Timisoara is developing at a fast pace when it comes to its IT industry. As expected, there are names in the local community that have bigger echo than others. Movidius was not known by the local community apart from a small group of geeks interested in mobile multimedia. Maybe you haven’t heard of Movidius too much until recently. The reason? They are doers. And that takes focus and energy.
Nonetheless, what they do speaks for themselves. Their company has been selected by Google to work on the vision processor for their latest experimental smartphone platform, Google Tango Project. Heralding the Myriad 1 processor at the beginning of 2014, they have continuously improved the technology. Thus, in July Movidius released the Myriad 2 processor, which can boast with 20 times more processing efficiency. And they keep on improving.
It’s a challenge to deliver proficiency at the Silicon Valley level, as the other two Movidius facilities are based in Dublin and California. The Timisoara Office was pinned on the map in 2006, one of the reasons being the availability of embedded professionals in town. Today, the Research & Development Center in Timisoara has a young team of 50 software developers who operate with pretentious multimedia processing capabilities, oriented on computational photography, computer vision processing mimicking with more and more success the human vision in order to integrate that on the next generation of smart & wearable devices.
Behind the scenes
The story behind the company could easily earn as much attention as the company itself. Movidius has been born due to the initiative of 4 engineers, one of whom was Timisoara-based, studying in Ireland. It took a year and a half and a serious amount of personal and financial investment to bring the initiative to the next level: Movidius, the company. Although the talents were less expensive in Romania than in the Western Europe, the technology was the one who needed more investment. Back in 2006 you could not find senior software developers to master embedded technology, so they had to train them and make a team on the long run.
Staying permanently connected with cutting-edge technology and standards has not been the only challenge, though. The company has also invested in their engagement with the local IT industry, contributing to it and sustaining it permanently. Movidius has an active partnership with Timisoara Startup Hub in organizing tech & IT events, ranging from hackathons to conferences, such as Banat Summer Hackathon, Startup Weekend Timisoara and others.
Actually, due to the Google Tango Project excitement, the Startup Hub had a chance to organize a hackathon where 40 developers had access to 12 Google Tango devices (as there were only 200 devices in the world at that time) over the span of an entire weekend. The aim was to build the coolest mobile gaming and augmented reality applications that they could think of that also involved the depth and shape of objects in front of Tango cameras. This was actually the first third party Tango hackathon in the world organized outside Google. Undoubtedly, this opportunity was possible firstly because Movidius had a base in Timisoara.
The success of Movidius in Timisoara is also due to the strong cooperation it has build over with with the academia, and supporting various joint industry-academia initiatives of the IT community in Banat. Movidius collaborated with the Faculty of Automatics and Computer Sciences, as well as its student organization, Liga AC, on projects such as ITec, AC Labs and other research projects with EU funding.
What the future holds for Movidius could be nothing but a rhetorical question. Yet, what they’ve planned is worth keeping an eye on. They have found a suitable place to grow on, to pursue their ambitious goals to become THE mobile vision company. They plan to further increase their team in Timisoara, as the projects and challenges keep the same pace. As a hint, Tango plans to get on the market by mid 2015.