Fb releases Horizon Workrooms beta for Oculus Quest 2
In a nutshell: With more people working from home, virtual reality developers are striving to create immersive virtual environments where employees can collaborate more naturally than with video conferencing. Facebook’s Oculus division worked on a solution and today announced Horizon Workrooms.
On Thursday, Facebook introduced Horizon Workrooms. The project is aimed at companies whose employees work from home. The Oculus Quest 2 app enables users to connect and collaborate with colleagues in a virtual environment.
Colleagues using Horizon Workrooms can create an avatar and collaborate in a virtual meeting room. Features are:
- Mixed reality desk and keyboard tracking.
- Hand tracking.
- Remote desktop streaming.
- Integration of video conferences.
- Spatial audio.
The rooms are customizable and have a whiteboard for presentations or brainstorming sessions. There’s also meeting notes, chat, a built-in calendar, and support for file sharing.
Users can even import their computer and keyboard into the room where a virtual version is created. Nobody but the owner can see the screen. However, when screen sharing is enabled, colleagues can see what a colleague is working on. For example, if you are working on a design in a CAD program, he can share his computer screen to show the team your progress.
“We believe that VR will fundamentally change the way we work as a new computing platform, bridging distance and helping people work better together from anywhere. Horizon Workrooms is a great first step towards this vision, ”says the company blog.
Facebook says it is already using the app internally and has just released it in an open beta. Employees can log in to the Facebook Workrooms website. After creating an account, users can download the app. You can then invite colleagues by e-mail to join their workspace or just join rooms that have already been created by invitation.
Facebook doesn’t have the best reputation for privacy, but does promise not to use conversations or meeting materials for promotional purposes. Images and videos passed through the app for the purpose of environmental tracking will not be seen by the social media giant or third-party advertisers.
Developers are also openly invited to use Horizon Workrooms features in their own apps. Only hand tracking and spatial audio are currently available. However, Facebook says it is busy bringing avatar, passthrough, mixed reality desk, and tracked keyboard capabilities to app makers.