Is Your Business Ready for Pokemon Go?

A new app craze is sweeping the globe, and your business could get caught up in it – either to its advantage or detriment.

Unless you’ve been on holiday for the past few weeks you’ve probably heard of Pokemon 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 round the real world using the camera and GPS technology in their mobile phones to track down wild Pokemon 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. Is your business prepared for Pokemon Go?

How does Pokemon Go work?

Pokemon Go uses your phone’s GPS in much the same way as Google Maps does, showing your current location upon a map of local roads, streets and landmarks. Wild creatures called Pokemon 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 Pokemon 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

Pokemon 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 Pokemon.

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.

Unwanted visitors

In Pokemon Go, wild Pokemon appear seemingly at random. They could appear on the street, in the park or…in your business. For some business owners, this is a huge boon. High street coffee shops and cafes in particular are embracing their position as a potential centre of Pokemon 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 Pokemon suddenly appears in your office – or if your property 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 Pokemon craze is at its peak, it’s worth keeping an extra eye out for rogue members of the public inadvertently trespassing.

Over-sharing

So what happens if a rare Pokemon appears in your office? Hopefully nothing during work hours but if a member of staff catches a particularly rare Pokemon on their lunch break and then shares this success with friends, then what’s the harm?

Well, when Pokemon Go players “catch” a Pokemon, their phones show the Pokemon 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 Pokemon 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 Pokemon 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 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 questions about how Pokemon Go could impact upon your business and its insurance security, get in touch with the team at Hine Insurance.

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