when they invited me to try META’s latest mixed reality viewer in the Horizon Workroom -a virtual office in its metaverse-, I did not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity.
I already wrote about the metaverse and its use in the workplace, but i was quite apprehensive, It seemed impossible for me to wear a vision-obscuring device to meet my colleagues in virtual reality, and even more difficult for those who have children or pets at home.
But Meta launched the Meta Quest Pro in October with an exorbitant price of 1,800 euros, and features like Vision of environmental and spatial audio.
The device gives users access to Horizon Worlds, a social universe in Meta’s Metaverse. Workroom is one of the tools in that universe that can be used to organize VR meetings.
,The virtual world has the potential to bring back that same feeling of togetherness. Remote working is something many of us feel we’re missing out on”, Steve Hatch, Meta’s Vice President for Northern Europe, attended an event business Insider Provided support to the META office in King’s Cross, London.
I didn’t believe that being in a virtual world with my teammates’ avatars would help me feel closer to them, but explained Yuxi Wang, director of meta product marketing at Oculus business Insider that device “surprisingly makes you feel like you’re in the same room,
Meta is not happy with Horizon Worlds and will put its Metaverse app in “quarantine” by the end of the year, according to its top executive
Wang said Meta wants workers to “enjoy more real space” while working from home, so they have more productivity options.
Not surprisingly, Meta’s own employees said they liked the company’s products, so I was eager to try the device firsthand.
Technology is great, no doubt about it
I turned on the sleek-looking, lightweight device and found myself transported to a Large office with windows overlooking the mountains and ocean, I was amazed how lifelike and realistic everything looked.
I was impressed by other’s avatars Variety of traits and clothing options, One was an avatar with a patka, another with a turban (2 types of typical Indian turban) and another with a bindi (red Hindu circle on the forehead). Some raised their eyebrows and others laughed. i soon realized it my avatar had the same facial expressions as me,
The meeting instructor changed the location of the office several times, first to a futuristic city with skyscrapers, and then to a beach, something impossible to do in the real world. The table layout was also adjustable, and people could be divided into breakout rooms, making it easier to collaborate.
There were several task-specific features, such as a monitor that appeared dim to others, which was useful when you were working with sensitive or confidential information. People could also join the video call and we could see them through the monitors.
option of withdrawal This allowed me to view the real world with a virtual monitor.
When connected, I could see my actual desktop in front of me and my phone on top of that. According to Wang, this allows people toMake coffee for yourself or for your kids or pets without removing the device.
Another cool feature is spatial audio and teleportation. By pointing my hand at a specific seat and clicking on it, I could move my avatar to that seat and The volume and direction of a person’s voice changes depending on posture in which I found myself.
I don’t see myself using it regularly at work
me and other journalists we were very impressed with the technologyIts typical for work and the remarkable fluidity of avatars’ movements, but I don’t see myself regularly using it at work.
Meta had emphasized the “togetherness” and sense of connection that comes with VR, but I felt the opposite. I didn’t feel authentic seeing people’s avatars instead of their real faces And it made me feel like I didn’t belong with them.
Adi Gaskell, a freelance journalist, agreed: “At the moment it looks like it’s just being used as a way of running a meeting, so I’m wondering if the facial expression avatar can be used for a person.” Better than watching in person or via zoom and the like.”.
I also started noticing pressure from the device on my head after 10 minutes and although it was adjustable, I was relieved to take it off after about 20 minutes,
Gaskell said VR “doesn’t address” some of the top concerns about remote work, such as proximity bias and professional networking.
“Your avatar is largely desk-bound, so you don’t get to have casual water-dropping moments at work, and it also doesn’t seem ready to work ‘full-time’ with your co-workers. It doesn’t change the fact. There’s a disconnect between onsite and remote workers because they keep coming together just for meetings,” Gaskell says.
Hatch says that one of Meta’s predictions for the future of work is that companies will start Invest in VR technology instead of upgrading a laptopBut with its hefty price tag and a global recession on the horizon, I doubt it.