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How Voke VR Acquisition Can Transform Intel Into A Player In Immersive Sports Tech?

By Victor Thomson , Nov 04, 2016 04:14 AM EDT
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With the recent purchase of Voke VR, Intel aims to become a player in immersive sports tech. (Photo : Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Dell )

Intel has just made another important acquisition in order to support its virtual reality business strategy. The chip giant company has announced on Thursday, Nov. 3, the purchase of a startup VR company called Voke.

Intel Purchases Voke VR

The acquisition of Voke VR has been announced by Intel on its company blog. Intel's newest acquisition, Voke VR, is specialized in producing immersive sports video experiences. Before its actual purchase by Intel, Voke had counted amount its investors both Intel and the Sacramento Kings, according to the website nba.com.

At the moment, the financial terms of the deal are still unknown, but market analysts explain that Intel is acquiring Voke's existing business, as well as its technology and talent pool. Among Voke's business deals are included Kabaddi tournaments in India and broadcasting NBA games in the U.S.  According to Tech Crunch, Intel will integrate Voke as part of its new division called Intel Sports Group.

According to PC World, this latest purchase is somewhat similar to Intel's second VR acquisition. Back in March, Intel bought Replay Technologies. The company combines the video inside Intel's own servers after recording footage with the help of "freeD" cameras scattered around a basketball court. The stitched-together, aggregated video feed can essentially turn a live feed of a basketball game into a live 3D action.

With Replay Technologies video footage, viewers are able to zoom in and out or rotate in order to experience the action as they want. However, it seems that Voke's technology is superior and it may be used to record more realistic video images. The Replay technology can later put together these initial captured images.

Voke VR

Various events, including the New York's Fashion Week and the Final Four, were captured by Voke using an array of paired-lens, stereoscopic cameras. Then, users can watch the action by hopscotch around the cameras and choosing their own perspective.

Voke's technology can is available on various platforms. The virtual reality experiences can be accessed by users via the PC, the Web, mobile phones, as well as a VR headset. The company has already partnered with Facebook and Oculus in order to broadcast in 3D the NCAA men's basketball final.

VR Sports

A product the company markets as TrueVR is at the core of Voke's business. TrueVR is based around a special stereoscopic camera that records experiences and special purpose software that delivers these experiences to various devices. At this point, VR sports are not yet having a mainstream audience and very few people have likely either seen or heard of them. However, that hasn't stopped Intel from creating a strategy to expand its business in this niche.

Voke VR is Intel's second startup acquisition that aims to lock up what is called "immersive sports experiences." Voke is a leader in bringing live sports virtual reality experiences to consumers. This kind of experience may still sound futuristic for many, but they are closer to become mainstream than you may think.

Why This Matters

Intel is expanding its areas of interest in a variety of fields. The company is hoping that a new generation of fantasy football fans will be interested in a sports broadcast experience that can be assessed and manipulated in real time. Such kind of sports experience might turn fans into sports analysts.

This could bring a major change. At the moment, broadcasters like NBC cannot deliver an interactive experience. Games delivered via the Voke technology would be available only on a smartphone or PC. The fact that the final product can be viewed on a range of devices and through different channels and the technology that includes the special lens and capturing system is what attracted Intel.

Because the VR experiences can be delivered live, this opens up an interesting market for VR used in a number of real-time, mass market experiences. With its focus on close-up visuals and action, sports are an obvious application for VR technology. As it looks to find a place in newer areas. Intel strives to position itself as a large player in the VR market.

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