Company News

Pokémon and the Mobile-Workforce Wars

by Grant Beuzeval on 08/03/2016

You have simply got to take your hat off to Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go. They’ve gone and created the world’s largest crowd-sourced mobile workforce overnight – and we’re damned envious.

Returning from lunch today, we were unable to enter our building. The foyer was swamped with 150 Pokémon fanatics chasing the elusive Hitmonchan – especially popular in Hong Kong, being named after Jackie Chan. (She’s gone now, by the way!)

As a business that builds and manages (and pays) communities of agents that zip around town completing retail auditing and mystery shopping tasks, we’re obviously watching, with envy, the unfolding of a phenomenon on the streets of our city as digital nomads (and zombies) voluntarily pursue imaginary creatures and make friends in the process. And … here’s what’s mind-blowing to us… Niantic have successfully convinced theirworkforce to pay them! Now that is genius.

Since Pokémon Go was launched 4 days ago on July 25th, 78% of our Hong Kong SmartRocket agents have installed and played so we thought we’d better investigate further by polling them in our own mobile workforce app.

  • In a zombie-like trance, 8% of our agents have collided with objects such as people, lamps, walls and shop windows while staging a running battle with the fiddly monsters.
  • 43% of our agents were currently sitting between levels 6-10 while the highest achiever is on level 20 (the highest level is 40)
  • 1 in 8 have spent between 6-10 hours chasing Pokémons in a single day!
  • The Pokémon Go app surprisingly lacks any deliberate social elements but a collaborative spirit has emerged amongst the Pokémon faithful. 31% of our agents have met new people while pursuing monsters.
  • You need thick skin to chase imaginary monsters through a shopping mall and 1 in 10 agents has been cursed or abused.
  • Only 2% had so far paid for additional Pokémon Go items (such as egg incubators, lucky eggs and incense)
  • 45% are in love with Pokémon because it’s genius, 27% say it’s a passing curiosity and only 5% say it’s a complete waste of time.

Perhaps our agents are biased because they’re accustomed to running around town collecting quality retail intelligence and taking photos in stores but they’re clearly advocates of Pokémon Go.

Through our polling exercise agents have also advocated Pokémon elements that can be incorporated into our own SmartRocket app, such as some form of Augmented Reality and pop up tasks.

While the full extent and opportunity of commercial exploitation of the Pokémon Goblitz has yet to be fully realized, it’s undoubtable that the bar has just been raised several notches by Niantic and the onward journey from here will no doubt take us in new and exciting directions.

A tangible upside for us was succinctly posted on our Facebook page by one of our agents today Thanks to the Pokémon trend, everyone is now free to take photos in any place, and SmartRocket tasks will become easier to complete”

If that post was written while being chased out of a supermarket where a large herd ofJigglypuffs had congregated, well then I’m not so sure… but it does sound like a lot of fun.