Meta Quest (2): VR office probably coming with next update
Working in VR: this is a big priority for Meta. The next update will probably bring the Infinite Office, which was announced a long time ago.
Infinite office is the name of the feature that Meta introduced for the Quest platform in September 2020. In a video, the company showed the futuristic vision of a portable office that projects virtual screens into the room (see below).
Meta's goal is to establish VR headsets as a useful work tool. By expanding the application scenarios to work and productivity, the company wants to open up new target groups and markets.
VR headsets like Meta Quest 2 are currently seen primarily as gaming systems. A circumstance Meta wants to change in the coming years. With fitness, productivity and other applications that bring concrete benefits instead of just entertainment.
In the words of Meta's VR and AR chief Andrew Bosworth, "There’s this old story in the PC era called 'The Reason To Buy And The Excuse To Buy' and the reason to buy a PC was to play games, the excuse to buy was to do spreadsheets. And until you could do both games and spreadsheets you couldn’t buy it because you need both the reason and the excuse. We’ve got plenty of reasons to buy Quest 2 I think for some people they’ll need the excuse. They’ll need to have a justification they use that introduces that technology to them. And that is really critical to breaking fully mainstream to your point where you’re getting out to nine and 10 figures of people in the headsets."
Meta Quest (2): it already offers these productivity features
Office features rolled out in tidbits since the Infinite Office announcement, and many were or are still hidden in experimental settings. These include:
- Support for Bluetooth keyboards and mice
- Keyboard tracking (currently only for Logitech K830 & Apple Magic Keyboard)
- Desktop tracking
- Passthrough mode
- Multitasking with up to three windows
- Improvements for Oculus Browser (e.g. more flexible window management)
- Smartphone notifications in VR
- File manager
- Support for 2D apps (Monday, Smartsheet)
- Virtual work environment
Anyone who wants to set up a virtual office with Quest 2 has to hunt down the features and configure them one by one. That could change soon.
Infinite Office: Official launch soon?
AR developer Luboš Vonásek found hints of an upcoming Infinite Office release in the firmware of the next Quest update. The files contain a configuration menu that takes users by the hand and lets them set up the virtual office step by step: from drawing the desk to pairing Bluetooth work devices to activating a virtual work environment.
In the meantime, some users have reported finding the tutorial in the regular Quest menus. The following video shows the setup.
If Infinite Office is indeed released with the next update, it should combine the different Office functions to some extent and make them more accessible. It would be handy to be able to switch to a productive mode at the push of a button.
The virtual office will be even more important for Meta's next VR goggles than for Quest 2. Cambria focuses on productivity, which is achieved by a high-quality passthrough mode and higher wearing comfort, among other things.
Meta promoted the productive scenario when announcing the device (see the following video), and leaked tutorial videos also indicate that Meta wants to position Cambria as a work device.