We talked to Grant Gipe of UdeoMe about exploring the world by watching an on-demand live video.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Grant Gipe: Fortunately, the UdeoMe team and I are all doing well and staying healthy so far! I hope you are also well during this challenging time.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded UdeoMe?
Grant Gipe: I’ve worked in Europe for the past 25 years in telecommunications, travel, and mobile. In 2013, I had the opportunity to co-found several internet startups, which eventually evolved into UdeoMe with a talented international team focused on reinventing the world of livestreaming for users to experience the world in real-time and connecting with others on a global scale. The livestream/tech market was lacking an app that lets users request the content they want to see and share an experience with someone on their phone. UdeoMe was created as a free iOS app that gives people a way to experience the world in real-time. Users can send out a request to other users anywhere in the world, at any time, for a live video and audio experience.
How does UdeoMe innovate?
Grant Gipe: UdeoMe brings the rest of the world right to your phone. Users can request the content they want when they want it, wherever they are in the world. Today’s live streaming model is centered around individuals starting a video and broadcasting it to their followers. UdeoMe inverts this model and puts the power in the hands of viewers who can request the type of content they want to watch. A good comparison is legacy broadcast television versus Netflix or legacy radio versus Spotify. You, as the user, are in control of the content. Users can tailor the five-minute broadcasts to what they want to see, whether that is a sunset in Barcelona or the streets of New York City at any time. Users in the area can either accept or reject the broadcast request and once a broadcast is accepted, other users can join to watch and give it a thumbs up.
Both the travel and news industries can also benefit from UdeoMe. For the travel industry, people can request a live look at hotels, popular events, virtual walking tours, rental property, and more. The possibilities are endless
for how the travel industry could use UdeoMe. Our app could be a great resource for tourism and travel as well, by providing a more interactive experience than a simple live video can. For the news industry, UdeoMe could give people a live look at an area where a breaking news event is happening from users who are there or in the vicinity, and others could join in and watch from all over the world. UdeoMe really is the next best thing to being there in person.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Grant Gipe: The pandemic has been difficult for businesses all over the world. Our company is fortunate in that the pandemic has presented a unique opportunity for the app to be especially useful and relevant. Like everyone else, our team never dreamed the world would be experiencing a global pandemic like COVID-19. I think we’re all looking for new ways to connect, and UdeoMe offers global connection in an easy to use the app. UdeoMe gives people a way to see the world from the comfort of their homes, without ever having to leave, while also serving as a social app. We’ve shifted from focusing on a fun way to see what’s happening live to global communication and seeing other parts of the world where people live and can answer the broadcast requests. So many people are missing their favorite vacation spots or just need a change of scenery. UdeoMe allows users this opportunity to see the world, connect with others, and more safely. Many people are unable to travel or just don’t feel comfortable doing so right now—UdeoMe offers an accessible and fun solution.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Grant Gipe: We’ve luckily been able to navigate quarantine and communication despite having team members in different parts of the world. UdeoMe had launched on the App Store before the global lockdowns took hold, and we were lucky that our overhead stayed relatively low. One lesson I think we learned is the importance of what other people value in terms of communication and human connection. We were able to take that and shift our focus of the app to reflect those values and concerns. It also helped that we have team members living all around the world, from Europe to the United States, who could give us updates and a live look at what was happening there. This helped us think about how best to market UdeoMe in a way that would help people communicate and interact on a global scale.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and UdeoMe in the future?
Grant Gipe: I think you have to do something you enjoy and disengage from what you find stressful. For me, that’s writing. I’m currently working on a novel, and I enjoy taking time away to write, which is a very enjoyable distraction!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Grant Gipe: There are numerous apps on the market currently that are specifically focused on live streaming, but none that let users request the content they want to see for those livestreams. People have enjoyed virtual travel through Google maps for years, but it’s static, of course. Technology evolved, and live broadcasts were introduced, but the idea of user-requested, on-demand, tailored live streaming remains unique to UdeoMe. We’re also innovating to allow brands and businesses to have a unique account where they’ll be able to receive a direct broadcast request from users. It’s a great marketing opportunity and way for brands to stay engaged and connected with their customers. There will also be functionality specifically tailored to social media influencers so they can monetize their content.
Your final thoughts?
Grant Gipe: The pandemic has caused the entire world to shift and change in a way that we could have never imagined. We are excited to see how UdeoMe can help people connect and interact in a new way while also exploring the world and sharing live experiences! New innovations in technology are happening around us every day, and we see UdeoMe adapting to this new landscape, including virtual reality, remote working, and the new appreciation for human interaction.
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