Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, hopes its’ new, $1,500 ProQuest virtual reality headset will prove to be a better venue for virtual business meetings than personal computers.
Meta announced a collaboration with Microsoft to bring Office 365 and Teams software to the headsets next year.
Meta also is partnering with Zoom Video Communications to make it possible for people to appear in virtual meetings as their avatars instead of themselves, which could save several varieties of embarrassment around garb, or lack thereof, and personal behavior.
It’s Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg’s latest attempt to move everyone into the Metaverse.
The new headset is thinner and more comfortable to wear, Meta says. The device has more sensors to transmit users’ facial expressions and physical motions into the Metaverse.
“While video meetings haven’t stopped people from gathering live, there are plenty of meetings that could take place in a highly engaging and collaborative setting like the one Meta is trying to build,” Daniel Newman at consulting firm Futurum Research told The Wall Street Journal.
While Meta understands that bringing the Metaverse to the workplace, or putting the workplace into the metaverse, is key to the technology’s financial payout, Zuckerberg realizes that it won’t be love at first sight.
“For virtual reality to reach its full potential, we need 200 million people who buy new PCs each year for work who can do some or all of their work better in the Metaverse,” Zuckerberg told the audience earlier this month at Connect, Meta’s annual conference.
TREND FORECAST: Exploration of the Metaverse is one of our Top 2022 Trends.
However, like most disruptive technologies, the use of virtual reality headsets and the Metaverse for work in place of a computer will follow a long and winding road.
Giving up the familiarity of keyboards and screens will be easiest for people who grow up using virtual reality headsets; most people already busy with their careers are likely to be reluctant to invest time and trouble, much less cost, in adapting until either forced by their employers or a significant number of their peers make the change.