Unless you’ve been on holiday for the past few weeks you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go, the latest craze sweeping the nation (in fact, you’ve probably heard about it even if you were on holiday). In this mobile game, players wander around the real world using the camera and GPS technology in their mobile phones to track down wild Pokémon creatures in an attempt to ‘catch them all’.
It’s largely harmless fun, designed to get people out and about but we are already seeing a number of ways that the game, and its popularity, are having an unexpected impact upon businesses.
How Does Pokémon Go Work?
Pokémon Go uses your phone’s GPS in much the same ways as Google Maps does, showing your current location upon a map of local roads, streets, and landmarks. Wild creatures called Pokémon appear on your map and by walking to where they are located in the real world, you can interact with them and attempt to add them to your collection.
Some Pokémon are found all over the place while others are much rarer, encouraging players to explore their local area to find them. Meanwhile, local landmarks are transformed into special areas where players can obtain helpful items or compete with others.
It’s simple, addictive fun, and incredibly popular too. But how can a mobile phone game like this affect your business?
Accidents May Happen
Pokémon Go has only been available for a few weeks and already there are dozens of stories of people injuring themselves by paying too much attention to their phones and not enough attention to their surroundings as they try to catch the best Pokémon.
What this means for your business, particularly if you have a shop floor or an area where members of the public can cross, is that you may find people who are apparently oblivious to what’s around them, and therefore a lot more likely to injure themselves.
This means you need to take even greater care to quickly remove or signpost any potential hazards as there’s a greater chance that an inattentive member of the public walking around with their phone out will slip on a spillage you haven’t cleaned up yet, or trip on a loose flooring tile you haven’t replaced yet.
In Pokémon Go, wild Pokémon appear seemingly at random. They could appear on the street, in the park or…in your business. For some businesses owners, this is a huge boon. High street coffee shops and cafes in particular are embracing their position as a potential centre of Pokémon activity, encouraging people to grab a drink, take a seat and get catching.
But what if you don’t want members of the public flocking to your doors or grounds? If a particularly rare Pokémon suddenly appears in your office – or if your building becomes a ‘Poke-stop’ landmark – you could find people hanging around your building or even trespassing on your grounds as they chase a particularly elusive creature.
It’s up to you how you decide to deal with this. A couple of people on their phones by your front door might be odd, but harmless, while someone scaling your fence and roaming your grounds without authorisation could be criminal and even dangerous. While the current Pokémon craze is at its peak, it’s worth keeping an extra eye out for rogue members of the public inadvertently trespassing.
So what happens if a rare Pokémon appears in your office? Hopefully nothing during work hours but if a member of staff catches a particularly rare Pokémon on their lunch break and then shares their success with friends, then what’s the harm?
Well, when Pokémon Go players ‘catch’ a Pokémon, their phones show the Pokémon in the real world, which players often then photograph to show off to their friends. Taking a photo of a Pidgey in the park is one thing but what if a Pokémon appears in front of some confidential client information or your quarterly financial results? The last thing you want is one of your employees inadvertently sharing a photograph of something confidential with the world as a data breach like this can have very real consequences upon a business.
If your workplace has become a hive of Pokémon activity, there’s no reason to stop it – but it’s worth addressing some of the potential concerns this could raise. Make sure your employees are educated on the potential risk of over-sharing and that you’re especially alert to environmental risks and over-enthusiastic members of the public.
It’s also crucial to make sure that you have effective public liability and cyber insurance policies in place to combat these risks – and that you and your employees are doing everything to stay within the terms of those policies.
If you have any question about how Pokémon Go, and how other apps like it could impact upon your business and its insurance security, get in touch with the team at Weir Insurance Brokers for free on 0800 281 453.