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Meta Aims to Ignite Enterprise Productivity With Open Metaverse OS

Teamwork makes the dream work. And when the dream is an interoperable virtual reality (VR) world based on a proprietary operating system (OS), you are going to need a big team. 

This, as on Monday (April 22) Meta announced it would be opening the operating system, Horizon OS, which powers the company’s Meta Quest metaverse headsets, up to third-party hardware makers, including tech peers Asus, Lenovo and Microsoft

The goal is to move metaverse experiences beyond Meta’s general-use Quest devices to more purpose-specific devices. Notably, while Asus will be developing a performance gaming headset and Microsoft will be partnering with Meta on an Xbox-inspired experience, the Lenovo partnership is focused on enabling greater enterprise productivity within the metaverse. 

“You can imagine a computer that pairs with the headset to provide the best work experience, whether you’re at home or anywhere else you go,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement. 

By collaborating with these tech partners right out of the gate, Meta aims to ensure that Horizon OS becomes the standard-bearer for mixed reality applications, offering a robust platform for future enterprise users — many of whom likely already use a Lenovo product at work. 

Read more5.5G Reasons Why Meta, LG Are Teaming Up On XR Devices

A Metaverse OS for the Office 

The introduction of an open mixed reality ecosystem could mark a pivotal moment in the evolution of enterprise technology. 

As businesses around the world begin to explore the possibilities offered by Horizon OS and the broader mixed reality (MR) landscape, we are likely to see a significant transformation in how work is conducted. The ability to blend physical and digital workspaces seamlessly, enhance collaboration among remote teams, and visualize complex data in intuitive ways are just a few examples of how mixed reality can revolutionize enterprise productivity.

Central to Meta’s initiative is the opening up of Horizon OS to third parties, providing a unified platform that supports a wide range of devices and applications. This interoperability is crucial for businesses looking to integrate MR technologies into their operations seamlessly.

“With every technology, there are basically open and closed models, and with phones, Apple’s closed model basically won out. … Our goal is that the open model defines the next generation of computing,” said Zuckerberg, stressing that the collaborative environment is designed to accelerate the adoption of MR technologies across various industries, enabling businesses to leverage these tools in ways that were previously unimaginable.

As PYMNTS has covered, in the industrial sector — as just one example — MR wearables are already streamlining operations and enhancing productivity. Warehouses, for instance, have embraced AR headsets to guide workers and provide maintenance support, similar to the approach Google took with its Google Glass product.

Read moreMeta Reality Labs Celebrates 10-Year Milestone, Has Lost $50+ Billion

A Unified Platform for Mixed Reality

As Meta noted in a statement, the social layer of Horizon OS is made to bridge multiple platforms and enable users to spend time together in virtual spaces that exist across mixed reality, mobile and desktop devices.

By licensing its OS, Meta appears, per certain observers, to be eying a similar role across the MR/XR (extended reality) landscape as the one Microsoft played within the PC era. 

“This platform is the product of a decade of investment into the underlying technologies that enable mixed reality, and opening it up means a lot more people will benefit from that investment. We’re working with leading global technology companies to create a new ecosystem of mixed reality devices, and we’re making it even easier for developers to build mixed reality apps,” the company said. 

As PYMNTS reported last month, retail giants Walmart and Amazon are stepping up their digital try-on capabilities, enabling consumers to visualize products in real time, enhancing engagement and driving conversion rates. 

And PYMNTS Intelligence research finds that a significant share of consumers are eager for VR to replicate the experience of brick-and-mortar shopping.

Specifically, among the 95% of consumers who own or have access to at least one internet-connected device, one-third expressed a high level of interest in using VR technology to shop and buy retail products available in physical stores, all from the comfort of their home or office. Moreover, 4% of respondents reported already engaging in this immersive shopping experience. 

But all the tech in the world means nothing if it can’t actually make it out into the world and prove its mettle. For example, Meta’ competitor Apple’s Vision Pro headset, launched earlier this year, hasn’t garnered the expected level of enthusiasm. Complaints about discomfort, headaches and eye strain have led early adopters to return their headsets, highlighting the importance of addressing usability and comfort concerns in advancing XR technology.