The announcement of the upcoming launch of Oculus Quest and Rift S headsets dominated the proceedings during Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference 2019. But tucked in away from the buzz of the big announcements was an equally important announcement with big ramifications for enterprise VR deployments: Facebook’s plan to continue with its Oculus for Business initiative.
The company announced that it will be launching its new Oculus for Business enterprise solution developed to help in streamlining and expanding virtual reality within the workplace or business landscape. Facebook noted that Oculus for Business will be launching this fall and that it will be incorporating its new standalone Oculus Quest headset to the hardware lineup for the Oculus for Business initiative. Facebook will also be rolling out a new set of tools that will help businesses in leveraging virtual reality.
Enterprise deployments are a very critical area of virtual reality applications even as Facebook has embarked on the long game of consumer-focused head-mounted devices. Some of the sectors that have more readily embraced virtual reality include the healthcare industry, the automotive sector, the travel industry and the architectural sector. Use-cases have mostly entailed training, design, sales and marketing.
Facebook’s new Oculus for Business push is geared at expanding the initiative by adding its new Quest headset into the enterprise hardware lineup where it will now join the previous hardware additions to the lineup such as the Oculus Go. The Oculus Rift headset will be dropped from the lineup as the HMD is being discontinued. For now, the Oculus for Business programme will only be using the Oculus Go and Quest headsets. The newly launched Oculus Rift S was not mentioned as a possible addition to the enterprise initiative.
The hardware will undoubtedly be an important part of the Oculus for Business initiative but there is also a software component which includes new sets of tools that companies can utilize when carrying out large scale deployments such as enterprise-focused user experiences, mobile device management for scale or dedicated services and support in the workplace. Oculus will also be partnering with some of the leading players in enterprise IT and services to create innovative ways of integrating virtual reality in tandem with the workflows and other business solutions that are already in existence in the workplace.
Due to the extras added to the Oculus for Business, the bundles will have different pricing. The packages can be bulk-ordered and will include a 64GB Oculus Go version which will retail at $599. There is also the 128GB enterprise Oculus Quest version which will retail for $999.
When shopping for the Oculus for Business bundles, you will get an enterprise warranty that comes with full software access along with software support for one year. After the first year has elapsed, the software access will roll into a premium service which will go for an annual fee $180 per headset.
The Oculus for Business package was launched in 2017 during the Oculus Connect 4 (OC4) and the Oculus Go version of the programme was launched in 2018. Since then, enterprise virtual reality deployments have proceeded at an exponential pace with businesses using VR in various ways including in onboarding employees, visualizing data or for remote assistance and collaboration. Some enterprises have adopted virtual reality at such a fast pace that the technology has ceased to be a novelty and become a necessity in their business ecosystems. One such prolific virtual reality adopter has been Walmart which deployed more than 17,000 virtual reality headsets across its stores countrywide after it derived a 10% to 15% improvement in performance following its use of VR in staff training.
However, for those that are contemplating implementing VR for the first time, the prospect can be quite daunting, especially if they will be flying solo without a long going support from the technology vendor.
Check out the Oculus for Business website to learn more about the enterprise product along with any fresh updates.