Credit: Unsplash

Horizon Workrooms is powered by Oculus Quest 2 headsets.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, tech companies have been leading the movement to transition fully to remote working in the interest of both pandemic safety and long-term employee satisfaction. However, it has been noted that some employees working remotely can have difficulty staying engaged during remote meetings. It’s to this end that Facebook has developed Horizon Workrooms, a special virtual reality app that allows users to participate in a virtual meeting with other employees around a meeting table, while still working remotely.

The app, which just launched today in a beta state, utilizes Oculus Rift 2 virtual reality headsets to set users up with avatars in a virtual meeting space, where they can communicate with not only their voices, but eye contact and body language. According to the developers, the creation of Horizon Workrooms is a major step in the creation of the “metaverse,” a futuristic concept touted by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wherein users interact with one another on a regular basis through the use of VR avatars.

Facebook’s vice president of its Reality Labs group, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, said that the app provides “a good sense” of what Facebook is aiming for in regards to the core elements of the metaverse.

“This is kind of one of those foundational steps in that direction,” Bosworth told reporters during a VR news conference.

Horizon Workrooms is the latest virtual reality-related development Facebook has undertaken, following their pursuits into developing Oculus Rift headsets and designing augmented reality glasses. The professional applications of this technology run parallel to the entertainment applications, including virtual reality games, which Facebook has also invested heavily into.