By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
When you consider the surf city origins of CEO Nick Woodman’s GoPro, it isn’t really all that surprising that the current wave the company has been surfing is playing itself out. In fact, surfing the wave is a perfect metaphor for the struggle GoPro has had over the last few years with lagging sales, a failed drone, and competition from lower priced clones. Having to do something to keep afloat while the next wave builds, the company has decided to license their innovative technologies to a trusted partner.
With this agreement, Jabil will leverage GoPro’s cutting-edge reference design and IP to produce camera lens and sensor modules for incorporation into GoPro-approved third-party products and solutions. – GoPro Press Release
The basic details of the agreement with Jabil have yet to be completely known, but it is believed that Jabil will take GoPro lens and sensor designs and license them in every non-competing camera application in what Jabil VP Irv Stein says will be enterprise action camera applications in smart homes, military, fire, police, rescue, and security.
Other technologies the multi year technology and equipment deal will cover include video teleconferencing, dashboard cameras for self-driving cars, and other applications. One thing that won’t be in the cards is Jabil making their own GoPro killer, as that would essentially be the action camera company handing Jabil the knife to stab them with.
“Imagine a world where video conferencing, robotics, and even self-driving cars are powered by GoPro’s camera lenses and image sensors. Together, GoPro and Jabil can make this a reality.” – Sandor Barna, GoPro’s chief technology officer
GoPro has had a long standing collaborative relationship with Jabil, developing supporting technologies in the HERO line from the HERO4 onward.
But even then, GoPro has traditionally shied away from sharing technologies with those who could be a competitor. One that does come to mind is their collaboration with Google to create their 16 camera 360° JumpVR camera platform. That partnership has ended, however, with Google going with YI, one of their chief competitors, to build the next generation.
Though cinematic applications will be kept within their domain for now, I think the self driving car aspect sounds very interesting. With the technology in this arena progressing at a rapid pace, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to get into an un manned Uber which is being computer controlled based on data coming from a top mounted Fusion.
Moreover, the move shows that GoPro is working on a serious pivot, knowing it can’t simply rely on sales of Fusion, the GoPro HERO6 and the Karma Grip gimbal to keep the company afloat. The Karma drone could have been the company’s saving grace, but the recall doomed any chance, or momentum that the camera company had to move into a direction that is firmly dominated by DJI.
Consequently, it’s a smart move. I remember back in the early days of the war between VHS and Beta, JVC licensed out its VHS technology to anyone who wanted it, while Sony kept Betamax proprietary. Who ended up having the most profound impact? Well, history tells the story there. So if GoPro can use licensing deals to keep their company moving forward while they focus on innovation in house, I say why kill the goose that lays the golden egg?
Hat Tip: Engadget