It’s no secret that Facebook sees virtual reality (VR) hardware as the next tech frontier after smartphones and PCs. The company is investing heavily in its Oculus line of VR headsets and related technologies. Its second-gen Oculus Quest headset, which arrived in the mid of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, proved quite successful as homebound people sought more entertainment options. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now said VR also has a growing potential in areas like fitness and remote meetings.
Speaking at French tech conference VivaTech with Publicis Groupe Chairman Maurice Levy earlier this week, Zuckerberg said the future could bring Peloton-like fitness subscriptions to VR. “Think about it like Peloton, where you have a subscription, but instead the device is VR and you put on your headset, and you’re in this amazing environment and you’re doing a boxing class with an instructor, or a dance class,” he said. Peloton, if you don’t already know, is a New York City-based home fitness company.
Zuckerberg noted that gaming is still the major use case for VR today. However, he suggested it will not take too long for the landscape to change. Soon VR could be the next major computing platform after smartphones and PCs. VR will not actually replace smartphones and PCs but will exist alongside and will have the same scale of importance.
Virtual reality also has the potential to drastically change remote work
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work. Virtual meetings over videoconferencing platforms have replaced in-person office meetings. However, according to the Facebook CEO, these virtual meetings could look a lot different with VR. In the world of VR, there will be virtual offices where staff meetings can take place. He suggested VR already has the potential to make that happen “quite well” in the near term. All it needs is new software.
“Compared to video conferences, I actually think that even with the state of virtual reality today, there are a lot of reasons it actually feels better to have meetings in virtual reality,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg’s comments on how VR could influence our lives in the future comes just days after news emerged that Facebook is planning to introduce ads inside its Oculus VR headsets. This move will bring together the company’s two different revenue lines – digital advertising and VR hardware. Facebook, in fact, is looking to expand its hardware portfolio soon with the launch of a new smartwatch. It now remains to be seen how things pan out.