Technology is moving at a rapid rate. One area that’s certainly been buzzing of late is the world of virtual reality. Meta, formerly Facebook, unveiled its upcoming Meta Quest Pro headset the other day, showcasing the future of how mixed reality could have a substantial impact in our lives.
While the online showcase event did indeed tap into its next-generation of VR gameplay, I was intrigued by its pivot of being more of a productivity tool in the work space. For years now, we’ve been teased by the potential of virtual and augmented realities, but now we’re seeing a bigger push into this area with the Meta Quest Pro.
Sure, its $1,500 cost may seem exorbitant in comparison to its existing $400 priced Meta Quest 2 headset, but you really need to look beyond at the possibilities of it replacing the devices we use daily.
Say Goodbye to Owning Physical Gadgets
Virtual reality’s immersive experience has done wonders to transform the way we play video games, and that same concept applies to the way we work and handle daily routines. Take for example using your computer for work. You probably have a computer of some kind on your desk, with a mouse and keyboard attached to it. Add to that any monitors you might need, work spaces can often become cluttered very quickly by wires and gadgets.
Meta teased us with the idea of this virtual workstation where the Meta Quest Pro could be worn by a user, and then be transported into a proper workstation complete with the devices they would need. This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been most intrigued about virtual reality since I first tried the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive back in 2016.
Just think: we could feasibly one day arrive at our uncluttered desk, put on the Meta Quest Pro, and then get started with work complete with a triple monitor setup. Microsoft 365 was teased in the demo during the event, which again paints this reality where computers and monitors would no longer be necessary in the physical space — replaced by digital versions powered by cloud computing.
Speaking of working, collaboration in a virtual space isn’t a new concept at all. We’ve all lived through the work-from-home revolution during the pandemic. Although, it still wasn’t without its limitations. Sure, we were able to communicate and see other colleagues through Zoom and Microsoft Teams conference calls, but that was it.
Meta has long touted the collaboration capabilities of its Horizon Meetings virtual space, so it was no surprise that collaborating in the metaverse would be getting a serious facelift with the Meta Quest Pro. Not only will there be higher resolution avatars (with legs) that perfectly replicate your physical form in the virtual space, but attention to detail such as facial expressions and accurate renderings will only help to make the experience more credible.
Throw yourself into a proper meeting room where you can all see and interact with a whiteboard, it can actually be the work-from-home experience I envisioned when I first tried the remote desktop experience with the Meta Quest 2 a couple of years ago.
We should note that these kinds of virtual meeting spaces have provoked a wide range of reactions, from genuine excitement to outright derision. It’s safe to say not everyone is sold on the Metaverse just yet, even if it has huge implications for the future of remote work.
The Unintended Effects
Looking around my desk, it’s a jungle of gadgets using up space and power. I’ve complained about how the wall outlet isn’t suitable to handle our power demands, but while installing outlets with USB ports is one solution, or perhaps getting a surge protector power strip of some kind, our lust for the coolest gadgets is outpacing how we power and maintain them.
I’m often forced to decide what to plug in. Should I keep that smart display powered on, or instead choose a wireless charging pad used to recharge my phone and wireless earbuds? I still struggle with this, but the Meta Quest Pro could very well solve many of the decisions we have around our work setup.
As I’ve pointed out earlier, the idea of it replacing monitors and computers fascinates me because it also means that I would have more available outlets for other things. Going with a triple monitor setup requires three plugs and outlets, which is something that could be problematic when you have other gadgets to consider. And since the Quest Pro would virtualize the experience of using these gadgets, it also could help lessen e-waste and power consumption.
I’m not saying that the Meta Quest Pro will replace things like our smartphones just yet, but a descendant of it could one day make that reality. Imagine this: maybe one day we could wear a pair of Ray-Ban Stories and have all the functionality of the Meta Quest Pro in it. That’s one reality I hope to see sooner than later.