Don’t (geo-)fence me in…

Posted on January 14, 2012

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Forget the weirdness of the term itself but I’ve been reading a bit recently about ‘geo-fencing’, mainly in the context of how it relates to various aspects of hyperlocal media.

But in a moment of navel-gazing I got to thinking how this relates to our notion of everyday places. No longer is a place only defined by the walls that enclose it or an intersection of roads, among other things. What we can’t see – but know is there – are the geo land parcels, the cell areas around base stations and the other wireless networks, which can be ad hoc and on the move rather than permanent and static.

Popular services such as Foursquare and aspects of Facebook and Google are making millions of people comfortable with this, in practical terms (Where’s the nearest ATM, Starbucks, money-off deal? etc.).

But back to the navel-gazing and reason for this short post. Increasingly as I walk home my moment of arrival isn’t just when I undo the garden gate or the key opens the front door. Often, when I’m listening to music, as I round the corner of one road, still dozens of yards from my house, I hear a ding over my headphones as my iPod picks up my home wi-fi network.

I’m not physically at home but no one outside my family uses that network, that’s a perimeter of ours. It’s a funny kind of welcome mat and I like it.

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Posted in: Family, Hyperlocal