Intel (INTC 5.84%) CEO Brian Krzanich's push to unseat the likes of Qualcomm (QCOM 6.08%) in the smartphone processor market simply wasn't feasible. Not only does Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor power virtually every Android OS-run, high-end smartphone on the planet, it's recently announced an even faster, more efficient Snapdragon, the 821.
To Krzanich's credit -- and despite some of the grumblings reportedly coming from some old-timers -- Intel has refocused its transformation efforts on new, high-growth markets including cloud data centers, wearables, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Intel has another new technology it's pursuing, and the opportunities it presents are nearly limitless. Intel's new 3D replay technology will change the way the world watches sports and offers a host of other, as yet unexplored, possibilities.
The future is now
Intel's 3D replay technology aspirations came to light early this year when Krzanich announced its 6G core processor would power Israel-based Replay Technologies "freeD" solution. The following month, Intel took a big step forward in the new field by acquiring Replay Technologies for $170 million.
Fast-forward to this month's Major League Baseball's (MLB) All-Star extravaganza to witness how far Intel has come in bringing its new technology to the sports-loving masses. Intel set up 28 cameras positioned around Petco Field in San Diego, Calif. -- host of this year's MLB All-Star line-up of games and home run derbies -- and utilizing its high-powered processors and replay technology, provided fans with unmatched, 360 degree views of players.
Intel has already inked deals with the NFL, NBA, ESPN's X-Games, and Red Bull with its multitude of extreme sports, auto racing, and other sponsored events. Even for non-sports fans, if nothing else, it speaks volumes that Intel was, and is, able to secure so many big-hitters in the world of sports so quickly. Which bodes extremely well for the future of Intel's 360 degree replay solution.
Where to from here?
The futuristic replay technology is ideally suited to Intel's wearables and IoT push, too. At the Winter X-Games earlier this year, Intel unveiled its new, inexpensive Curie "wireless chip." Curie is about the size of a button and can be attached to most anything: in this case, X-Game snowboards. Curie measured various data, including how high a snowboarder got on a jump to how much rotation was achieved.
That's great stuff for athlete training, but Intel took it one step further: it was able to instantly relay the Curie-generated data to viewers. Now, imagine Intel's IoT device linked with its 3D replay technology? The world of sports would never be the same, and it's nearly unthinkable that Intel wouldn't combine the two, cutting-edge technologies in the near future.
There are a few reasons chip leaders including Qualcomm and its new virtual reality (VR) Snapdragon dev kit are hitting the market. In Qualcomm's case, slowing high-end smartphone sales necessitates a shift in focus to new growth areas, and VR certainly qualifies. Headsets that provide a fast and efficient VR experience have mass appeal to the world's gaming community.
But perhaps the biggest opportunity for VR and VR-like solutions are commercial, and that's where Intel's latest technology enters the picture. Construction, healthcare, education, and engineering are just a few possible applications for 360 degree solutions, and if Intel is able to develop its new technology into a cost-effective package, the world of sports could prove to be just a starting point.
With Intel's Q2 earnings scheduled for July 20, investors will likely zero in on total revenue -- analysts are expecting another year-over-year increase to $13.54 billion compared to last year's $13.2 billion -- along with its cloud data center sales. Which they should, as those are key measurements in terms of Intel's transformation results.
That said, don't overlook the company's fast-growing IoT results. Last quarter, IoT sales jumped a whopping 22% to $651 million. Yes, that is a relatively small portion of Intel's $13.7 billion in total revenue in Q1. But with new solutions such as its 360 degree replay technology on deck, don't be surprised to see Intel's IoT results become an increasingly larger piece of its revenue pie.