Have you ever wanted to live your life in virtual reality? Well, you’re in luck! Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is working to expand the way people view Facebook. In a recent Facebook post, he announced the new way the social media giant plans to change the way people collaborate during remote work meetings.
Facebook’s Investment in Virtual Reality (VR)
Fortune Business Insights predicts that the global market for VR gaming will reach $45.2 billion by 2027. This has gone up from $5.1 billion in 2019. Facebook saw this as a huge opportunity to invest in virtual reality.
The company developed its Oculus VR headset in 2014, which was the start of its entry into the metaverse. The VR headset was accompanied by relevant VR games and exclusive content on the Oculus platform. This gave Facebook a head start compared to other companies with VR headsets that needed additional products. Facebook wants to dominate the virtual reality industry by owning every valuable part of it.
Facebook’s CFO David Wehner has said the company would invest billions in the metaverse in hopes of expanding it. Zuckerberg wants to change the way users interact with each other. He expects to have Facebook be seen more as a metaverse company than a social media company.
Virtual reality headsets have been around since the early 2010s. While the headsets are big in size right now, Zuckerberg believes they will transition to something smaller, such as glasses. As VR headsets become smaller, more and more people will be willing to wear them longer.
Facebook has created its “Workrooms” app using a virtual reality experience called Horizon with this vision in mind. Zuckerberg mentions how the community, creators, commerce, the next computing platform, and more will help bring the app to life.
What is Facebook’s Workrooms App?
Facebook’s Workrooms app will allow users to join meetings with coworkers in a digital world through VR headsets made by Oculus Quest 2. Even though the metaverse started in the gaming realm, it is now transitioning to become more mainstream.
When entering Facebook’s virtual workroom, coworkers will join at a virtual meeting table. Each person who enters is shown as an avatar of themselves. During the meetings, there are whiteboards available to help with brainstorming ideas. These whiteboards will make the virtual experience more immersive for everyone involved. Screen-sharing, chat, and virtual desks with computers will also be included.
How is Workroom Similar to other Virtual Reality Apps?
Compared to other apps, Workrooms will show more than just half of someone’s body. The avatars will sync up with a person’s hand gestures, which will make the experience more realistic. Zuckerberg mentioned in his Facebook post on August 19th that seeing hand gestures and body movements from others will help pick up social cues.
On the virtual desktop, a person can use their computer for presentations. Additionally, spatial audio will create an experience that feels more engaging. Other options will be provided if a person doesn’t have a VR headset. A screen in the workroom will show the video version of those who only have a webcam and microphone.
Benefits Of Using Virtual Reality During Meetings
With other apps, it is easy to get distracted by what other people are doing or wearing. This metaverse takes away outside distractions and has members more focused and engaged on the content shared throughout the meeting.
Using the headsets will make the experience more immersive instead of staring at someone’s screen the entire meeting. It will be similar to actually being at the office. This new work environment will help separate work life from home life.
Rather than being stuck behind a desk, a person is transported to an interactive meeting space with their coworkers. Facebook’s metaverse would enable coworkers to read each other’s body language, which contrasts to the experience provided by Zoom, where only half of someone’s body can be seen.
In the future, it is predicted that virtual reality will lower the cost to serve a business. This can be done by using VR to train employees and assist customers with any issues they may have. Recruiting new employees will also be changed by virtual reality. After hiring someone, companies can virtually give tours of the workplace, saving time and money.
Facebook’s Bumpy Road Towards Innovation
Facebook’s metaverse comes at a convenient time. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards remote work. Yet, Facebook has been working on its Workroom app for quite some time now.
However, the project has and is facing strong setbacks. The FTC has recently filed a lawsuit against Facebook’s Workroom app. The lawsuit revolves around Facebook’s power.
More and more concerns are arising around how the tech giant is abusing its market power against competitors. Critics have even been affirming that Facebook is a monopoly – all of which heightened when Facebook acquired Instagram.
Facebook is now competing with Roblox Corp to shape the virtual world. Zuckerberg plans on having “interoperability,” meaning an avatar in Roblox can also appear in the new workrooms.
Facebook’s investment can lead to more expansion in the metaverse. However, there is a market fear that with all the money invested into Facebook’s metaverse, the social media giant will end up buying Roblox. By doing so, they’ll be eliminating the competition.
How Will Facebook Manage Privacy and Consumer Data in its Workroom App?
Facebook is not new to lawsuits. The social media giant has been involved in many controversial cases regarding antitrust laws, privacy laws, consumer data, and more.
Most lawsuits revolve around the way Facebook has been protecting users’ privacy. In 2018, Facebook was sued for losing control of user data. The Cambridge Analytica app on Facebook was found to have third-party apps that were collecting and sharing users’ personal information. A lawsuit was then filed against Facebook over its failure to comply with the Data Protection Act of 1998.
With the new metaverse, Facebook promises to protect users from having their data accessed for ad targeting purposes. In addition to outside sources respecting Facebook’s latest guidelines, users will have to follow virtual reality community standards or will be reported to Oculus.
The metaverse is an exciting opportunity for the future of remote work. As virtual reality continues to expand, the possibilities of interactive communications are endless.