Meta is making a big push to sell its new Quest Pro to office workers. At Meta Connect, Mark Zuckerberg showed off upcoming integrations with Zoom and Microsoft teams, along with a slew of other features meant to make the headset more appealing to businesses.
The updates are the clearest sign yet that Meta is keen to position the $1500 Quest Pro as a business and productivity tool, and that it sees offices as a key part of its vision for the metaverse. And Horizon Workrooms, the VR meeting software launched in beta last year, is central to that pitch.
Among the updates: new integrations with Zoom and Microsoft Teams so people can call into meetings happening in VR. With the change, people will be able to join colleagues meeting in VR Horizon Workrooms from their non-VR devices. In a blog post, Meta said the Zoom integration, expected “early in 2023” will give “more options on how you choose to show up.”
Likewise, the integration with Microsoft’s Teams will enable participants to join more “immersive” meetings in Teams from Horizon Workrooms. The company hasn’t said when the tie-in with Teams could be available, but the feature is part of a broader partnership with Microsoft to bring its productivity apps to Quest.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined Zuckerberg to announce that the company was also working Windows 365 for the Quest Pro and Quest 2, and that content from Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook would be viewable from the headsets. Meta’s newly improved avatars will also be available in Teams.
Meta also showed off improvements to existing Workrooms features, like the ability to add sticky notes to VR whiteboards, and the ability to collaboratively view 3D models. The company is also riffing on a popular Zoom feature with the ability to form smaller breakout groups within larger meetings. And for solo office tasks, workers will be able to work from up to three virtual screens in Workrooms and add up to four customizable “personal environments.”
Zuckerberg also teased a new feature called “magic rooms” that will allow teams to work together in mixed reality, rather than solely in VR workspaces. He said the feature will be suited to hybrid teams, where there are people working remotely with groups of people who are in the same physical space. "Everyone is present and has the same tools, whether they're in full VR or in mixed reality," he explained. Ina. blog post, Meta said magic rooms are currently being tested internally, and could launch more widely sometime in 2023.
Also coming in 2023 will be a new “Quest for Business” subscription bundle that comes with device management controls and security features so businesses’ can manage Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets the way they would with company-issued laptops or mobile phones. The bundle will also include access to “premium support” features.