Pokémon, Pokémon, oh Pokémon

pokemon billtrust mockupBurning Man festival is an event that attracts more than hundred thousand visitors each year. It is held in the middle of the desert in the state of Nevada, where lots of mostly young people gather and enjoy different activities. The camp is called Black Rock City and it is a really exciting place to visit. Lots of nice art installations, hospitals and even an airport can be seen in the desert. However, the latest news is that people will discover that the hugely popular game Pokemon Go does not work there.

The Black Rock City can be found within the Pokemon Go application, but there are no Pokémon’s to catch. That might be a problem for some of the visitors because most of them are young technology enthusiasts coming from San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Every year there are some fears about how Facebook, Snapchat and other popular platforms will change this event and this year is no different.

As in the previous years, cell phone services are limited and usually very slow as there are lots of people present in the area. Only the AT&T has a full coverage of the camp, while Verizon offers 3G services. Sprint provider can provide mostly texting as their coverage is pretty weak. However, cell phone services seem to function much better during the early hours of the morning when most people sleep. That is probably the best time of the day for doing some Internet Marketing.

Limited access is probably a good thing as it encourages visitors to pay attention to the interesting things going on at the festival and not be distracted by outside events. Some of the main principles of Burning Man are against the usage of iPhones and mobile devices, encouraging bigger participation in the ongoing events. Despite that, there is still a good presence of technology at the event. Many important figures have visited the festival such as the CEO of Tesla – Elon Musk, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page from Google.

Technology also plays a key part in the Burning Man festival itself. All tickets are scanned, and the motor vehicles that leave and return back during the weeklong festival are tracked through their personal QR codes. Most of the communications in the camp are done through the usage of radios and the computer systems are also connected to the Internet. Young crowds that visit the festival are used to having constant Internet access and a large majority of the visitors belong to the 20-60 age group. That is probably the densest place with smartphones anywhere on the planet.

However, with cell phones and mobile devices shut down, participants are getting more involved in other activities. Becoming friends over a beer and barbeque is very easy, and the organizers of Burning Man say that they have disconnected the internet access on purpose so the participants will be more present instead of distracted. Whiteboards and blackboards are used for sending messages and classic paper maps are used instead of GPS for one week. Participants have many possibilities to learn something interesting, meditate, drink, socialize, or make customized hand art.

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