As you may know I am big on location-based services (LBS), but not on tracking people; so don’t geofence me!

The ability to use location information can be very useful in certain applications. Letting people track themselves or use location information for their own usage is no issue, as long as you keep the location information local. But what about the applications that require tracking others, such as employees? How can location be used without violating the privacy of the end-users?

Doing the right thing is not as hard as you might think and consist of:

-together with –

  • Use passive tracking

What is Passive Tracking?

Tracking people passively is about minimizing how and when location information is shared and about about techniques such as geofencing (active monitoring) where the location of individuals are transmitted and recorded continuously. Your applications should only provide such location information during certain explicit situations.

Let me give an example…

…A workforce application provides work order dispatching and fulfillment. To maximize dispatching/fulfillment, the application uses LBS. What I advocate is that instead of capturing coordinates continuously, these coordinates are only captured for example when the employee gets to the destination such as where the customer is. This will provide less number of sample-points (the last known location would be the location of the last visited customer) but sufficient information to calculate (route) the next available person to the appropriate destination. From the reporting side, this location information would be available when querying for the status of the particular work order, and if querying the status of and employee only the last known location (the last customer’s location) would be displayed.

It really is about common sense when it comes to privacy.