Intel Strengthens FPGA Vision Portfolio With Omnitek Acquisition

Credit: IntelCredit: Intel

FPGAs are often used for video and vision processing applications. To improve its position in this key market, Intel today announced the acquisition of the UK based Omnitek, a provider of IP and customized solutions for FPGAs. The deal contributes to Intel’s strategy to bring full solutions to the market that extend beyond just the silicon.

Omnitek specializes in vision, video, and image processing solutions for workloads like video over IP, projector video processing, video conferencing and AI inferencing. The company has developed a wide breadth of IP, often replacing ASICs and ASSPs with FPGAs.

Omnitek last year introduced its DPU (deep learning processing unit) for AI inferencing, achieving 16.8 TOPS of INT8 performance on a Xilinx UltraScale+ FPGA. The DPU is programmable in C, C++ or Python and supports various common topologies such as CNNs (convolutional neural networks). This programmability is one of the key features that make FPGAs attractive for deep learning inferencing. 

For Intel, this acquisition fits in their strategy for providing end-to-end solutions to customers, like its Select Solutions for the data center, the upcoming Project Athena for the PC, or full self-driving car solutions with Mobileye. Dan McNamara, SVP of Intel's Programmable Solutions Group, said: “Omnitek’s technology is a great complement to our FPGA business. Their deep, system-level FPGA expertise and high-performance video and vision-related technology have made them a trusted partner for many of our most important customers. Together, we will deliver leading FPGA solutions for video, vision, and AI inferencing applications on Intel FPGAs and speed time-to-market for our existing customers while winning new ones.”

As the second part of Intel's strategy in artificial intelligence and IoT, the company has put a lot of focus on improving its vision portfolio. About a year ago, Intel introduced the OpenVINO toolkit for vision AI inferencing at the edge, also supporting FPGAs.

And lastly, IP such as Omnitek’s lowers the bar to deploy FPGAs, attracting more developers to use them, as Omnitek's own DPU demonstrates. This was one of the important points that Intel made with Agilex and OneAPI, which we recently covered with their Data-Centric Innovation Day. For more information about FPGAs, be sure to read this explainer

This is the second major acquisition to support Intel's Programmable Solutions Group after they acquired eASIC last year. Intel didn't provide financial details.