Video: GoPro Plants its Flag in VR

Like any company facing disruption, GoPro has to innovate for new form factors to continue growing. Google is the poster child of this concept in its transition to mobile. Yahoo is not.

But like most strategic and practically-minded companies, it also must find areas of growth that best utilize existing competencies and installed base. For GoPro, that's all about VR. 

VR is a logical extension for GoPro. For one, the installed base of its flagship hardware is a natural fit for 360 video capture rigs -- its own (Omni), and through partnerships (Odyssey). 

"Is there a marketplace for this?" asked GoPro's Kevin Custer at our recent event. "We were experimenting and saw that professionals were already utilizing it and hacking systems on their own, and we realized we have something special here." 

GoPro's longstanding work in capturing HD video also positions it well from a software perspective. It employs best of breed camera sync technologies and 360 stitching.

These will be VR success factors that GoPro as built or acquired (Kolor). Auto 360 stitching will be especially key for VR production's biggest pain point: post production time/cost. 

GoPro is also positioned well because some of VR's biggest areas of applicability will be where it already hangs its hat: adventure sports, UGC, film making and field reporting. 

As we examined recently, content is one of the biggest gating factors to VR's true promise. Anyone producing content or production "picks & shovels" is well-positioned inherently. 

Through all of this, GoPro is building more than hardware: It's an ecosystem of technology that works together, according to Custer. This will be key to for GoPro to diversify and grow.

You can see Custer's entire presentation below -- now that we're just one week from the Omni's public release -- not to mention some some really cool videos.   

Mike Boland

Michael Boland is Chief Analyst and VP of Content for BIA/Kelsey, covering online and mobile media. Mike is a frequent speaker at top industry conferences such as BIA/Kelsey events, Search Engine Strategies, ad:tech, and WHERE 2.0. He has authored in-depth reports on the changing local media landscape including online video, social networking and mobile. He contributes regularly to highly read online news sources such as Business Insider and the Huffington Post. A trusted source for reporters covering the interactive media space, his comments have appeared in major news and trade media, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Forbes. Previously he was a San Francisco-based freelance writer for business and technology magazines, such as Red Herring, Business 2.0, and Mobile Magazine. Mike began his career in business analysis and journalism as a staff reporter for Forbes magazine, where he covered tech & media.