border around a position based on longitude and  latitude. That invisible border (or fence), when breached, sends a signal to a receiver that triggers some sort of action.

The principal is used with tracking devices, border patrols, proximity alarms… I could go on forever.

It’s as reliable and accurate as your tracking device, your GPS network, and your receiver will let it be.

Because the GPS network is affected by umpteen billion different factors, the minimum range of a geofence is large. Why? Because the vast majority of publicly available devices are only capable of displaying your GPS position within a 100 meter radius. That doesn’t mean it’s never pinpoint, it means the distance your icon can wander is up to  100 meters from your actual position.

On our Facebook page I posted a screenshot of just how far 100 meters actually is. Feel free to pull up your own GPS and measure just how many of your neighbours are within that 100 meter range of your own home.

Geofencing is being marketed as a feasible way to automatically lock and unlock your doors. And it is. Except….

Your doors will unlock when you are 100 meters away from the door. And on a bad day, when your GPS is really off, they could open when you are as far as 200 meters away.

Not just that, but if you want automatic locking through GPS, you’re gonna be at least 100 yards away before your house is secure. Ask the police what can happen in 2 minutes or less. Or more, if you’re walking.

Also, keep in mind that Geo Fencing has no idea what your altitude is. If you live on the 15th floor, your apartment (or condo or suite or w/e) is unlocked before your are even close to getting on the elevator. Unless you’re coming in on a helicopter or parachuting to work everyday… not a great way to keep yourself secure.

And finally. GPS rarely can see you inside a building. All it knows is your last position before going in one, and possibly attempt to guesstimate your current location. When you are indoors it’s wrong. A lot.

No. Timers don’t fix this. I’m often passing my residence within 100 meters with absolutely no intention of going home, and no 20 second, 30 second or 2 minute timer is going to change that. In fact, it pretty much forces you to go home to re-lock your doors every time you pass your house. Or, even funnier, to park, pull out your phone, and re-lock the doors remotely when you’re out of range.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound convenient to me. At all. In fact it seems downright stupid and annoying. There are so many more secure ways to do this, from pinging to card access and everything in between, there is no reason to use fencing as a marketing point for securing perimeters through automation.


Now, what is useful is the upwards range of 3000 m. A geofence set somewhere between 3000 and 100 meters can (and should) be used to turn on your temperature control in the house, turn on your exterior lights, or perform some other non-security related action. You’re not restricted to setting up a fence on your current position. You can set a fence up anywhere and have it trigger anything from a notification to… anything really. As long as you have the equipment and the know how.

A lot of people are gonna call me paranoid, but by this stage of game EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW HOW MUCH TARGET SCOUTING IS DONE BY CRIMINALS. Even the amateurs rarely hit random targets they know nothing about. I can’t justify helping you make your home an easier target. That’s not my job. That’s not what we do.

In fact… it’s kinda my job to be paranoid. So. Thank you.

But that’s enough ranting. Automation is area of constant progress that can be set up to in no way effect the security of your home. Let’s do that.



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