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Improve Device Protection on Campus with Geofencing

by Matias Wolff 22, Dec, 2016

Improve Device Protection on Campus with Geofencing

Laptop thefts on campus are one big headache for IT guys. But what if your university has multiple campuses in town? A bigger headache!

In the United States, the Department of Education says this headache is "the most common crime on college campuses," according to Consumer Reports.

In fact, a Google Consumer Survey that found that nearly a third of the students and graduates surveyed had broken or lost a smartphone or had their device stolen.

“Students become complacent and leave their iPhone on a table in the cafeteria or leave their room door open. It takes only eight seconds for a thief to enter an unsecured area and walk off with something,” FBI officials told Consumer Reports.

FBI statistics show that both small and large colleges and universities in the country are vulnerable, and may range from urban to more rural campus, from small, private colleges to large, public universities. In other words, is not just your headache, is everybody's headache.

  • At Brown University, and thousands of dollars worth of devices are reported stolen at that higher education institution.  "In addition to the cost of replacement they often have, personal information and data that can be difficult or impossible to recover and protect," the university reports.
  • In Boston, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also reported that the cost of theft at the college can total "several hundreds of thousands of dollars per year", according to a report by AOL.

The institute carries insurance to cover losses, while many other colleges don’t.

But, wait! Your headache doesn't stop here. Stolen laptop recovery and IT asset inventory is another common headache of college IT managers, especially with devices that are loaned by the university and require a full device protection and laptop tracking services.

Where is Batman when we REALLY need him?!

Sorry, no Batman for the moment. But, instead of wasting time keeping tabs on phones, tablets, and laptops, a smart device tracker can help you. 

One way of tracking devices and improving computer security come from the same technologies and solutions that brought us Pokemon Go and offered you the most appropriate restaurant to wine and dine your significant other only a block away from it!

No, we’re not kidding! 

It’s called geofencing technology.

According to Geomarketing.com, Geofencing is;

“The practice of using global positioning (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define a geographic boundary. Then, once this 'virtual barrier' is established, the administrator can set up triggers that send a text message, email alert, or app notification when a mobile device enters (or exits) the specified area.”

Since geofencing apps provide a virtual geographical reference, you can create it in any location. They are cost effective because you can just add a map, delimitate a fence or a restriction on certain parts of campus or residence, and your app can monitor the location (cool, isn't it?)

Geofences are highly convenient to target devices in a physical location such as a university campus, as they allow you to trigger the right message, at the right time and place. So, no one will escape from you, Batman.

A company can set areas on a map and get notifications whenever a device enters or leaves them, so you can make sure that all your school's computers are at the precinct, or that students are employees aren't taking school devices home.

Because geofeincing apps are amazingly customizables, working as multiple fences in several geographic locations, an IT manager can create personalized zones, and get email notifications whenever one of the devices leaves or enters an area.

  Tell me more about geofencing

Big campus bosses recommend fencing technologies 

The New England Board of Higher Education says a good geofencing strategy can be a great help in the age of mobile alerts. 

“They can help institutions serve and protect their students, increase their sense of community, and create new revenue opportunities to fuel future growth.”

In the United States, they can also help higher education institutions prove compliance with the  Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities under financial aid programs not only to keep but to disclose information about crime on and near their campuses.

That way, for the New England Board of Higher Education, “hyperlocal alerts can be a low-cost augmentation to a college’s existing notification system, preserving existing information technology (IT) infrastructure without disrupting back-end IT environments.”

Patriots says colleges can find these anti theft security systems and mobile tracking software in a relatively low-cost, subscription-based pricing models, and it maintains it can scale up to meet the needs of largest universities and surrounding populations.

How do you track devices and laptop thefts on campus? Have you tried geofencing apps before? You better.

Protect data and devices on campus

Matias Wolff
Matias Wolff

CMO at Prey. BA in Advertising with a major in Marketing from Universidad del Pacífico. Master in International Marketing at ESMA, Barcelona. 18 years’ experience in multinational companies. I am a volunteer at the Endeavor program, and teach Integrated Marketing Communications at the Masters in Innovation program, Universidad Católica de Chile.
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