This summer my daughters joined millions of other teenagers in their pursuit of Pokémon characters via their smartphones. To many parents, this was likely an amusing summertime oddity. To me, it was a contributor to a decision to chase a dream.
Media reports were rich with stories of Pokémon fans navigating retail locations to collect the precious virtual reality tokens as part of a global contest to catch the rarest of the imaginary beasts.
Retailers have struggled to use mobile technology in a way that makes the in-store experience more compelling, and they’ve largely been unsuccessful. But Nintendo has managed to do it all spectacularly. At last, they’ve succeeding in driving traffic, if not driving purchases.
To me, this was a perfect example of the innovation made possible by social, mobile, analytics, and cloud … the so-called “SMAC” effect. All four innovations are brought to bear in redefining a consumer engagement model.
Yet, the economic proposition of this novelty fell short in my mind. While Pokémon GO attracted a targeted demographic to traverse to certain locations, once they arrived there was rarely an adjacent opportunity to sustain the mobile experience via social engagement and purchasing events.
I suspect that retailers enjoyed having the higher traffic, but I sensed that they were ill-prepared to engage in a social relationship that yielded economic benefit. To date, most industries have only modestly embraced augmented reality which fuses digital technology with the physical world. A key tenet of this application is the interconnection of devices, locations, and people. Pokémon GO represents one of those moments when a new technology breaks through from a niche toy for early adopters to something much bigger. While gaming applications don’t guarantee a broader appeal of augmented banking applications, hospitality features, automotive autonomy, or Internet-of-Things innovation, awareness of the technology and engagement potential should have a waterfall effect.
According to Bloomberg, the augmented reality technology used in Pokémon GO is fairly rudimentary. There have been server issues, instances where players have been lured into traps by hackers, and in some cases, privacy issues. As with any mobile application, increased adaptation and usage bring security requirements.
Taken together, all of this screams opportunity and inflection to me. Companies in virtually every industry will be compelled by competitive pressures and customer expectations to accelerate their investment in creative solutions to the opportunity for mobility-enabled services. The market needs a source of built-for-purpose enablement of the vast opportunity to define a mobile-first brand, reconceive user experiences, deploy nimble applications, and deliver a rapid-cycle portfolio of mobility-enabled capabilities.
So, as summer draws to a close I have moved to apply my passion for leveraging social, mobile, analytics, and cloud by joining the only end-to-end source of expertise for imagining, developing, deploying, measuring, and harvesting the power of untethered economies.
My daughters are amused that their frequent journeys to the local shopping mall in pursuit of a Vaporeon have compelled me to devote my energy to helping companies to maximize their potential through mobility.
Peter Allen, President of DMI Commercial