Facebook’s ‘Infinite Office’ Creates a Truly VR Working Environment
When we talk of the future of work based around virtual reality, we probably imagine something close to Facebook’s Infinite Office that was launched during the Facebook Connect a fortnight ago. The ‘Infinite Office’ is a mixed reality platform that is built to create a virtual working environment, complete with a real physical keyboard that seamlessly integrates with the virtual environment. The platform was built to cater to workers who are increasingly choosing to work remotely from home, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For greater focus as well as flexibility, the mixed reality platform enables users to toggle between a fully immersive VR experience and mixed reality mode with ‘Passthrough’ to give them a deeper awareness of their surroundings such as their rooms.
The ‘Infinite Office’ includes features like a large working space that comes with multiple customizable screens so there is no need for extra physical monitors. These customizable screens have been built atop an Oculus Browser. The Infinite Office will also allow users to see live feeds coming from the onboard cameras thereby enabling them to integrate their own home with the virtual reality world they are working in.
The ‘Oculus Browser’ will offer users a ‘desktop-class’ web experience, that is, the browser experience in the virtual world will be no different from that from the real world.
The Infinite Office has been designed to be very portable and users will be able to easily pick up from where they left off.
Facebook also announced that it had partnered with Logitech to bring the physical keyboard into the virtual reality environment. Seamlessly rendering a real keyboard in VR has always been daunting challenge. The Logitech integration will enable the Logitech K830 to be recognized, tracked and rendered in virtual reality headsets so that users will be able to actually type while working inside an Oculus Quest headset.
Facebook plans to roll out additional productivity features on Infinite Office in the coming months. Early releases of the VR productivity platform will emphasize personal productivity instead of group collaboration.
Integrations are going to be crucial for a seamless VR working experience on Infinite Office especially as users will be detaching themselves from their main physical machines to work in the VR environment. They wouldn’t want to take off their headsets every now and then to do something in their physical machines before strapping back the headset to work in VR.
Facebook announced that early Infinite Office experiments had already began with various third parties such as the VR/AR collaboration platform, Spatial. The early experiments show the ‘passthrough’ technology could dramatically enhance a virtual co-located meeting.