Google-owned game studio Niantic has officially launched a 6-month Fellows program alongside Knight Foundation as part of a collaboration effort announced back in 2017. The program's inaugural run will feature five Americans who are passionate about using technology to help their communities. The kicker with the program is that these five fellows will have full access to Niantic's technologies and services bundled within Pokemon GO in order to build out their dream community projects, and will build community events around them. The first two such events already happened in Akron, Ohio, and two more have been announced so far.
The fellow in Akron, Ohio is Roger Riddle. Rather than put together entirely new events, Riddle's idea was to incorporate the hugely popular Pokemon GO into existing events in the community in order to drive up attendance, bring the community together physically, and encourage people to flock to community landmarks. Another fellow, Ming Chun-Lee of Charlotte, North Carolina will be taking a similar approach by using strategic in-game resource placement and other incentives to inject Pokemon GO into the city's Open Streets 704 event on September 30. A similar event will be happening in Macon, Georgia on October 7, during which Niantic fellow Joey Allen will be using the game to bring attention to fresh ideas for public right-of-way usage. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania fellow Christopher Foreman and Palm Beach, Florida foreman Collin Fraum have yet to announce how they plan to use Niantic's technology to better their communities.
This program is the beginning of a massive collaborative effort by Niantic and the Knight Foundation to use mobile gaming and related technologies to bring people together, show how developing technology can be used for good, and support communities. The events that have transpired and been announced thus far as part of the fellow program clearly reflect those values and goals. This program is meant not only to bring people together and rally communities, but also to address specific issues in each fellow's community. This means that there's plenty of room for all five of the selected fellows to flex their creative muscles in creating events and programs centered on Pokemon GO and its associated technologies.