Verizon Communications has acquired all software and technology as well as "certain other assets" from the extended reality company Jaunt XR. Jaunt, formerly a virtual reality startup, announced the news today. It did not say that Verizon actually bought Jaunt, and the company did not confirm whether it will continue to operate separately.
Jaunt was founded in 2013 for the purpose of making VR video. It released a 360-degree camera and worked on some of the most famous early VR video productions, but by the end of 2018, it shifted its focus to augmented reality.
The press release describes Jaunt's specialty as "the scalable creation and distribution of volumetric human video," which may indicate why Verizon is interested. The company's latest blog post, from November 201[ads1]8, featured a new system called AR Cast, as a live stream hologram-like 3D video of football fans over a 5G network.
Jaunt spokesperson Lori Lefevre Wells confirmed that "all" Jaunt software and technology is being sold to Verizon, although she did not state if it includes the patent portfolio. The release states that "Jaunt will assist Verizon with the transition to select parts of the software and technology for a short period, "but she refused to confirm whether Jaunt will still exist after that." We cannot comment on whether the company will continue, "she said.
Verizon has produced AR and VR content for a while, in 2016 it bought another VR video company called RYOT (RYOT was technically acquired by AOL – after AOL was acquired by V erizon, but before Verizon had merged AOL with Yahoo to form Oath, it rebranded as Verizon Media. Corporate consolidation is confusing.) Since then, RYOT has helped create an expanded reality advertising system. Last year, Verizon also launched RYOT Innovation Studio, which aims to build immersive entertainment that showcases Verizon's faster 5G network speeds. It is easy to see where Jaunt's technology fits in, but it is more difficult to see a future for Jaunt himself.