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Remote workers rejoice - Facebook's new enterprise virtual reality platform is here

(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook has announced that Oculus for Business, its enterprise-focused virtual reality (VR) platform, is now out of closed beta and available for all businesses to purchase.

Launched last year, the platform is designed to support companies looking to deploy VR in the workplace. During the beta, select companies trialled Oculus for Business as a means of enhancing training programs, bolstering productivity and supporting distributed workforces.

The platform is built atop Workplace, Facebook’s enterprise collaboration platform, which delivers security via ID and account management facilities, with further enhancements to VR workflows reportedly under development.

Oculus for Business

Facebook, which acquired Oculus in 2014 for $2.3 billion, is a major player in both commercial and recreational VR markets, competing primarily with arch-rival HTC.

The silicon valley giant believes the adoption of enterprise VR is set to skyrocket in the coming years and claims to be “working hard to meet the swell in demand to help more companies harness the power of VR.“

In a blog post, the firm gestures towards figures from IDC that show a 92% increase in commercial headset shipments in 2019 and predict a further 70% growth this year. Worldwide spend on commercial VR, meanwhile, is expected to hit $7.1 billion, up from $4.5 billion in 2019.

With the coronavirus pandemic having forced many businesses to adopt remote working models, VR has also been touted as an avenue to enhancing employee interactions, mimicking physical proximity.

To address key barriers to entry, Oculus for Business utilizes the Oculus Quest headset, which trades raw power for a simpler cableless experience - a sensible compromise, given enterprise use cases are unlikely to be as compute intensive as recreational applications.

Businesses can still purchase the Oculus Rift S or Oculus Go headsets for commercial use, but these products are not compatible with the Oculus for Business solution.

Facebook has also developed a user interface especially for enterprise customers, which it claims simplifies menu navigation and makes VR “more approachable and less intimidating.”

To allay any security-related concerns, the firm is also working on support for VPN networks, scheduled updates and robust device information for administrators, although it is unclear precisely when these features will land.