Verizon Communications has taken over all software and technology as well as "certain other assets" from the augmented reality company Jaunt XR. Jaunt, formerly a virtual reality startup, announced the news today. In particular, it was not said that Verizon took over Jaunt and the company did not confirm whether it would continue to work separately.
Jaunt was founded in 2013 with the aim of making VR video. It released a 360-degree camera and worked on some of the best-known early VR video productions, but at the end of 2018 the focus shifted to augmented reality.
In the press release, Jaunt's specialty is described as "the scalable creation and distribution of volumetric video of people", which may indicate why Verizon is interested. The companies last blog post, from November 2018, showed off a new system called AR Cast, which is live streamed hologram-like 3D video of football fans via a 5G network.
Jaunt spokesperson Lori Lefevre Wells confirmed that "all" Jaunt software and technology is being sold to Verizon, although it did not specify whether that would include its patent portfolio. The release says that "Jaunt Verizon will help with the transition of selected parts of the software and technology for a short period of time," but she refused to confirm whether Jaunt will continue to exist thereafter. "We cannot comment on whether the company will continue," she said.
Verizon has been producing AR and VR content for a while. In 2016, it purchased another VR video company called RYOT. (RYOT was technically acquired by AOL – after AOL was acquired by Verizon but before Verizon merged AOL with Yahoo to form Oath and then renamed it Verizon Media. Consolidation of companies has been confusing.) Since then, RYOT has helped create a augmented reality ads system. Last year, Verizon also launched the RYOT Innovation Studio, which focuses on immersive entertainment that shows the faster 5G network speeds from Verizon. It is easy to see where Jaunt's technology fits, but it is harder to see a future for Jaunt itself.