Facebook knows VR headsets aren’t really great productivity machines yet, however higher-resolution displays, greater hand-tracking, and integration with hardware you already own, like a physical keyboard, may make that a reality. And with that in mind, Facebook outlined some of their intentions to make the Quest platform more of a business accessory than a party-time necessity.

Okay, so forget about the punchy, upbeat music and the impeccably dressed models for a minute in the promo video (linked below).

Today Facebook introduced something they call Infinite Office, the company’s new collection of software gubbins which it hopes will create a true virtual office space. It might also make playing and communicating in VR much less of a hassle than it currently is too.

Some of the things we see in the video are old hat for Quest users: multiple customizable screens, hand-tracking for content manipulation, and Passthrough mode so you can keep an eye on the real world—but then we see the real utility of all these things pushed just a bit further.

Infinite Office is slated to let you mix passthrough and a digital environment. At least for now, it’s designed to let you can keep an eye on your keyboard, namely a Logitech keyboard, meaning you won’t have to be a perfect touch typist to get work done whilst in VR.

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If you use Facebook Messenger, then you’ll also be able to shoot friends and family messages while in VR too. Even if you don’t, you’ll need a Facebook account anyway if you want to use Oculus Quest 2, so maybe the company hopes you’ll start using it soon.

Facebook says Infinite Office will get an experimental release for Quest 2 this winter. The company further says it will finally share Passthrough with developers so they may be able to enable that sort of level of mixed reality in their apps.

As it is now, Passthrough integration (to whatever extent) has already been handed off to third parties including the productivity app Spatial, which just recently landed on the Oculus Store for Quest.

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    What annoys me so much is that all of this and more is possible with other headsets, it just isn’t explored. The index has color camera 3D passthrough and clearly supports AR (you can render things over passthrough), way better comfort (god help anyone required to work in a quest), you can mark objects in space even if they don’t have machine vision or have steamVR tracking on them, it has more room to run overlays and macros and it’s a PC so you can mess with things all the way down the chain for your needs. It even has hand tracking apparently since it works on the Vive hand tracking SDK, something I literally found out yesterday when Neos added it.

    Imagine an alternate world where Valve worked in VR and so made the necessary tools for their own purposes and then released them open source. We would have way way better tools than anything that Quest 2 can provide for work and productivity. Or even if HTC had any of their ducks in a row.

    • Rekriux

      VR is in a race right now for market share. FB has great products, lots of exclusive. Valve must work faster to prevent a slide of new VR users to FB. The price of Index+PC is way over what a kid can ask for a present !
      The way I see it, Valve should make a XR2 wireless headset with SteamOS and release it all opensource at a price comparable. They should also leverage the community more in it’s development to speed it to market.

      I don’t like the future of software as a service … It seems that GNU is more needed now than when proprietary mainframe OS limited you to run only their software exclusively.

      Every company wants it’s own paystore and exclude all others, that’s so sick for the users and now you don’t own a software/hardware, you pay for a licence to use it… that can be revoked if you breach the contract or acceptable use that they decided. No refund !

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        Valve is the best company to make a device like that but I think they would go further by releasing the OS and then helping multiple companies make standalones. What Valve needs to do is help companies make a range of PC and standalone headsets and then go in big on rallying and supporting developers for PCVR in both work and gaming use cases.

        • MeowMix

          Valve doesn’t have the resources to compete on standalone (computer vision tech? in which Valve is severely lagging behind). And the next gen of headsets will likely feature eye tracking (which that means varifocal displays for Oculus. Valve has nothing close to that). Besides, Valve is strictly PC enthusiast hardware/software. Valve is mainly for gaming, and they’re pushing VR to be a gaming platform

          The other hand the most serious competitor to FB XR is going to be Apple. Both companies are trying to push VR/AR to be the next computing platform. Even if SONY releases a standalone headset (which is rumored), the SONY headset will likely be PlayStation branded (meaning aimed at gamers).

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            Valve could make the OS and lots of companies can make the headsets. They can just use Tovi eye tracking, leap hand tracking, there are lots of firms for everything. Varifocal will cost too much for facebook to use.

    • Pablo C

      The only sense of this is portability, which cannot be done with PC VR. With this you take your office with you. That´s the selling point.

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        The point of a VR officer should be to do more than you can normally do. Otherwise just use a laptop or iPad. PCVR is seated, like you do when you work, and connects to your PC. You’re not doing this in the park.

    • Lhorkan

      The sad thing is that Valve just does not seem to be invested enough. They made the HMD and HL:A, but they’re not doing anything to expand their ecosystem. There are no grants for VR developers for instance, whereas Facebook has been hooking in devs since the start. Valve is making no real moves other than having a high end PC VR headset out there; they are not the ones to look to to take on FB.

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        They don’t need to make a low end headset. Remember, steamVR is an open platform. They just need to do more with it, round it out, press their advantages, and exploit the things facebook cannot or will not do.

    • Well, we released a fitness game in MR for the Focus+, plus many various experiments with the Focus (we published the plugin to use it yourself on GitHub). I also made experiments with the Cosmos XR, like an Infinite Office thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esPnFQgia8g&feature=youtu.be

      The problem is that Oculus has far better PR, so if you do things for HTC, Valve, HP or whatever, you get far less interest than if you publish a little experiment for the Quest

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    Also have we confirmed that it’s a special keyboard or not? Would be interesting if someone manages to throw together a SteamVR dongle to use on any keyboard.

  • JB1968

    Facebook should first solve the unhealthy and uncomfortable Quest(2) brick strapped on face before talking “Work and productivity in VR”

    • MeowMix

      They did. It just costs $50 extra

  • I hope we’ll be able to release HitMotion: Reloaded to the Quest as well, then