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Going beyond the action: Developer program opens new worlds for GoPro

GoPro is no doubt the king of the action camera market, ever since it ignited a new industry with its Hero back in the mid-2000s. But action cams are now a dime a dozen, with models from various companies saturating the market. In recent years, GoPro has sought to diversify its products’ usefulness and separate itself from other manufacturers, partnering with organizations like the NHL and emerging platforms such as Periscope for live broadcasting, as well as creating original content. Today, CEO and founder Nick Woodman announced the company’s next endeavor: a developer program and branding initiative that will see third-party partners incorporate Hero cameras into their applications.

“Over the last few years we’ve been excited by the creativity and enthusiasm other brands have demonstrated when integrating GoPro into their own solutions,” Woodman said in a release. “The GoPro Developer Program is a way for us to celebrate the innovative work of our developer community and more importantly, help enable what comes next. We’re grateful to benefit from the collective genius of the participating developers and we’re excited to now officially support their efforts with our developer toolkits.”

The GoPro Developer Program has been in the works for more than a year, the company says, and we’ve seen glimpses, such as the Periscope tie-in. At a launch event in San Francisco, GoPro officially announced that it’s been working with more than 100 companies, including major players like BMW and startups such as Timecode Systems. The partners’ industries range from app development to hardware manufacturing.

Thirty-four companies exhibited their applications during GoPro’s launch event. They include BMW, which is showing off how its M-Laptimer App records telemetry, speed, location, and video from GoPro cameras for analysis and playback; Fisher-Price, which created a special camera housing and mounts designed for kids; Telefonica, which is using the camera to create multi-dimensional video experiences via its Xtreamr Mobile App; and Timecode Systems, which syncs Hero cams into pro TV and film workflows.

“The end result is a product combination that’s greater than the sum of two halves, providing the end user with the best possible solution available,” said Timecode CEO Paul Scurrell.

Developers in the program would also be included in a related program called “Works with GoPro.” Similar to Apple’s “Made for iPhone,” it’s a branding initiative that certifies compatibility, as well as integrated marketing, GoPro says.

Financially, Wall Street hasn’t been kind to the company. GoPro recently reported lower-than-expected revenue that led to job losses, due to some product missteps in a now-crowded market. In addition to its venture into VR and drones, this new open software program could be what the company needs if it wants its cameras to sell like hot-cakes again.

We are currently with GoPro at its launch event, and we will update this article with additional comments from Woodman, as well as a look at the various partners GoPro is working with.

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