Risk and Audit’s Pokémon Go Moment

Anyone within arm’s distance of a smartphone (or with a teenager living under their roof) will have no doubt seen or heard of the July 2016 release of Pokémon Go – a free to play location based augmented reality game.

As tempting as it is to dedicate a full post to Pokémon Go – we have played it once and we are not ashamed to admit that we are probably not at the desired competency level of its target market – what has struck us with the phenomenon that has accompanied its launch is is this the moment when augmented reality goes mainstream?

And if it does what does that mean for the professions that we hold so dear?

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Firstly – what is augmented reality?

Augmented reality  is a direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

Just in case you needed to know but were too afraid to ask augmented reality and virtual reality are different.  Virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.

The fact that as of the writing of this missive, 40 million downloads of Pokémon Go have been made would suggest that it has tapped into a market waiting to be tapped into.

This commercial success will no doubt drive greater innovation in augmented reality and we will soon look back on mid 2016 with a nostalgic fondness for when augmented times were simpler.

We are going out on what feels like a very safe limb here to suggest that we will soon see augmented reality making its way into the world of business and commerce. 

The commerce part is easy – who doesn’t want to feel exactly how it would feel in “real life” (such a quaint early 2000s concept!).

The business part is where it gets really interesting.

Imagine for one moment that a factory was decked out with augmented reality engagement points – lets call them by their old world name of stickers – on every machine.

If it is your want as you walk past the sticker on the machine that you are interested in on your smart phone up comes it current and past performance efforts, its maintenance history and what type of oil it prefers for breakfast!

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So continue that thought for one moment into the world of risk management and audit.

Obviously knowing the base level information mentioned above will be important but then imagine if you will if risk management was to write code that showed those machines (keep in mind you are seeing this real time on your smartphone) that are outside or getting close to being outside the boundaries of acceptable service. 

All of a sudden your factory floor is a sea of red (machines effectively shouting at you for help); yellow (machines coughing ever so loudly in the hope that they will get noticed) and green (machines well … lets be honest … just chilling out!).

This is where augmented reality meets predictive and real time risk management.

From an audit perspective again all of the above will be of relevance but then imagine for one moment that our friendly augmented reality maps for us those machines (and more importantly their human owners) that we need to speak to.

No more of speaking to Joey in Accounts because he looks like he knows what is going on.

We then have a control environment where we can see real time – in the palm of our hand – not only the current state of risk but who is accountable for the risk.

Isn’t that close to nirvana?

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All of what we are proposing (dreaming!) will require huge resources and a radical re-think of what it is to provide counsel on risk management and audit.

But then we guess the same was once said Pokémon that fateful day in 1995 when Satoshi Tajiri opened his computer and wondered what if!

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