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Tripp CEO Discusses Partners Meta, Qualcomm, and Niantic


TRIPP, a popular health and wellness solution, began as a virtual reality (VR) app for Meta Quest and Playstation VR headsets, with an augmented reality (AR) port debuting on Nreal smart glasses in November last year.

Recently, the firm has seen substantial growth, thanks to working with strong strategic partners such as Meta, Qualcomm, Pico Interactive, Nreal, and HTC VIVE.

Also, Qualcomm included TRIPP in its Snapdragon Space programme to foster extended reality (XR) applications, which follows the latter participating in Deutsche Telekom’s Hubraum Mixed Reality and T-Mobile’s 2021 Fall Wellness Accelerator Programme.

Last week, FastCompany also included TRIPP in its Most Innovative Companies in 2022 and named it a top ten Most Innovative Wellness Companies in 2022.

XR Today spoke with Mani Srinivasan, Chief Business Officer for TRIPP, to examine how the immersive firm continues to innovate and create the mindful Metaverse.

XR Today: What has growth been like for the TRIPP platform?

Mani Srinivasan: At this point, TRIPP is probably one of the fastest-growing XR wellness platforms. As we advance, we address the elephant in the room. We are looking to power a mindful Metaverse, so, there you go, the M-word.

We have been heads down to execute the core product, service offerings, partnerships, and strategic growth. What sets TRIPP apart from others is ubiquity, and we can distribute on best-of-breed XR devices while integrating cross-platform delivery.

We began in AR, coming out of the Hubraum programme with Deutsche Telekom, and tying into Qualcomm, so you will see more coming, very soon, from TRIPP on mobile.

Currently, TRIPP has almost 4 million sessions, and our premium member base tripled in 2020, then tripled again in 2021. 2021 was a tremendous year for TRIPP and has given us scale.

We are continuing to dig into the platform and device ecosystem concertedly with Meta, and I’m sure you have seen some stuff around the rumoured Project Cambria. We can’t discuss the details just yet, but it is a delight to work super closely with the team at Meta on all of their new initiatives and device components. That collaboration is exciting.

Did you tune in to the launch of the VIVE Flow? The HTC team called on TRIPP, so we fast-tracked to port our TRIPP app onto VIVE Flow, which launched in October, and we are watching closely for continued momentum with HTC.

Also, we are continuing to work with the team at Sony Playstation VR, who have got a newer device coming out later this year which is exciting, and recently we completed a port to Pico.

We have a newer product segment and business market based on our acquisition of Phyassist, so, there is a whole clinical initiative. Our consumer business is front and centre, where we are most focused, although there is a pathway in the future in digital therapeutics and mental health offerings.

When we spoke last, TRIPP was launching on Nreal in Asia, then Europe. In November, we launched on Nreal in the US with help from Verizon.

We sat down with John Hankey and his team at Niantic, which has a pretty cutting edge platform in the works called Lightship Augmented Reality Software Development Kit (ARSDK). Now, we are in a select group, producing for the lightship platform, and are working on a minimum viable product (MVP) that will debut later this year.

That is the underpinning of TRIPP powering a mindful Metaverse. Imagine being out there in the physical environment, with the benefits of this platform and content, and changing interactions between people [using AR].

XR Today: How did the partnership between TRIPP and Qualcomm assist with 5G-enabled cross-platform growth?

Mani Srinivasan: The cool thing about Snapdragon Spaces is there is a lot of alignment between Qualcomm and Niantic, as seen at the Augmented World Expo (AWE).

We are part of the Early Access Partner Programme with Snapdragon Spaces, and are working together to push the envelope on AR reference design. I think they appreciate how TRIPP wants to push the boundaries.

We are ramping up with Snapdragon Spaces, and it is all about pushing the ecosystem. That goes to your point on 5G, and there is this excellent relationship Qualcomm has with telcos [such as] Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile in the US.

We have learned a lot coming out of the Accelerator and TRIPP was one of the stars coming out of that programme. T-Mobile’s technology infrastructure blew us away.

We are now working on pilot opportunities internally with T-Mobile, potentially reaching employee wellness and retail applications, although our goal is to support TRIPP’s growth and showcase what our app can do.

XR Today: How did TRIPP become part of the Lightship ARSDK early access programme?

Mani Srinivasan: We brought on a new CTO, who is incredible; his name is Jason Asbar and he previously worked with Niantic. Then we hired a few engineers with experience with the ARSDK.

We started ideating product-wise. So, we have critical considerations for the developer environment, but what is the product? For example, Pokemon Go is an experience-based and relationship-driven immersive experience.

During day-to-day, week-to-week interactions with people in the physical world, you do not interact with them. Pokemon Go became a success because it connected these people. It is roughly a $5 billion revenue business. It is fascinating.

One of our champions at Meta went over and headed up a lot of the development efforts for Lightship. He knew Jason and me and reached out, so we rolled up our sleeves, and within a couple of weeks, we created a proposal; they loved it.

We sat with Lightship to officially become part of the shortlist that only contained a handful of companies. We want to support them with a set of mindful activities that use the reward feedback loop seen in Pokemon Go to prompt interactions with people in the physical world for good, in a way, that has not existed before.

XR Today: What does the EvolVR purchase explicitly mean for the future and growth of TRIPP?

Mani Srinivasan: We are still amidst a pretty ugly mental health crisis. The stats are worrying, and in the pandemic, I think four in ten adults reported suffering from depression and anxiety, and a vital part of that is social isolation and loneliness.

Harvard research indicates young people are the most affected. In US national surveys, 61 percent of people age 18-25 reported the highest levels of loneliness, so people need support in novel ways.

We are proud and grateful to be serving a diverse audience, in this challenging environment, with a next-level, breakthrough immersive toolset.

We learned about EvolVR and connected with the Company Founder, Jeremy Nicol. He is a fantastic guy and is not only a meditation teacher, but also a Universalist minister. In several years, with some extraordinary session leaders, Jeremy created EvolVR.

A screenshot of EvolVR PHOTO: TRIPP

TRIPP started exploring methods to pursue human connections as part of our mission. We saw that EvolVR had the most prominent player base within its niche of immersive meditation, with 40,000 participants across 36 countries.

TRIPP and EvolVR have an alignment in wanting to power a mindful Metaverse. The strategic rationale, as we got to know Jeremy, was “can we build and foster, or innovative, a safe environment for people to connect and collectively support one emotionally, mentally, and spiritually?”

What is essential is that benefits accrue when we come together with consistent practice. If users come together to meditate consistently, they are more likely to sustain behaviour change, and then we can continue from this current phase of survival into actually thriving.

The whole idea is to accelerate this level of connection worldwide, so people realise they can connect safely through any XR access point. Jeremy joined us now as Vice President of Community and Life Events, based on that idea of uniting people.

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