Monday, May 23, 2022

Facebook Announces Virtual Office App ‘Horizon Workrooms’ [VIDEO]

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

*Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has debuted a new online method of communicating with coworkers. 

The company announced on Thursday that it’s launching a virtual office platform that could be useful for people working from home amid the pandemic. Per Complex, the new software is available as a free app for Oculus Quest 2 VR headset owners and will be called Horizon Workrooms. The system allows you to interact with coworkers as an avatar of yourself.

Here’s more from Esquire:

In a segment on Thursday morning, Gayle King conducted an interview with Zuckerberg through the system, illustrating how people in two different places can seemingly be next to one another, if you’re chill enough to ignore the fact that the person next to you is essentially a Nintendo Wii character. “Oh my God, you’ve got freckles on your nose,” King tells Zuckerberg. Clearly not one with much practice in the area of small talk, Zuckerberg plainly states, “I have freckles in real life, too.” 

Watch the moment via the clip below.

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“The pandemic in the last 18 months has only given us greater confidence in the importance of this as a technology,” said Facebook Reality Labs VP Andrew Bosworth, who added that the FB team has been using Horizon internally for a year already.

“It basically gives you the opportunity to, you know, sit around a table with people and work, and brainstorm and whiteboard ideas,” Zuckerberg said, per CBS News. “For people who can’t be there through virtual reality, they could just video conference in. So you can include everyone. But it’s this pretty amazing experience where, you know, you feel like you’re really right there with your colleagues.” 

Esquire writes:

The way that Horizon Workrooms operates is through mixed reality. That means that there are physical things in your space that are incorporated into the app—keyboard, desk, computer screen, so long as you pair your computer to the app. But the virtual component allows for your immediate space to be melded in with others in the “workspace.” And for those who do not own an Oculus, they can join in via video call, which will appear at the front of the room. The idea is that it allows for the feel of in person collaboration, with sounds and movement from colleagues in the room designed to feel the appropriate distance away.

“I don’t think that this suggests in any way that we’re going to try to become an enterprise company,” Zuckerberg tells Wired, “but I do think that work is going to be one of the key use cases that people try to do in the metaverse. There’s hanging out, there’s entertainment, and work is going to be a third major pillar of how this all works.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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