Enterprise Mobility Exchange Atlanta Wrap-Up: What We Learned from Pokemon Go

Contributor: David Krebs
Posted: 07/16/2016
2016 EME US Atlanta Speaker crop
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While enterprise mobility was the name of the game at IQPC’s Atlanta event, Pokemon Go certainly crashed the party. The app from Nintendo and Alphabet-backed Niantic had just launched to much fanfare the week prior to the event and it seemed like no session could avoid mention of this app and the growing fanfare surrounding it. Since its launch Nintendo had added over $8 billion to its market cap – an astounding figure given the short lifespan of many once hot mobile properties. And while it is unlikely to see a similar type of response to an enterprise mobile app, at the same time – especially in today’s consumerized interpretation of IT – nevertheless the connections are inevitable. Many of the far ranging themes we addressed during our two days at the Enterprise Mobility Event had an uncanny connection with Pokemon Go. Consider the following:

User experience is king. The notion that if you have to explain an app or create a user manual then you probably don’t have a great app on your hands was a widely discussed topic addressed by many speakers, including AT&T’s Lee Wagner during his discussion about Accelerating the Real Time Enterprise and Uber’s Luis Madrigal in his Case Study. For many users Pokemon Go represents their first real world experience with Augmented Reality, a technology with many fascinating enterprise use cases. What is so clever with Pokemon Go’s AR application is in its simplicity and the fact that it really did not need any explanation for first time users. A critical design requirement for ANY enterprise mobility application. 

Contextual awareness is king. Pokemon Go cleverly uses many of the features available in most modern smartphones including the camera and GPS to create the digital map and to determine the location of places to visit. The app also has learning capabilities in that it relies on recommendations from players and a database to determine best locations for visits. However, where the game fails – and introduces real risks for its users – is in understanding the real context of the locations its algorithms creates. Numerous mentions of placements in precarious locations – such as above subway tracks – or in unsafe locations are creating risks the game’s authors presumably did not intend. The power of contextual awareness is great. Get it wrong, however, and the consequences could be dire. 

Security is king. In today’s digital first world, the amount of personal information being collected and stored continues to scale. Securing that information – as discussed during the closing panel covering “User Experience versus Security- Is it Possible to Achieve the Best of Both Worlds?” – is undeniably the great concern and challenge for any enterprise mobility endeavor. The Pokemon Go team learned this the hard way as iPhone users unknowingly grated full access to their Google accounts which provides the developers the ability to see and modify most information in the users account. While the app cannot change passwords or use Google Wallet, it can see the content of all Google properties including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive and Calendar. The issue here is two-fold. One on the developer as to why they need or would request full access (they have subsequently changed the specifications) and also how easily a user will grant access – albeit unknowingly – to personal information. This is a great reminder of how user behavior, ultimately, is the greatest security threat. 

 Great job again to the IQPC team for organizing this important event! See you in Miami!


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David Krebs
Contributor: David Krebs