Oculus (Meta) made an enterprise strategy reversal last month. Why? Below we’ll break down the implications and share exclusive news about the future “Quest for Business,” based on our conversations with the Meta team.
First the bad news: There are only a few weeks left to order the $800 Oculus for Business headsets, and the new Quest for Business won’t be launched for another year. Oculus for Business will still be supported in 2022, but – you read that right – no new Oculus for Business headsets will be sold next year, just consumer headsets, leaving enterprise clients with a one-year gap and a choice among three paths:
Most of our clients are ordering enough Oculus for Business headsets now to last them through next year.
Many others are switching to the $299 consumer Quest. The hardware is identical to Oculus for Business and App Lab offers a relatively secure way to distribute proprietary content to the headsets. The big drawback is that each headset has to be registered with a personal Facebook account.
Only one of our clients is switching to a competitor headset. So far, anyway – more might follow. Pico Neo 3 and HTC Vive Focus 3 are on par with the Quest, and the OpenXR standard means our Quest VR programs run almost out of-of-the-box on these headsets. We’ve even run multi-user meetings where participants with all different headsets interact with each other and they’ve gone well.
The new Quest for Business service that will launch in early 2023 will be very different from the old Oculus for Business. Instead of dedicated business headsets, there will only be $299 consumer Quests doubling as business headsets. (You can toggle between a personal account and a work account on the same headset.) The personal account identity can be used for games and fun; the work identity will be used for company business.
Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to keep the personal Quest account separate from other Facebook services. Meta refers to this reversal of strategy as a "bottom-up" approach, where all employees have their own headsets, rather than the Oculus for Business "top-down" approach, which shared business VR headsets. With Quest for Business, you can’t lock the headset down to just a work account – you need a personal account and a work account on the same headsets. This suggests that headsets can’t be shared – a big drawback for enterprise customers. Meta won’t confirm if the same headset can be used for different work accounts.
Quest for Business will build on three pillars:
Work account identity management
Mobile Device Management (MDM) by both Meta and 3rd-party providers, initially: VMware, Microsoft Intune and Ivanti/MobileIron
Single sign-on integration
This is certainly welcome news for enterprise customers seeking to make integration with legacy infrastructure (like learning management and mobile device management systems) easier.
When it all becomes available in early 2023, any existing consumer headset will be able to use the Quest for Business service. Any Oculus for Business headset can be factory reset to consumer mode and used for Quest for Business service, as well. (That is, any existing headset will be compatible.)
Meta will launch a new “Quest Pro” headset (code-named Project Cambria) in 2022. It’s expected to offer full-color pass-through cameras and limited AR functionality, along with additional cameras for facial, eye and body tracking. Avatars with matching facial expressions that can make eye contact might be a breakthrough for soft-skills training. The price of this headset hasn’t been announced.
Our sources at Meta tell us there will be no changes to Facebook logins during 2022; all the big updates will happen at once in early 2023.
Feel free to contact us to discuss your VR tech and content management strategy.