Intel Aims To Boost RealSense Platform With Move To Acquire Computer Vision Startup Movidius

Intel is looking to build up its RealSense perceptual technology platform, saying Monday it plans to acquire Movidius, a company that develops machine vision technology for Internet of Things devices.

Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s New Technology Group, said Monday that Movidius’ specialization in machine intelligence and vision processing technology would ’be paramount to giving humanlike sight’ to the explosion of connected devices.

’The ability to track, navigate, map and recognize both scenes and objects using Movidius’ low-power and high-performance SoCs opens opportunities in areas where heat, battery life and form factors are key,’ said Walden. ’Computer vision will trigger a Cambrian explosion of compute, with Intel at the forefront of this new wave of computing, enabled by RealSense in conjunction with Movidius and our full suite of perceptual computing technologies.’

[Related: IBM Targets Variety Of Verticals For IoT Business, Partner Opportunities]

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San Mateo, Calif.-based Movidius’ flagship product is its vision processing unit, which is a low-power, high-performance SoC platform for accelerating computing vision applications. The company also touts algorithms that are tuned to help enhance deep learning, depth processing, navigation, and mapping in devices.

Terms of the deal, including the transaction price, were not disclosed. As part of the acquisition, Intel said it will be able to deploy Movidius’ technology as part of its RealSense offerings. The company also said the acquisition would bolster its augmented and virtual reality products, as well as robotics and digital security cameras.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel system builder, said the acquisition shows Intel ’has big plans for their RealSense technology which … will represent a big business unit for Intel in the future.’

’With Movidius, Intel now has the ability to offer RealSense to other markets that need low-voltage solutions,’ he said. ’It also gives Intel the ability to control more of their own destiny by being able to design as well as manufacture the key components needed in order to deploy RealSense in more areas.

’For the channel, it ultimately means more products and more variety of products with RealSense technology that can bring more value to a broad range of markets such as security or digital signage where improved capabilities such as facial recognition could provide VARs with very compelling solutions for their clients,’ said Tibbils.

Intel in August paved out a strategy for a bigger play in artificial intelligence with its news at Intel Developer Forum that its newest version of the Xeon Phi processor will have added features around artificial intelligence. Xeon Phi processors, now used in data centers and in advanced deep-learning applications, will be able to accelerate tasks and software associated with artificial intelligence – helping machines interpret speech and pilot autonomous vehicles.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company also purchased Nervana Systems in August. Nervana Systems touts a full-stack hosted platform for deep learning, Nervana Cloud, which helps businesses develop and deploy high-accuracy deep learning systems.