COVID-19 kept members of this summer’s T-Mobile Accelerator cohort from experiencing Kansas City in person, said Iskander Rakhman, but the virtual format didn’t prevent startups from gaining lasting insight into 5G capabilities that could push the next wave of wearable tech.
“The consumer angle to 5G hasn’t been fully explored just yet,” said Rakhman, CEO of Santa Clara, California-based ORBI Prime, an innovator in first-person, 360-degree video technology. “Products that are meant for everyday consumers, like ORBI, take advantage of 5G’s low latency and high bandwidth. Basically, something that was not present before on a consumer level.”
5G refers to the next generation of wireless network technology — faster and able to handle more connected devices than the 4G LTE network. The T-Mobile Accelerator’s expertise in 5G attracted ORBI from the start, Rakhman said.
For the growing startup, brainstorming with T-Mobile senior executives through the accelerator allowed the ORBI team to witness creative applications in 5G firsthand that could serve as inspiration for their own products, he added.
Click here to learn more about ORBI’s technology: hands-free video recording and real-time sharing for everyone from ski jumpers to surfers, social media influencers to online cooking shows.
“The growth these individuals and companies experience throughout the 90-day accelerator is just the start,” said Tina Peterson, founder and general manager of the T-Mobile Accelerator, formerly the Sprint Accelerator. “It’s just the beginning of a relationship that we want to create with these companies … It’s not just about us giving our knowledge away, but rather, how do we work together to collaborate on these new types of products and services, then bring them to market?”
ORBI Prime was one of six 5G-compatible companies working with T-Mobile remotely over the summer because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Click here for the full 2020 T-Mobile Accelerator cohort, which also included two Kansas City startups.
“The biggest obstacle was honestly just trying to switch over from an in-person accelerator to a virtual accelerator very quickly — in the course of about a month,” Peterson said. “One of the greatest things we learned in the process is that we are able to create a highly engaged, highly productive environment through a virtual program.”
Click here to watch the 2020 T-Mobile Accelerator virtual demo day event.
A new way to share
A focus for ORBI during the T-Mobile Accelerator was its 5G helmet, which offers 360-degree views from the perspective of a football player — though the startup took the field with an even wider vision for its suite of products.
“ORBI began with a mission of creating the tools that would enable an easy and intuitive way of capturing and communicating your personal experiences,” Rakhman said. “Our first product came in the form of eyewear with four embedded cameras that record in 4K resolution.”
Launched in 2016, the ORBI 4K camera glasses were first aimed toward such leading adventurous lifestyles as extreme sports athletes and world travelers. As social media constantly changes and advances, Rakhman said, any storyteller can benefit from the technology.
“We see thousands of influencers emerging every day because of Instagram Reels and Tik Tok,” he said. “More than ever, there are individuals trying to create an online presence. The more authentic of an experience the content creator can provide, the easier it is for the content creator to retain and captivate an audience. That’s where our glasses come in.”
ORBI Prime developed software that enables the footage to be collected and redistributed to viewers in real-time. The company’s artificial intelligence also analyzes and edits the footage to show the best viewing angle at any given moment.
“Anyone you know would be able to host a show on social media without the need for a professional production team,” Rakhman said. “The glasses can capture up to 90 minutes of recording time.”
Click here to check out ORBI Prime glasses and technology. Glasses can be pre-ordered for $399.
A new way to watch
It wasn’t until 2019 that ORBI leaders realized they led the only company at the time capable of bringing 360-degree cameras into any wearable form, Rakhman said, explaining the impetus for tackling the professional sports broadcasting realm.
ORBI’s 5G helmets enable players to share the game from their own perspective. Like the glasses, the artificial intelligence edits the footage in real-time based on such factors as the speed and proximity to the players and the ball.
“As of now, we have fully functional helmets, but we need to pilot them and test them with professional teams,” Rakhman said.
ORBI initially planned to test its helmets this year with motocross riders, but with the majority of professional sports canceled because of COVID-19, the trial run didn’t happen, Rakhman said.
Testing will be a priority once the sports market rebounds safely, he added.
With professional sports viewership decreasing among the younger demographic, Rakhman said, ORBI’s technology has the capability of offering new and exciting ways to watch sports.
“The younger generation grew up with attention-sucking applications like Snapchat and Instagram,” he said. “Because of this, something like the thrill of watching a game with your friends and family has been lost. We would love to invigorate that thrill by offering a new type of experience.”
Click here to learn more about ORBI’s 5G helmet.