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Facebook launches Horizon Workrooms, a virtual reality app for the “new normal”

Facebook launches Horizon Workrooms, a virtual reality app for the “new normal”
Facebook has unveiled Horizon Workrooms, a free virtual reality app for users of its Oculus Quest 2 headset.

Technology

Facebook launches Horizon Workrooms, a virtual reality app for the “new normal”

Facebook has unveiled Horizon Workrooms, a free virtual reality app for users of its Oculus Quest 2 headset. The app stands out as the social media company’s most ambitious effort to enable groups to socialize in VR.




According to Facebook’s official statement, Workrooms is its flagship collaboration experience that lets people come together to work in the same virtual room, regardless of physical distance. It works across both virtual reality and the web, and is designed to improve the user’s ability to collaborate, communicate and connect remotely. Users can tap into the power of VR, whether it’s getting together to brainstorm or whiteboard an idea, work on a document, hear updates from the team, hang out and socialize or simply have better conversations that flow more naturally.

Workrooms bring some of Facebook’s best new technologies together for the first time into one experience on Quest 2. “Using features like mixed-reality desk and keyboard tracking, hand tracking, remote desktop streaming, video conferencing integration, spatial audio and the new Oculus Avatars, we have created a different kind of productivity experience,” Facebook said. “We have been using Workrooms to collaborate here at Facebook already, and we think it’s one of the best ways to work if you can’t be physically together.”

Its new features include:

A virtual whiteboard as big as your ideas: Every room in Workrooms offers infinite whiteboard space so you can sketch things out together in real time. For the first time, you can use your controller in a new way by flipping it around and writing with it like a pen, either on the physical desk in front of you or standing with others at the white board.

Avatars: it makes you feel more connected and have more natural conversations using Facebook’s new and improved Oculus Avatars and spatial audio technology. The new avatars offer a huge variety of customization options and feel more expressive and natural, helping you feel like you are really there with your colleagues. Moreover, the conversation sounds more lifelike with Facebook’s high quality, low latency spatial audio.

A room to suit every task: you can configure the virtual room’s layout to match your needs. Whether you are focused on collaboration, conversation, or presentation, there’s a seating layout for every occasion and the whole room scales up and down to fit the size of the group.


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VR or video call – your choice: not everyone will always have a VR headset handy, so you can also dial in to a room from your computer by video call. You can invite guests to dial in too, just by sharing a meeting link. Video participants will show up on a video screen in the virtual room, just like a real conference room. It supports up to 16 people in VR together, and up to 50 people total on a call, including video participants.

In regards to privacy, Facebook has built Workrooms with privacy and safety in mind. Workrooms will not use the users’ work conversations and materials to inform ads on Facebook. Additionally, Passthrough processes images and videos of the user’s physical environment from the device sensors locally.


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