Intel continues to bet big on sports.
The tech giant today announced its acquisition of Voke, a virtual reality technology company that specializes in live streams of sports and music events.
Using a stereoscopic, panoramic camera system, Voke creates a 3D live stream of events that can be broadcast to any VR device. It also offers 2D video streams for mobile devices, tablets, and TV.
The company’s VR live stream offers multiple viewpoints so fans can choose where they want to sit in the crowd and shift instantly from one seat to another. The VR experience can also be paused and rewound, and it incorporates graphic overlays for sponsorship and other game details, like showing first down lines on a football field.
“The VOKE team brings more than 20 years of VR expertise, and they’ve captured the attention and the imagination of broadcasters, leagues and teams with their technology and what’s possible,” James Carwana, general manager for the Intel Sports Group, wrote in a blog post. “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.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Voke has ties to Washington, as its co-founders — the husband-and-wife team of Sankar (Jay) Jayaram and Uma Jayaram — worked together to launch the Virtual Reality and Computer Integrated Manufacturing Lab at Washington State University before leaving for the Bay Area.
For Intel, this is another investment in both sports tech and virtual reality. Over the past few years, Intel has made a serious effort to bring its technology into the sports world. In March, the company acquired Replay Technologies, an Israeli startup that develops 3D video broadcasting software. It has also partnered with organizations like the NBA and X Games, using its technology to track athletic performance and more.
At the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this past January, the company spent half of its 90-minute keynote announcing partnerships with companies like ESPN, New Balance, Red Bull, and Oakley.
Intel is also betting big on virtual reality, and in particular “merged reality,” as Intel CEO Brian Krzanich outlined in this post from August.