From physically attending meetings in conference rooms to team video calls online, surely the concept of meetings has undergone a tremendous change. Not only meetings, the way one works has also undergone a massive change catapulted by the work-from-home regime following the pandemic. Taking the entire experience a step ahead is Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms that will allow users to operate through an online avatar.
Keeping in line with Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the ‘metaverse’ Workrooms is a flagship collaboration experience that allows people to come together in the same virtual room, regardless of physical distance. In other words, imagine a room and then imagine you attending a meeting with your colleagues or your team -- just not physically. The experience is the same, just virtual.
“It works across both virtual reality and the web and is designed to improve your team’s ability to collaborate, communicate, and connect remotely, through the power of VR -- whether that’s getting together to brainstorm or whiteboard an idea, work on a document, hear updates from your team, hang out and socialize, or simply have better conversations that flow more naturally,” said Facebook’s Oculus.
Oculus’ Workrooms brings together features such as mixed-reality desk, keyboard tracking, hand tracking, remote desktop steaming, video conferencing integration, spatial audio, and new Oculus Avatars.
Facebook says that it is one of the best ways to work together if you can’t be physically at the same place.
WHAT HORIZON WORKROOMS OFFERS
Firstly, it allows users to join a meeting in VR as an avatar or dial into the virtual room from one’s computer by video call. Users can also use a virtual whiteboard to sketch out ideas together. VR and keyboard can also be brought into the VR.
There’s no need to leave your regular tools behind since Workrooms is a mixed reality experience that will allow you to bring your physical desk as well as the compatible tracked keyboard into the room. You can use them from the virtual table in front of you.
The spatial audio technology allows one to hear sounds in a more lifelike manner, depending on the direction they are seated. Moreover, Workrooms also offer a variety of customisation options for the avatars that will allow one to be more expressive and natural.
A virtual whiteboard on offer means that you can sketch things out together in real time. You can pin images from your computer, write on the whiteboard either on the physical desk or standing, and keep the whiteboard around for as long as you like.
One can configure the layout of the virtual room, dial in to a room through video call since not everyone will have a VR set in hand, use hands instead of controllers, and sync Google or Outlook calendars.
HOW TO USE HORIZON WORKROOMS
One can sign up and create a Workrooms team or accept an invite to join someone’s Workrooms team. One needs to create an account, download and install Horizon Workrooms from the Oculus Store on the Quest 2. The instructions will show one how to pair the headset to the account.
“Workrooms will not use your work conversations and materials to inform ads on Facebook. The audio contents of your meeting are processed on Facebook servers but not stored, unless someone records and sends us a clip as part of a report. In this case, we'll use the information to take appropriate action and then delete the recordings. Finally, Passthrough processes images and videos of your physical environment from the device sensors locally. Facebook and third-party apps do not access, view, or use these images or videos to target ads. Other people are not able to see your computer screen in Workrooms unless you choose to share it, and the permissions you grant for the Oculus Remote Desktop app are only used for the purposes of allowing streaming from your computer to your headset,” stated Oculus.
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