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Intel closing RealSense computer vision division

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Intel closing RealSense computer vision division

In a move that has some wondering what its leaders see ahead, Intel is closing its RealSense operations, dropping a brand comprised of computer vision cameras, biometric sensors and processors, according to media reports.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told CRN that every one of its many assets and product lines must now support at least one of the company’s six core markets: driverless vehicles, data center, client computing, graphics, foundry services and networking.

RealSense did not, and there was no compelling economic reason to invest anything more into it. Despite some enthusiasm for the AI systems among robotics makers, CRN quotes a reseller saying volume in the goods was meager.

The head of RealSense operations, Sagi Ben Moshe, is not being absorbed into other Intel activities despite the chipmaker’s claims that the unit’s talent will find new homes in house. Ben Moshe had served as a vice president for autonomous-car sensor maker Mobileye, which Intel bought for $15 billion just four years ago.

CRN reported in June on a memo to employees about a major restructuring that, predictably, promised to make Intel a faster-moving enterprise.

And the market for affordable, high-resolution sensors capable of biometric detection and surveillance has proven tricky.

Alphabet ditched its 3D-sensing Project Tango after three years.

Prior to that, Apple bought PrimeSense, maker of Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, and mothballed the tech it bought for $360 million.

Maybe there is no viable play here for big companies. But there may be something bigger in this move, though probably not titanic.

Some restructurings happen after a big acquisition to accommodate all the highly anticipated new assets.

Less frequently, some happen three-quarters the way through a major bull technology market when big companies are finally confident enough to invest big where entrepreneurs have made relative fortunes.

But others, those said to be about focusing on core markets and speaking with one voice, typically mean someone sees a slowdown, or worse, ahead.

By definition, core markets only grow incrementally. Ask carmakers how happy investors are with incremental profit growth. “Core markets” is 2021 for circle the wagons.

Big growth is at the edges, in RealSense’s old neighborhood.

Before he was rousted in the Intel shakeup, Ben Moshe had also served as general manager of the company’s Emerging Growth and Incubation unit.

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