Intel was in the news recently, particularly in sports news. You must have heard about Intel if you are a sports fan because lately the tech giant has been investing a lot of time and money in the sports world. Recently, GeekWire interviewed James Carwana, general manager of Intel Sports Group, a very new unit established in September.

Intel
Intel by Roebot, Flickr

Big plans for tech in sports

Carwana is in charge of supervising various sports-related partnerships, projects and acquisitions that use Intel’s services and products with virtual reality, connected devices, wearable computing and more. Several years ago, the chip making company forayed into sports, and last year at its CES keynote, it spent almost half of the presentation on its ventures with New Balance, ESPN’s X Games and others.

Soon, CEO Brian Krzanich and Carwana realized that there was an opportunity to do something bigger in sports by being organized and concerted. This resulted in the creation of the Intel Sports Group last fall, just when the chip maker bought virtual reality streaming startup Voke, notes GeekWire.

This month, Krzanich had attendees wear VR headsets at Intel’s CES press conference and guided them through a real-time demo of a live college basketball game. In doing this, the tech giant utilized Voke’s technology to allow people to feel like they were actually inside the camera.

“That’s the future of sports viewing,” he said.

Last year, the chip maker acquired Israel-based Replay Technologies to help it move forward with its 360-degree replays, which are used by leagues such as the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Microsoft is in the same race and has partnered with the NFL, coaches and players and is using its Surface tablets on the sidelines. Also SAP is selling services that assist in engaging fans. Twitter and Amazon are exploring live-streaming opportunities as well.

Why is Intel excited about automated vehicles?

Along with sports, the chip maker is interested in one more segment – self-driving cars. A long time ago, no computer chip company was interested in car electronics, but that time has gone now as artificial intelligence and self-driving cars are getting popular. Those cars are now set to consume a lot of computing power and generate massive amounts of data to be processed in the cloud, Internet-connected data centers.

This is why the chip maker is excited about self-driving cars. The company is pushing forward with tech-like computer vision, infotainment centers, 5G wireless connectivity, and AI in cars. At CES 2017, the tech company said it had developed 5G infrastructure to bring connectivity to self-driving cars.