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October 12, 2017

Nokia sharpens digital health focus, scraps VR development

Nokia has announced plans to sharpen the focus of Nokia Technologies on digital health, and accelerate growth in that market, with an eye on investments in virtual reality (VR). Nokia will halt the development of further versions of the OZO VR camera and hardware, thought it will honour commitments to existing customers.

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Up to 310 of its 1.090 employees with Nokia Technologies will lose their job. The reductions will mainly affect workers in Finland, the US and the UK. As reason for the shift in strategy the company points to the slower-than-expected development of the VR market in digital media. This means it will reduce investments there and focus more on technology licensing opportunities.

Developing digital health portfolio

With the new strategy, Nokia plans to develop the digital health portfolio it acquired with the purchase of Withings in 2016 (rebranded to Nokia earlier this year) and focus on growing brand and technology licensing while leaving its successful patent licensing business untouched.

Nokia states the shift deepens its commitment to fully leverage its digital health portfolio acquired through the purchase of Withings in 2016. Through a more focused, more agile digital health business, Nokia aims to have larger impact with consumers and the medical community.

"Nokia Technologies is at a point where, with the right focus and investments, we can meaningfully grow our footprint in the digital health market, and we must seize that opportunity," said Gregory Lee, president of Nokia Technologies. "While necessary, the changes will also affect our employees, and as a responsible company we are committed to providing the needed support to those affected."

OZO based VR technology

Nokia partnered with Helsinki University Hospital, Finland earlier this year for the world’s first ‘mixed reality’ neurosurgical live streaming using OZO based VR technology. The procedure was livestreamed from the university hospital to approximately 100 neurosurgeons, using Nokia’s OZO Live to provide a more immersive view of the surgery and operating room coordination.

The live streaming trial with 360 degree 3D camera’s was part of the  joint project ‘Media meets Medicine’, which was completed in collaboration with Helsinki University Hospital (HUH) Neurosurgery Department. The experience consists of the stereoscopic 360 degree OZO camera live stream with spatial audio, complemented by interactive microscope and graphics overlays. The Nokia OZO system delivered a live view from the operating theatre to the participants of a live demonstration course in operative micro neurosurgery at the Helsinki University Hospital.

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