With today’s newsletter Connessioni comes back after the summer break, which was not without news. Facebook has launched an immersive virtual environment for meetings… will this be a real step forward?
Our readers are familiar with Connessioni’s experimentation with Active Spaces Virtual, a few months ago, the virtual environment that aimed to give an answer to the lack of sociability in online meetings, hence the interest in the uses of VR for online meetings. Just a few days ago Facebook announced Horizon Workrooms, the virtual environment to be used with Oculus Quest 2 for online meetings: in addition to sharing documents, files and ideas, users can also share the space where they work (which can be customized), and live this experience in first person with an avatar with cartoon-like graphics. The new tool is objectively a step ahead of similar solutions, also because gestures and lip movements are also reproduced, and sound is spatialized.
An heir to Facebook’s other proposals with VR, such as 2016’s Oculus Rooms and 2017’s Facebook Spaces, which allowed users to find themselves in virtual environments (both closed in 2019). And perhaps one of the ingredients of Horizon, the virtual social world that the company had announced for 2020, and which is still at a beta stage… but it is certainly also a channel of promotion for Oculus, which Facebook had acquired in 2014, and of experimentation for the mix between virtual and real.
The new app offers a maximum capacity of 16 participants with Oculus, for 50 total attendance; rest of the participants can connect remotely via “screens” in the virtual room; the cost of the basic license is 299 USD.
We’ll see if Horizon Workrooms will be able to overcome the elements that to date remain problematic in VR experiences, such as the need to purchase a visor, to use them regularly and, of course, to adopt and adapt to new ways of interaction that are in any case less spontaneous and more tiring than social interaction. By now, at least.
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