Nokia Makes a 360

The Company Enters the Virtual Reality Camera Market

Nokia_Ozo_lAt an event in Los Angeles this week, Nokia unveiled Ozo, a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) camera designed for “professional content creators”. Nokia said that Ozo is the beginning of a portfolio of digital media solutions, a statement of the company’s intentions to develop products outside of its core infrastructure business.

Ozo uses eight shutter camera sensors and eight microphones to capture 3D video and audio. The device’s on-board software enables real-time 3D viewing, meaning it could be used for live virtual reality broadcasts. No pricing information was given.

The company also announced a partnership with Jaunt, a California-based firm that develops software and hardware for VR content creation. Nokia joins top brands such as Facebook, Google, HTC, Samsung and Sony in developing virtual reality products (see Adoption of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Predicted to Rise).

Nokia chose to begin its entry into the virtual reality market by addressing professional VR video capture rather than with the launch of a headset. In November 2014, Samsung introduced Project Beyond, a VR camera capable of streaming 360-degree video and audio to the company’s Gear VR headset (see Daily Insight: Imaging Goes Full Circle).

We believe gaming is the low-hanging fruit of virtual reality and will be an initial spark for the market, but professional and amateur video capture is also developing into an important segment. We noted that the number of VR projects shown at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival had increased tenfold.

The entertainment industry’s shifts to new formats are often touch and go, and depend on the installed user base of devices as well as consumer tastes and studio attitudes. The market is still waiting for must-see killer content that will spark wide interest, but devices like Nokia’s Ozo are enablers for a new generation of artists.

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