Facebook is taking significant steps toward the next generation of digital connection, with a corporate name change signaling the company’s evolving focus on the expanding ‘Metaverse’ concept, which the company believes will aid people and Facebook (or ‘Meta’) in evolving their interactive processes in virtually every way.
Which could have a significant impact on how we work and play – and today, Facebook showcased several of those next-generation features at its annual ‘Connect AR/VR Conference,’ including new augmented reality tools, advanced virtual reality options, and other longer-term hardware projects that are expected to become central to the new Facebook model.
Here are some of the most significant announcements of Metaverse features we should look forward to.
Horizon Residence in Metavase
Facebook has introduced Horizon Home, which is the initial concept for a metaverse home base. When you put on your Quest headset, this is the first thing you see. Until now, it was simply named Home due to the absence of social interaction. Soon, you’ll be able to invite friends to join you in Horizon Home, where you’ll be able to socialize, watch videos, and jump into games and apps together.
Horizon Home is the newest component of Horizon, facebook’s social platform for creating and interacting in the metaverse. Horizon Worlds, which is presently in testing, and Horizon Workrooms, their flagship productivity solution, complement each other. And now Horizon Venues has joined the fray. Horizon Venues will allow users to ‘experience the excitement of live events from the comfort of their own homes,’ including NBA games and other sports within the space.
Facebook has announced the production of the Rockstar Games classic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Quest 2. This would definitely give its users a new viewpoint on Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas as you revisit or discover one of gaming’s most renowned open spaces. This is a multi-year endeavor.
Additionally, Facebook now Meta announced a number of new games and improvements, including a partnership with Vertigo Games on five titles and new events for the virtual reality battle royale
According to Facebook the Quest 2might just be the best piece of gym equipment possible. This would allow users to complement or even substitute VR exercise for their traditional gym regimen.
Quest 2 Active Pack which is scheduled to launch next year would come with a new set of accessories. The Active Pack would feature improved grips for the Touch controllers that will help you maintain control while sweating, and an exercise-optimized facial interface that will make cleaning up afterward easier, ensuring that you can continue to meet your Oculus Move goals for years to come.
VR for Business
Facebook is also creating new virtual-reality tools to facilitate remote work, capitalizing on the WFH trend.
Facebook has announced that it will soon begin testing its new ‘Quest for Business’ platform. This platform will enable users to log into their Quest VR headsets using a Work Account and will facilitate collaborative work environments by simulating the physical presence of colleagues while working remotely.
And that may be even more beneficial than physical desks and locations, with the ability to “transport your work from your display to Quest 2 and back again.”
Facebook also said that they’re taking great care building Quest for Business. This would ensure that it’s done correctly. They intend to begin with a limited beta this year, expand to a larger beta in 2022, and then fully launch to all businesses in 2023.
Additionally, Facebook now Meta also said they are making it easier to move your work from your monitor to Quest 2 and back. They announced that Slack, Dropbox, Facebook, and Instagram, among others, will soon be available in VR as 2D panel apps in Horizon Home, accessible via the Quest Store. This new capability enables you to communicate with business colleagues, read your files, and update your social media feeds without removing your headset.
Facebook has recently announced Presence Platform, a collection of machine perception and artificial intelligence capabilities. Which includes Passthrough, Spatial Anchors, and Scene Understanding. This enables developers to create more realistic mixed reality, interaction, and voice experiences that seamlessly integrate virtual and physical content.
The video above gives us a peek at Facebook’s next-generation all-in-one virtual reality technology. Project Cambria, which will arrive next year. This is not a Quest 2 or Quest 3 replacement. Project Cambria will be a high-end device with a premium price tag. This device would be equipped with the newest sophisticated features. These features would include an enhanced social presence, color Passthrough, and pancake optics according to Facebook. The experiences created with Presence Platform will truly shine as technology advances.
Facebook also discussed its planned augmented reality (AR) development projects. This includes new training programs for ambitious digital creators and enhanced spatial awareness in augmented reality (AR). which will enable new types of display and engagement.
On the training front, Facebook introduced a new ‘Polar’ augmented reality (AR) creation software. This will enable users with no prior knowledge in art, design, or programming to create augmented reality experiences.
Investing in Education
Apart from entertainment and social interactions, the metaverse has the potential to fundamentally alter the way we learn. This is already happening with educational content and immersive training in fields like healthcare and the automobile industry.
It takes time, effort, and most importantly talented people to create great experiences. Today, Facebook announced a new $150 million USD effort to train the next generation of instructional content makers. Additionally, Facebook now Meta is collaborating with game engine developer Unity to help users build the skills necessary to create outstanding augmented and virtual reality content.
Additionally, Meta is collaborating with a number of institutions to help bring their visions for immersive and collaborative learning experiences to life.
Futuristic World & People AR
Facebook is also developing advanced Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities. This would include body tracking to enable more immersive AR features and geo-anchored ‘World AR’ experiences.
Facebook World Augmented Reality (AR), Snap already offers variants of both, with Facebook lagging behind in terms of these technologies. Each will be a critical component of the company’s growing Augmented Reality (AR) glasses experience. With digital overlays displayed through the frames, enabling a variety of new utility and entertainment possibilities.
Additionally, Facebook is collaborating with BMW to develop Augmented Reality (AR) technologies. This tech will someday assist drivers in navigating their surroundings.
The competition for Augmented Reality (AR) supremacy will intensify in the coming months, and Facebook will be a crucial player. It will be intriguing to watch where Facebook can take their Augmented Reality (AR) glasses as they go beyond the initial Ray Ban Stories format.