Just over a year ago, Hanky Skorny left Real Networks to head up a mysterious new effort at Intel around "consumer software".
At the time of the departure, Skorny was overseeing an ambitious new project at Real called Unifi, which just 9 months before was named Best of CES. Unifi was a service that would unify (hence the name) a consumer's media into one cloud service, kind-sorta what Apple eventually did with iCloud, but Unifi was intended to be more of a cross-device ecosystem agnostic effort than that of Apple or Google.
However, by September of 2011 (when Skorny departed), the Unifi effort had by all purposes stalled and the effort has since been quietly killed (the Unifi website is now owned by some strange cloud computing news aggregator). While the reason for the demise of Real's Unifi isn't really known, part of it (I believe) has to do with the high costs of both storage and licensing of content that would have been required to make the service successful.
But now with Skorny at Intel running their mysterious consumer software group, I can't help but wonder what this means for Intel and it's rumored living room efforts, and whether it means Intel is planning on adding some Unifi functionality to it's new living room products. While I've made my skepticism clear about the Intel effort with this unambiguously titled post over at Forbes on Monday, that doesn't mean I'm not interested in seeing what the company does, and would think that a Unifi type of media cloud would potentially make things a bit more interesting than a straight over-the-top set top and service. As Janko wrote yesterday, Intel is planning to make it's new service multi-screen, and by creating a consumer media-cloud service (as envisioned by Skorny at Real) and tying in Intel's past efforts around DLNA and Viiv, the idea starts to add up to a potentially interesting one (if not entirely promising).