The first Big Thing in IoT just landed

It would be almost impossible to not of heard of the game sweeping across the world: Pokemon Go. It is as much of a game as it is a global phenomenon, KILLING twitter in daily users (it just launched in Europe and is awaiting launch in Asia). It is only likely that a few people at Nintendo knew what Pokemon Go would really become. When VR is said to be the next advancement in tech, supposedly changing how consumers interact with entertainment and how businesses solve complex industrial problems, Nintendo leverages IoT (Internet of Things) and AR (Augmented Reality) to bring a the biggest social experience to millions of people.

 This is the magic of Pokemon Go: you don't have to be a fan to be impressed and amazed with the most advanced social network created. 

Pokemon Go could not have been created at any other time. The technology and competency level of smartphone users just simply wasn't there. Apps like Snapchat, Clash of Clans, Instagram or Vine, & twitter, were all socially educating smartphone users about about UI, filters, editing, sharing, saving, playing, micro-transactions, f2p models, cloud, and so much more—The average person needed the previous generation of applications to teach them how to use Pokemon Go, after all it has no real instructions. 

How does Pokemon Go leverage IoT?

I am not going to break down the premise of Pokemon Go, there are so many how-tos and explanations of the game (you can download the app for free to see for yourself!). But I want to briefly look at the most obvious technology behind the app.

The backend tech of Pokemon Go, and what makes it IoT, are on a few key things:

  • Google Maps
  • Interconnectivity among active players
  • Big Data

Google Maps

The very backbone of Pokemon Go is utilizing Google maps. The entire premise of the game is built on GPS and tracking your location (more on this in a second). With a clever skin overlay, the players are transported to a virtual version of their world in the palm of their hands. This means that as you walk, you can pass by buildings and points of interest near you in the game that yield rewards. Your GPS location will also tell you how close you are to Pokemon. As expected, business will be able to start utilizing this GPS information to create exclusive hubs to help attract would be Pokemon trainers (imagine an exclusive Pokemon at the Starbucks on the corner). Businesses, sculptures, and monuments are now beacons that interact with every player—without even connecting their physical presence to the internet. Your speed, determined by GPS, in a car or walking, opens up different tasks you can or can't do.

 

Image: http://www.theverge.com/2016/6/10/11898470/pokemon-go-ios-android-niantic-ingress-ar-first-look

Image: http://www.theverge.com/2016/6/10/11898470/pokemon-go-ios-android-niantic-ingress-ar-first-look

Interconnectivity among active players & Big Data

These two go hand in hand—because of the interconnectivity, in coordination with GPS location and tracking, there are huge amounts of data being shared to other players as well as making game based "calls" to servers. This Big Data can mean analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharingstoragetransfervisualizationquerying, and more. The querying going on is so complex that if one person sees a pokemon, any person nearby can also see it on their smartphone—instantly (meaning it is not a random, single user instanced experience) . Internal game beacons, once activated, are active in real-time for all players. Groups of people could be battling their pokemon at a specific location and its all live, in real time, calculating all the variables. Where you are as a player also dictates the type of Pokemon that show up while coordinating the time of your location to reveal even more (or less) Pokemon. 

The amount of complex data and interactions going on is really quite amazing. To get here it required the right tech and the increase in smartphone user education.

Whether you're a bystander watching people run into walls trying to catch every single Pokemon or a player yourself striving to best the trainer you can be, the tech behind a seemingly simple game, is huge. This is the magic of Pokemon Go: you don't have to be a fan to be impressed and amazed with the most advanced social network created.

Everyone, it seems, is ready for IoT.