Friday, November 4, 2016

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Intel Buys Voke VR To Build Out Immersive Sports Business

Intel has bought virtual reality specialist Voke VR in an effort to build out a portfolio of services for its new immersive sports business. The end goal for Intel is to have the ability to broadcast live events in VR.
Intel buys virtual reality specialist Voke
Voke's TrueVR platform
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it includes Voke's technology and platforms, talent, and clientele.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Voke is a strong player in the virtual reality segment. The company was previously backed by Intel and the Sacramento Kings, the latter of which used the investment to offer VR live streams of its NBA games.

The core of VOKE’s business is a product it markets as TrueVR, which is based around a special stereoscopic camera that is used to record experiences, as well as software to then deliver it to various devices.

Voke's platform includes a proprietary paired lens and stereoscopic capture system that make its VR streams look more realistic in terms of depth and proportion. Voke's videos can be viewed on multiple platforms including PCs, tablets, smartphones, and VR headsets.

According to Intel, Voke's platform was designed for simple integration into existing broadcaster and league channels -- something the chipmaker highlighted as one of the key factors in buying the startup.

"Together, we can innovate and scale our new immersive sports business faster to bring fans the most personalized, fully immersive VR experience ever imagined and change the way networks, sports leagues and teams engage with their audiences," said James Carwana, GM of Intel Sports Group.

Intel's new sports division also includes the freeD technology team, which came to Intel after the company acquired Replay Technologies in March. Both Replay and Voke help round out Intel's portfolio of VR technology, as the chip giant works to expand beyond its legacy business.

Sports, with its focus on action and close-up visuals, is an obvious end point for VR technology, and Intel has been positioning itself as a large player in the latter market as it looks to find a place in newer, emerging areas to offset declines in its legacy business. So it’s no surprise to know that Intel has been wedging itself into a number of sports-related activities in recent times. They have included the X-Games in Aspen and the NBA All-Star Weekend.

The new Intel Sports division will also include its freeD technology team, which joined Intel when the company acquired Replay Technologies earlier this year. “We’re making great progress bringing innovative technology and amazing experiences to the world of sports, but there’s more to come,” Carwana notes.

Intel has some pretty ambitious goals when it comes to bringing immersive sports entertainment to people’s living rooms. VOKE and Replay Technologies will be a big part of that.

Other recent Intel acquisitions in the VR space have included computer vision specialists Itseez and Movidius. The company has acquired some 83 companies to date.

Sources: ZDNet and TC

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