In Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality News
October 11, 2022 – Today at Connect 2022, Meta announced its all-new, advanced virtual reality (VR) headset, Meta Quest Pro. The device is the first in the company’s new line of high-end devices and Meta stated that it has been designed with collaboration and productivity in mind.
The device utilizes cutting-edge technology that Meta is hoping will spur an evolution in the way people work, such as:
- Pancake optics for providing clearer visuals for reading text (like documents and emails) in VR, with 75% more contrast than Meta Quest 2. Quest Pro has also been slimmed down by 40% compared to Quest 2 thanks to its new pancake optics.
- Full-color mixed reality that allows users to see the physical environment around them, enabling them to multitask at a virtual work space with virtual monitors placed right above an actual desk and alongside everything else in the physical workspace.
- Eye tracking and Natural Facial Expressions that allow users’ avatars represent them more naturally in VR. These features, combined with hand tracking, allow avatars to show non-verbal cues, allowing for greater communication and a greater sense of presence.
- A new open design that allows wearers to use their peripheral vision for greater awareness of surroundings. The device also features flexible levels of immersion via magnetic partial light blockers that can be used to increase immersion for focused work.
- All new controllers that include an added stylus tip for natural writing and sketching. The controllers are also completely self-tracked for a 360-degree range of motion, designed to be more balanced and ergonomic with precision gestures, and come with upgraded haptics.
Meta stated that the Meta Quest Pro has been built with people like architects, engineers, builders, creators and designers in mind. Meta is anticipating that over the long term, Quest Pro will help to unlock a range of new ways to experience and improve workflows across many different industries and the enterprise.
Meta Horizon Workrooms
Last year, Meta announced the beta of Meta Horizon Workrooms, the company’s VR space for teams to connect and collaborate. Now, Meta is adding a series of new Workrooms features that have been purposefully built and optimized for the Meta Quest Pro:
- More expressive and lifelike avatars that are generated in real time by utilizing the Quest Pro’s inward-facing sensors that power eye tracking and Natural Facial Expressions features;
- Breakout groups have been introduced, enabling teams to shift from a big group presentation into smaller discussions in the same room for more active brainstorming. Spatial audio also allows users to hear a breakout group clearly, but still hear the ambient discussions in the rest of the room, with less distraction;
- Persistent sticky notes for whiteboard, for brainstorming and collaborating that will all still be there the next time anyone on a team logs in to the same Workroom;
- Updates to the solo Workrooms experience with the ability to spawn three massive virtual screens over a user’s desk, as well as four types of personal environments (or offices). Combined with color passthrough, the company hopes that these changes will turn the Quest Pro headset into a portable office;
- Zoom integration that will allow users to join Workrooms via Zoom, coming early 2023;
- The option to view 3D models in Workrooms will be launched next year.
- Magic Room is a mixed reality experience that will let any mix of people, some together in a physical room and some remote, collaborate together. Meta is already experimenting with Magic Rooms itself, and stated that it hopes to make the experience widely available next year.
Partnership with Microsoft
At Connect today, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was joined by Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella, and the two shared their plans to accelerate the future of work. Through a partnership with Microsoft, the companies will bring powerful new work and productivity tools to Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2, including:
- Microsoft Teams immersive meeting experiences for Meta Quest;
- Microsoft Windows 365 for Meta Quest that will allow users to stream Windows on Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 devices, and access their personalized apps, content, and settings in VR;
- Microsoft 365 app experiences for Meta Quest that will allow users to interact with 2D content from Sharepoint, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook directly from Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2;
- Microsoft Teams/Workrooms integration;
- Meta Avatars in Microsoft Teams;
- Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory support for Meta Quest for enterprise security and management on Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 devices.
Partnership with Accenture
Zuckerberg was also joined by Accenture Chair and CEO Julie Sweet, who revealed that the global professional services company is teaming up with Meta and Microsoft to help businesses around the world create new experiences that accelerate the future of work.
According to the companies, over the last year, Accenture deployed 60,000 Meta Quest 2 headsets and transformed its onboarding process, welcoming 150,000 people in its “Nth Floor” virtual campus that was co-created with Microsoft.
Accenture will be working alongside Meta and Microsoft in the coming year to help companies use VR to transform the way they engage employees, interact with customers, or create products and services in the metaverse.
As part of the partnership, Meta also announced that it will be accepting new applications for its Independent Software Vendor Program to expand its ecosystem for businesses.
Meta stated that over the last year it has been working with dozens of partners to create new experiences for people looking to get things done in VR and beyond. Other partners include Autodesk, which is updating its collaborative design review app to take advantage of the new possibilities unlocked by Meta Quest Pro. This will give architects and designers a new way of reviewing 3D models immersively.
Adobe is another partner, and next year Adobe’s Substance 3D apps for professional 3D creators, designers, and artists are coming to Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2, enabling anyone to model 3D objects and join collaborative reviews inside VR. Furthermore, Adobe Acrobat will also be coming to the Meta Quest Store, enabling PDF document viewing, editing, and collaboration.
Meta Quest for Business
Meta stated that one key part of being able to scale VR in the workplace is to ensure businesses can easily deploy and manage devices across their workforce. As a result, the company has stated that next year it will launch Meta Quest for Business, a subscription bundle for Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 that will include essential admin features like device and application management, premium support, and more.
The platform will also unlock access to Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory, providing companies that want the security and management options they expect from PCs and mobile devices to be available in VR should they provision Meta Quest devices.
For the full post from Meta, click here.
Image / video credit: Meta / YouTube
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past five years.