Facebook: It’s for more than just Friends

  • ali
  • October 5th, 2021

Facebook has long been the go-to social platform for users of all ages and demographics who want to stay connected and up to date on each other’s lives. From family reunions to local events, community groups and those key moments we don’t want to miss, Facebook keeps us in touch with those who might otherwise fall out of our lives.

As such, use of Facebook rose exponentially during the pandemic with Facebook Lives and messenger proving invaluable tools for loved ones to communicate and share little details from their days, weeks and months. But did you ever think Facebook could become a valuable tool for the business world too? What Facebook now developed could be a new way forward for Software Developers to collaborate all over the world.

A recent virtual launch has seen Facebook formally enter the business sphere – and it’s making waves as an innovative VR solution for virtual meetings and networking opportunities. Let’s take a closer look.

Facebook’s introduction to Horizon Workrooms

The idea is simple. Horizon Workrooms takes the kind of VR that has previously been reserved for immersive gaming experiences and transports it into the virtual meeting platforms that we have all been relying on for the past 18 months of lockdown.

Users create themselves a legless avatar who, whenever they wear the dedicated headset, is transported into the virtual workroom to join other participants at the meeting or conference. These avatars are designed to inject a physical 3D presence into the meeting for each participant, with the platform currently supporting up to 16 people through the virtual headsets and a further 34 people via the standard dial in process.

It’s fun and it’s a genuinely immersive way to experience virtual meetings – but when the novelty wears off, what are the actual benefits of Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms for businesses?

The Benefits of the Horizon Workrooms Technology for Businesses

As an organisation which is literally built on forging productive working relationships between companies and software developers, we know how important consistent connection is. We also know how crucial it is for companies to recognise credibility and reliability in the developers they connect and partner with – and that’s where technology like this VR solution comes into play.

By projecting your presence at a meeting through an avatar, the entire meeting instantly becomes more connected and immersive. When participants have an authentic figure representing them – even when that figure is an animated avatar – they become more conscious of the way they act and speak to those around them, creating more deliberate and targeted conversations.

Not only that, but in a world where the “new normal” means virtual meetings and remote working days taking over much of our work lives, this kind of technology presents a way for meetings and even small group conversations to become more experiential with a greater level of interaction. When it comes to meeting new people, so much of the first impression others get comes from the way we present ourselves – and with Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms, individuals and companies now have a chance to once again introduce the crucial physical first impression into any new interaction.

Within our business, we believe the benefits of Horizon Workrooms could include:

An authentic representation of each individual in a virtual space, giving weight to the presence of each person who attends a meeting or conference.

A more consistent flow to conversation when each speaker is represented by an avatar (you only have to look at how often Zoom and Teams calls are interrupted by random interjections to know how challenging conference calls can be to manage).

It offers a more collaborative approach to working partnerships, eradicating the feeling of loneliness that many are experiencing when working remotely.

By putting colleagues and work partners in the same space again (albeit virtually) there is a chance of stimulating the kind of brainstorming which is usually reserved for those working in close quarters together. This overall experience is further supported by the spatial audio setting making the entire experience even more authentic and realistic.

It can help encourage those who don’t speak on video calls to engage more in meetings and conversations.

It’s not just small animations in a virtual conference room – this technology allows users to recreate their entire office environment and workspace in the virtual world, which in turn allows them to invite new clients and developer partners to experience the full company headquarters treatment.

In essence, Horizon Workrooms is looking to take virtual meetings and video conferences to a new level by employing VR technology – giving each participant an avatar to represent them in the virtual meeting room.

The Takeaway

As businesses and workspaces continue to adapt to the fallout from the pandemic, with hybrid working and flexible working more popular than ever before, Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms offers a way of bringing people together through more than just a webcam and a small screen.

For those seeking working partnerships and collaborations, this technology offers a way of brainstorming and replicating the productivity of a physical meeting in a virtual reality space, retaining the safety and convenience of distance but without losing that crucial link that comes with meeting someone.

Whether this technology catches on among the masses remains to be seen, but if you get the chance to experiment with and try out the new Horizon Workrooms solution, we recommend giving it a go to see if it could work for you and your business.

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