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Instant Analysis: Intel Snaps Up Computer Vision Company to Boost Its Internet of Things Offerings

By Chris Neiger - May 27, 2016 at 3:30PM

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The computing vision company will help Intel lay a foundation for broader IoT products.

Image source: Intel. 

What happened?
Intel (INTC -3.51%) just agreed to buy Itseez Inc., a company that specializes in making computer vision (CV) technology and algorithms. Neither company disclosed the terms of the deal, but Intel says the addition will expand its footprint in driverless cars and the broader Internet of Things (IoT) market. 

Computer vision allows devices to not only acquire visual information, but also process and analyze it so IoT systems can make decisions based on what they see. For example, an autonomous car uses cameras to see vehicles, pedestrians, and other objects, and it makes driving decisions based on that information. 

"Computer Vision technology is quickly becoming critical for the future of smart and connected 'things' from autonomous vehicles, security systems, medical imaging and more," Intel's senior vice president and general manager of Internet of Things Group Doug Davis said in a press release

Does this matter for shareholders?
This move is important for Intel in light of its recent layoffs and pivot toward the IoT. 

Intel is now diving into the driverless car market, though only in a relatively small fashion. That's notable because the broader driverless cars market is expected to be worth $242 billion by 2025.

Still, it'll face some competition in the computer vision space. Israel-based MobileEye (MBLY) makes automotive vision systems for semi-autonomous cars, and its camera hardware is in 270 vehicle models this year.

Itseez's technology focuses more on algorithms rather than hardware, and its tech is used for security cameras and industrial equipment as well as cars. That means Intel won't be competing directly with MobilEye with this move, but it's certainly creeping into the company's territory.

Intel views Itseez's technology as a cornerstone for some of its future IoT ambitions in digital security, surveillance, and industrial inspection, as well as a way to expand its deep learning capabilities.

For that reason alone, the purchase is likely an important move. Intel is transitioning away from PCs, and any steps it can take toward a broader IoT portfolio should be a welcome one. Just don't expect revenue from the deal quite yet. The company is likely snatching up Itseez so it can implement its technology into future products, which could take time to develop.

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