Facebooks VR Workrooms: A Door to the MetaverseBy Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Mon, 08/23/2021 - 05:00
Facebook just launched Horizon Workrooms, virtual reality (VR) conference rooms that reflect the reimagination of collaborative remote work and the company’s transformation from a social network to a metaverse company.
For the past six months Facebook employees have been using Workrooms internally, some five years after the launch of the Oculus Rift, the company’s first wireless VR headset. The new conference rooms stem from efforts to expand the use of the headset beyond video games. The COVID-19 pandemic provided the perfect transition with video conferencing.
“What we're trying to move towards is a world where a lot of what we do is in here [in VR], and the people who cannot be in here can be on video,” said Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. That way, even if people aren’t together physically, they can still feel present in a virtual round table, he added.
Ultimately, the tech magnate foresees that VR tools will be the key differentiator, a "fusion of the digital objects and the physical ones,” thereby indicating Facebook will continue exploring and developing this concept. Thus far, in Horizon Workrooms, the app actually maps to a person’s physical desk and keyboard and gives users the ability to project their computer screens into the virtual meeting room, in essence mimicking the sensation of presence through the hybridization of VR and reality. This system could benefit countless workers across the globe who wish to remain remote, or to keep their flexible work conditions. A recent survey by Microsoft found that 81 percent of workers in Mexico want their workplace to remain flexible.
"One way or another, I think we're going to live in a mixed reality future," predicts Zuckerberg. In anticipation of this, as mentioned in an earnings call in July, this venture is a foot in the door strategy as the company begins its transition from social media into 3D spaces. Eventually, the company wishes to expand the capabilities of this technology by bringing more devices into VR. Before this happens, however, more investment is required in hardware development. The company wishes to move away from bulky headgear, expand sensory stimulation, increase resolution and processing power.
As reported previously by MBN, the metaverse is still in the initial stages of development, an imperfect approximation contingent on so many moving variables and influences it is unclear what the final product will be. What is clear is that big market players, like Facebook, believe in the metaverse transition and as one of its developers, they will have great influence over its development trajectory and therefore the final end result.