WASHINGTON — Maxar Technologies last week announced a new acquisition that furthers the company’s goal of turning its satellite imagery archive into 3D products for gaming, media and other industries.
The company is acquiring Wovenware, an artificial intelligence and software firm based in Puerto Rico. Daniel Jablonsky, Maxar’s president and CEO, said Nov. 3 that Wovenware was acquired for its expertise in 3D geospatial technology and machine learning. “We’re bringing their 150 software engineers and developers to the Maxar team,” Jablonsky said during a third-quarter earnings call.
Maxar executives told analysts they plan to generate new business in the video gaming, media, entertainment and metaverse sectors. They said the company is well positioned to serve these markets with its high-resolution satellite imagery archive, daily image collections and 3D production capabilities.
Jablonsky said acquisitions of tech companies like Wovenware are needed investments in order to generate new sources of revenue from the company’s current and future imaging satellites. The new Worldview Legion imaging constellation is critical to Maxar’s lucrative U.S. government business but the company also is looking for commercial markets. After multiple delays caused by production and testing issues, Jablonsky said the first two satellites will be ready to launch in January, with four more to follow later in the year.
Dan Nord, a former Amazon and Electronic Arts executive, joined Maxar last year as senior vice president of enterprise business.
He noted that Maxar’s 3D digital twin of the Earth has been used to develop highly accurate immersive training environments for the U.S. Army and maps for autonomous vehicle navigation, and the next target markets are gaming and entertainment.
Maxar teamed with Blackshark.ai to pitch a digital twin product last month at the Unreal Fest conference hosted by Epic Games, makers of a popular game engine. “We presented our capability to thousands of developers and released a demo of a digital twin of New Orleans where the conference was being held,” said Nord. Maxar wants to make its 3D digital twin accessible to developers so that they can use them for their games and applications.
Film producers, he said, could use Maxar’s 3D globe in a game engine and theoretically film anywhere, said Nord. “We said Blackshark would help us enter the gaming market and now it has.”