If you thought work meetings could be a headache, just wait until you spend two hours with the boss while wearing a VR headset.
Facebook made a big PR push yesterday for Horizon Workrooms, its new VR meeting app for Oculus Quest. It’s available now for free in open beta.
As the Verge explains:
Up to 16 people in VR can be in a Workroom together, while an additional 34 people can join over video call without wearing a headset. A companion desktop app lets you beam a live feed of your computer screen over your virtual table space. Thanks to the Quest’s hand-tracking and front-facing cameras, a virtual representation of your physical keyboard sits underneath your screen for typing into a barebones web app Facebook built for note taking and managing calendars.
There’s even a personal drawing pad and a shared whiteboard to jot ideas onto.
It’s easy to dunk on the idea, and many people on Twitter did yesterday. But whether you think Facebook should own the future of work collaboration or not, it’s a good for these ideas to get a high-profile airing.
Not every ‘future of work’ idea is going to change the world. And there are still questions about how useful VR is in a work context, given using it makes some people feel queasy.
But as many workplaces increasingly go remote, or become flexible about workers’ locations, tech like Horizons Workplace will help us collaborate in new ways. You might not strap on a VR headset for work every day, but once in a while it could be the fun equivalent of a team day out of the office.
As the leader in consumer VR, with its relatively low-cost headsets already in homes across the world, Facebook is best placed to help all of us figure out if this is the future of meetings we want.