Dedicated to developing and delivering the next generation of interactive content for the Internet, Be Here is creating a compelling way for Internet users to have an interactive and personalized experience of remote locations and events by combining the interactivity of 360° panoramic immersive imaging with full-motion video and audio technologies.
Imagine watching your favorite sports team live on television and choosing the camera angles for a 360° viewing of the action. That technology may not be available with television, yet it's already possible on the Internet thanks to one company's vision.
Ted Driscoll, CEO of Be Here Corporation, says his company's technology allows you to do just that. "We're offering a sort of 21st century video-a personalized interactive video-as opposed to 20th century television."
"The attempted landing of the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft on the Red Planet last December is a great example," Driscoll says. "We worked with NASA and the Planetary Society to provide a Webcast of the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission control room. It was the first live, 360° streaming video Webcast ever."
Although the Mars Lander was lost during its entry into Mars' atmosphere on December 3, 1999, fans of the space program could still log on to the live Webcast that day, see the action in the control room and choose their own point of view for a unique, personalized experience. "Basically, we put 75,000 people in mission control."
Internet Ideal for Immersive Video
A computer scientist who has worked in image processing his entire career, Driscoll says the seed for Be Here emerged in 1995. At the time, Internet sites with live video feeds were drawing lots of attention, but Driscoll was frustrated by the fact that the images were from fixed positions, and that visitors had little or no control over camera angles.
"I sensed that there was a natural voyeuristic instinct in people, and that the Internet was suddenly allowing people to open their eyes at some location and look out. So, I got together with a friend who was one of the nation's premier optical designers and said, 'Let's design a video camera that sees in all directions at the same time.' Nothing like this existed."
With the camera and the technology to support its content on the Internet design completed, Driscoll knew he didn't want to start just another camera company. Instead, Be Here was founded in 1996 to deliver immersive 360° video content to the mass market.
"We treated the camera as being an enabling technology, a sort of unique portal. What was interesting about our technology was that you could capture this immersive environment all in one shot. We decided that we had to emphasize the ability to deliver a live, 'be here' experience as opposed to a 'see there' one."
Intel Capital Invests in Be Here
In searching for new opportunities to help provide more compelling visual content for PC users and the Internet, Intel Capital heard about Be Here and the company's position as a leader in the immersive 360° streaming-video market segment. Be Here's ability to deliver Web content providing users of PCs with an interactive, personalized viewing experience was intriguing.
In October 1999, Be Here announced a $11.3 million second round of funding from Intel Capital, Royal Philips Electronics, Wasserstein Adelson Ventures, Mercantile Capital, and Oasis Ventures, in addition to its existing investors, Enterprise Partners, Totem Ventures and Waterklip Group.
The company kicked off the millennium with the January launch of its Be Here iVideo* (immersive video) technology. Be Here also worked with the NFL and ESPN Internet Group to put NFL fans right in the center of this year's Super Bowl action through live and pre-recorded 360°, immersive video feeds of Super Bowl XXXIV events online. Music fans worldwide who couldn't make it to Park City, Utah, for concerts at this February's Sundance Film Festival could virtually attend live performances through Be Here's online Webcasts. Today, the company continues to focus on building strategic relationships with entertainment and sports companies and creating brand awareness for its product line, says Driscoll.
A Growing Relationship
Although the Intel Capital relationship is still relatively new, Driscoll points out that Intel Capital has lent assistance in many ways. Intel has introduced Be Here to top sports and entertainment companies that could benefit from Be Here's technology; as well as provided meetings with scientists from Intel Architecture Labs and with marketing advisors. "They have been very, very helpful," notes Driscoll.
Intel has also benefited from the alliance, Driscoll believes. "The personalization of our technology that draws more people to the Web is something that Intel wanted to get into, and so everybody benefits. I'm very glad that we found each other."
Be Here iVideo Process
"Intel Capital has been very supportive in many ways. Intel is a very powerful name and a very strong company. They also have very, very active market segment development for their portfolio companies. Of our corporate investors, Intel Capital has probably made the most difference."
CEO, President, Founder
Be Here Corporation
AT A GLANCE...
Be Here Corporation
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Last updated: May 2000
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