For owners of its Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality (VR) headsets, Facebook has introduced Horizon Workrooms, a program that creates VR conference rooms where Oculus owners can meet, discuss, draft, and work together.
A person can enter the room with a cartoon avatar and take a seat at a virtual conference table. Interactive whiteboards mounted on the VR walls allow participants to write and make notes, just as in a physical meeting. 
“One way or another, I think we’re going to live in a mixed-reality future,” Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said last week in a Workrooms meeting with reporters and Facebook staff.
Workrooms is Facebook’s newest attempt to make good on its $2-billion 2014 purchase of Oculus VR, an early entrant into the nascent VR and augmented reality (AR) market.
The purchase set off a wave of VR hype: HTC and Sony promised mass-market VR gear and Microsoft created HoloLens, spectacles that projected holograms.
However, little survived the initial spurt of interest. VR remains a plaything for people willing to part with thousands of dollars for a cumbersome headset that has to be yoked to a powerful gaming computer. 
In a 2017 earnings call, Zuckerberg admitted that turning Oculus into a commercial product with broad appeal is “taking a bit longer” than planned, in comments quoted by The New York Times.
Now, VR companies have narrowed their focus. MagicLeap has devoted itself to business applications, while Microsoft is focused on military uses for the technology.
Still, Oculus has kept hope alive, last year introducing a $299 version of Quest 2 that requires no computer and can be set up with relative ease.
It incorporates “SLAM tracking,” a new method allowing a VR system to map an unfamiliar space in which it finds itself and to locate itself in that space.
The improvements more than doubled Oculus’s previous sales during the new version’s first three months on the market, analysts estimate. Facebook does not release sales numbers.
Workrooms is part of Zuckerberg’s vision of a “metaverse,” in which people can interact through an array of technologies.
“My hope is that, in coming years, people think of [Facebook] not primarily as a social media company but as a ‘metaverse’ company providing a real sense of presence,” Zuckerberg said at the Workrooms event, in comments quoted by the NYT.
TREND FORECAST: Trends are born, they grow, mature, reach old age and die. VR is still a growing baby. As we had long forecast, as virtual reality advances, it will entrench itself across the global spectrum of life. From education to gaming, from logistical to technical applications… VR will have an immediate practical impact on efficiencies and cost savings.
And as we have also forecast, by 2025, VR will transform the hands-on side of medicine. In addition to virtual dissection, surgeons-in-training already are learning their trade in virtual reality, where mistakes don’t cost lives. Journeyman surgeons plan and practice complex procedures in virtual reality, using digital models of a patient’s actual organs and tissues to study their unique features and peculiarities. Basing portions of medical training and practice in virtual reality will make medicine more cost-efficient and reduce errors.

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