Micro-fencing vs Beacons

  • C436dc974a7ce10c47fc6defa0deb465 Micro Fence
  • Readingtime icon Read in: 5 mins
  • by: Lawrence Griffith

Nowadays, with new technologies emerging rapidly, it is difficult to choose which technologies to use for your project because “different” technologies, oftentimes, accomplish similar tasks. This is the case with apps or any software that tries to identify a user's proximity to a specific location. Developers can choose to work with micro-fencing technology or a beacon device.


To understand when to use micro-fencing or beacons, we need to understand how the underlying technology works. Micro-fencing creates a virtual boundary around an area using GPS satellites or RFID technology (radio frequency identification), enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a certain area. Beacons are small wireless transmitters that communicate with neighboring smart devices using low-energy Bluetooth technology. Micro-fencing technology can pinpoint an exact location of a mobile device on the map, but beacons work in a spherical range around the Bluetooth device. 


According to a recent report, both these technologies are growing at a rate of 29% annually in the space of location-based marketing. Now that we understand the basic differences between these two technologies, the million-dollar question remains: when do I use micro-fencing or a beacon device for your marketing campaign? In most large marketing campaigns, micro-fencing is more effective than beacons. This is because developers can create a micro-fence boundary anywhere they need,  but beacons are limited to the spherical range of the device and Bluetooth must be turned on for beacons to communicate with mobile devices.


The range of a micro-fence varies from 50 to 50,000 meters in diameter, while beacons only range up to 1 to 30 meters in diameter. On the other hand, beacons are a better alternative for greater accuracy in proximity detection. The beacon device has an average position accuracy of 0.7 - 2.28 meters. Micro-fencing on average has a position accuracy of 100 meters. This is where Digital Factory’s micro-fencing technology comes into play. The tech company now has an accuracy of 30 ft (9 meters) with their revolutionary micro-fencing technology, making beacons seem obsolete.