Pokémon GO Hangover: Some Lessons On Surveillance
Pokémon GO as a game may not be trending right now but its hangover continues. Whether you are a gamer or not [I’m not much of a gamer myself], the location-based augmented reality (AR) game developed by Niantic was intriguing and over the last couple of months, it goes without saying that the Pokémon GO phenomenon has caused both a positive and negative impact on society.
I find it incredibly interesting how something so simple—a game on a phone—can impact and potentially change the future of so many industries, not just gaming. Therefore, as a marketer in video surveillance, it would be a travesty to not write a blog on how Pokémon GO has impacted the industry.
There has been plenty written on the impact of Pokémon GO on cybersecurity, IT infrastructure, and even government conspiracy claims. So, I decided to focus on how Pokémon GO has influenced the top two industries in surveillance: healthcare and law enforcement.
Despite some of the positive effects Pokémon GO is having on gamers in regards to promoting physical activity, it has also revealed surveillance weaknesses in healthcare organizations. For some hospitals, it has actually caused a real problem—finding Pokémon GO players in patient-only or restricted areas, all in the name of “catching ‘em all.”
Larry Daly, a spokesperson at Covenant Healthcare in Michigan, said there has been an influx of people coming inside the hospital to catch Pokémon. “Covenant prohibits entry into the hospital to hunt for Pokémon,” he said in a statement, adding that the hospital’s “security department and the local police have been alerted to this situation.” In addition, at Utah Valley Hospital, the game has directed players to areas near the hospital’s helipad, which can be dangerous for both patients and players, and to other locations in and around the hospital.
Security professionals in healthcare organizations are taking precautionary measures to prevent such incidents by determining if their hospitals are listed as PokéStops (places you can go to get free items in the game) or Pokémon Gyms (places you can battle other players’ Pokémon), and removing their locations from the game. The security weaknesses Pokémon GO has unintentionally uncovered has forced healthcare organizations to continue to assess their security infrastructure and put surveillance at the forefront of the rapid technological changes that are occurring—regardless of where they come from, even from a mobile game.
Unfortunately, there are features of the game that inherently make it more unique and fun for users that have been used in malicious ways. One feature of the game is “Lure Modules,” which players can use to attract both Pokémon and other players to their location in an effort to collect Pokémon.
The O’Fallon Police Department in Missouri responded to a report of an armed robbery of four teens that were suspected to be behind 10 to 11 armed robberies in which they allegedly used the “Lure Module” feature in the app to bait victims (USA Today). There have also been reports of Pokémon GO users finding dead bodies and stumbling across crimes in progress while playing the game.
These examples and more are vital reminders to law enforcement agencies of the importance of intelligent surveillance systems—whether it’s used for body cameras, dash cameras, interview rooms, building security, and so on—that will help keep their citizens safe as technological advances increase, preventing criminals from committing crimes in new and unexpected ways.
It is exciting to be living in a time full of technological innovation. Industries are reimagining the world around us, transforming basic technologies and ideas beyond their original purpose at conception. Pokémon GO is a prime example of this, as AR has pushed the Pokémon game back into popularity. These changes are not limited to gaming, as it’s clear the healthcare and policing industries have reaped the benefits—and the surveillance industry is no exception.
Despite the new ways that security can be breached or crimes can take place, the inherent theme remains the same—you must be prepared for the technological changes that are occurring every day that will impact your security and surveillance infrastructure. As these advances occur, the need for an intelligent storage solution will be critical to manage the influx of data.
[The author is the Segment Marketing Manager for Video Surveillance at Quantum. With eight years of Marketing experience, Kelly has worked in industries ranging from It storage to sports.]
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