Horizon Workrooms is Facebook's new platform dedicated to working from home and is something completely different from Zoom, Meet and other video conferencing services: here's how it works
Smartworking enters a new dimension, the virtual one, with the new service launched by Facebook: Horizon Workrooms, the new platform for working from home, collaboratively, in which you go far beyond meetings on Zoom or Meet and wear the Facebook Oculus Quest 2 visor to enter a virtual meeting in 3D.
Describing Horizon Workrooms isn't easy, as it mixes augmented reality, virtual reality, hand and keyboard tracking, video streaming and more into one service. It sounds like science fiction, it sounds "too far ahead," but Facebook says it works and that this platform is already being used by its employees with great results: "We've already used Workrooms to collaborate here at Facebook, and we think it's the best way to work if you can't physically be together." According to Mark Zuckerberg and co., then, Workrooms is the perfect tool in times of pandemic and smart working, but also in calmer times if you need to work together from remote locations.
How Horizon Workrooms works
Workrooms is a mixed reality experience, which allows you to bring your physical desk and keyboard with you into the virtual meeting: you'll see them, along with those of your colleagues, in the virtual room next to you and interact with them thanks to a special app for Mac and Windows: you'll be able to take notes, share files and screen and much more as if you were really in the same room, in front of your laptop.
Unlike normal online meetings, however, we'll have the perception of space thanks to the Oculus Quest 2 visor and spatial audio, so we'll be able to lower our heads to type on the keyboard and clearly hear our colleague or client at the end of the virtual room giving his presentation without the risk of confusing him with someone else.
We'll also be able to take images and videos from our computer to the virtual whiteboard shared with everyone, work on them all together, and then save as many whiteboards as we want and export them at the end of the meeting, to come back and work on them solo later.
Thanks to hand position detection, then, you'll be able to use gestures to indicate something on the board or, simply, to express your personality to others just as you would in a face-to-face meeting.
All this requires the Facebook viewer, but those who are not equipped with it will not be excluded: they will be able to participate in the meeting in audio or video, but obviously with the possibility to collaborate limited by the means.
Facebook Horizon Workrooms: how much does it cost
Horizon Workrooms is a service already active and usable by anyone (but it is still in beta), after registering to the platform. To use it 100%, as we have already seen, you need to buy an Oculus Quest 2 visor, at the starting price of 349 euros (including 2 touch controls to detect hand gestures).
The registration to the platform is currently free, but it is not to be excluded that in the future will be introduced a paid version, with more advanced features.