The 2022 new year has been punctuated with announcements of new VR headset technology for business and professional use.
Meta’s Quest 2 headset primarily targeted the Consumer market, pricing the entry-level model of a Quest 2 headset under $400. Business professionals found this price point within their budget, to take the plunge and explore the potential of VR applications for business.
Infinite Office, meta's name for its virtual reality operating system, will continue to be developed to expand support for keyboard and trackpad when working in VR spaces and applications.
Voice-to-text applications, like Google Doc’s Voice Type and Dragon’s Professional, may someday provide needed features and functionality that provide the productivity professionals need, to consider entirely ditching the use of a virtual keyboard and trackpad.
As Meta’s Infinite Office VR operating system features an integrated Google Chromium-based web browser, I’m looking forward to testing the Google Doc Voice Typing feature to create text documents while working in VR space. Coupled with Infinite Office’s ability to understand voice commands, further development promises to bring users closer to retiring the everyday use of the keyboard, mouse and trackpad.
One significant development that has gained worldwide attention is the introduction of Pico’s Neo 3 Link, Pro and Pro Eye VR headsets. With pricing for the Neo 3 Link at about $525 USD, this price point positions the Link as a serious contender to the Meta Quest 2. The Pico Neo 3 Pro Eye headset is positioned to compete with Meta’s Project Cambria VR headset, targeted for release later in the year.
A viable alternative for business professionals currently using the Meta’s platform with Quest and the soon-to-launch Project Cambria headsets, Pico’s headset price point, technology, features, bundled applications, and platform independence cannot be ignored by those in the market for a Meta alternative VR platform.
Pico has partnered with leading VR technology, application and development partners including VR Immersive Education (EngageVR) and Mozilla Hubs (VR spaces & conferencing), VRExpert (sales & consulting), Tobii and Cognitive 3D (eye tracking and analytics) and more.
During his May 26th unboxing of the Pico Neo 3 Link, Sebastian Ang (MRTV) reported that two significant issues with the Pico Neo Pro were resolved during his testing. The Neo 3 Link now supports running at 90Hz and the scaling rendering issue has been resolved.
The Neo3 Link features a DisplayPort/USB3 interface, with a mini-DisplayPort adapter included for laptop users. The headset can run in wireless or wired PCVR mode, and includes a thin, 5-meter cable for PCVR use.
The cloth material facial interface, which is removeable/interchangeable for cleaning, is reported by Sebatian as being more comfortable as compared to the leather vinyl-like material used by the Pro headset. A plastic spacer is also included, for those wearing glasses, to prevent inadvertently scratching of the lenses.
As a professional using the Quest2 headset for business applications, I've been pleasantly surprised by the reliability and versatility of this Consumer grade VR headset.
I’ve been pleased by Meta’s frequent software updates that brought bug-fixes, user-requested new features and capabilities to my Quest2 headset. Considering the frequency of the software updates, it’s admirable that I never received a software update that caused more than minor issues that were typically fixed during the next update cycle.
Consumers and freelance professionals can expect better performance, features, and capabilities, as Meta continues to innovate and develop Infinite Office and the new Cambria mixed reality headset.
While Meta and VR application developer partners may be able to develop rudimentary VR spaces, headset technology, and business applications for freelancers, I believe most business professionals and independent contractors will have their needs met by platforms and technologies, like the Pico Neo 3 Pro Eye, that can interoperate freely among varying platforms, applications, and technologies.
VR applications like vSpatial and EngageVR, coupled with mid-range VR headsets, like the Pico Neo 3 Eye, will provide the capabilities, functionality, productivity, and community that will fulfill the needs of the vast majority of small business and professional users.
While the Pico Neo 3 Link hardware design is on par with Meta Quest 2 headset, it will take a while before the library of applications for the Pico can rival that offered for the Quest 2, through the Meta store. It will be interesting to see what side-loading options become available for the Pico, as a play to increase the application library.
For those entering the VR space, the Pico Neo 3 headset is a good option to the Meta Quest 2, especially for those who do want a headset that is not tied to a specific vendor platform (Meta/Facebook).