The Cost of Redundancy vs The Cost of Failure – Pokémon GO Fest

BY ALLEN COOK / TOURtech CEO & Founder: 

Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago didn’t.  All weekend long colleagues were sending me emails about the event tragedy unfolding in Grant Park, but I already knew all about it – TOURtech was there.  In fact, many of them had seen the video of Niantic’s CEO getting booed and heckled which was streamed flawlessly over our network via Twitch.

I have spoken at several conferences about the cost of redundancy versus the cost of failure and Pokémon GO! Fest is another perfect example.   Niantic received bids from multiple vendors to provide a Wi-Fi network for the die-hard Pokémon collectors, but chose not to spend the money.  The cost of that Wi-Fi, from any of those vendors, was significantly less than the cost of refunding every ticket.

When you add in the bad press and lost revenue from the in-game credit “apology” the cost of this failure is orders of magnitude greater than the cost of a Wi-Fi Network redundant to or in conjunction with existing cellular networks, on which Niantic has squarely placed the blame.

I am the first to admit that technology is a fickle beast and there is no guarantee that even the best Wi-Fi network would have addressed all of the issues.  But I am dumbfounded that an event that relied on high performance connectivity would leave it up to the cellular carriers and cede all control over this most crucial element to faceless conglomerates.

Everyone on the production team was online, bars and vendors were processing credit card transactions and video was being streamed live around the world on TOURtech’s network. But once again, the fan experience was compromised because they could not justify the cost when there was already 4G coverage all over Grant Park.

So much attention was put in to this event to provide a unique and memorable experience for Pokémon fans from around the world.  Even in the midst of the technical challenges, thousands of Pokémon fans enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people, share experiences and be a part of a global community.  I hope the cost of this failure will help justify the cost of some redundancy at the next one or at least save someone else from making the same mistake.