By | December 18, 2023
Will Meta’s Consumer Focus Collapse its Enterprise Vision? 

This week, during an online speaker session, which included XR end users and solution providers, the VRAR Association (The VRARA) talked about the real-world effectiveness of Meta’s recently launched enterprise-ready headset management service.

The leading XR hardware and software vendor debuted Meta Quest for Business in November following an earlier iteration and beta testing. But after a weak push towards workplace XR with the Pro headset, Meta is revamping its XR portfolio as an inclusive tool to tap into the much-hyped industrial Metaverse.

While Meta officials like CEO Mark Zuckerberg and CEO of Global Affairs Nick Glegg ensure that the company’s XR portfolio is suitable for business, it is up to the end users of said solutions to decide.

The Enterprise XR space is full of major competitors who all claim that their immersive solutions will be the ones to bring the work of the future forward into the present.

However, VRARA raises concerns about Meta’s company’s (re)debut. During their online gathering, industry leaders and experts discussed how Meta’s “consumer-focused approach” can lead to poor quality business offerings.

Will Meta’s consumer focus lower the company’s vision?

According to VRARA and its Global Executive Director Kris KoloMeta’s renewed dive into the business world — following the Quest Pro and other digs in the Oculus era — could be fraught with problems.

Meta is an open consumer-first XR solution provider. The company’s recent Connect showcase highlighted this clearly, focusing on gaming and consumer smart glasses.

Despite this consumer focus, Meta is keen to remain in the company’s XR space as it develops a consumer portfolio. But Meta can make promises for the workplace without a strong product or development roadmap focused on delivering XR at a standard enterprise customers expect.

Notably, VRARA expressed concerns about Meta device, data and code security – apparently Meta refused to respond to requests from VRARA regarding security for enterprise users of its XR technology.

In addition, security concerns are doubled in part due to the operational requirements of Meta-brand XR devices in the workplace.

In particular, VRARA highlighted how workers must log in with a Meta account for individual headsets, and Quest devices also require WiFi hotspots in remote areas. By default, Meta Quest for Business users must log in individually, leading to concerns about corporate data and privacy.

However, it should be noted that with Shared Mode – additional paid content from Meta Quest for Business – business customers do not need to log in with a Meta account, which in theory negates the security issue. Nonetheless, security issues arise for those using headsets outside of the paid shared mode.

Additional security concerns lead some at VRARA to believe that the coding on the Quest hardware—alongside the connectivity issues—could lead to potential backdoor hacking threats.

Security is a big concern for XR’s enterprise customers. Increasingly, companies representing sensitive areas such as aerospace, government and healthcare are XR’s most notable modern users and drivers. Every vertical requires incredibly robust security measures to ensure workers, systems and data are safe from predatory third parties.

If Meta can’t assuage end-user security concerns, other XR hardware vendors will take the company’s place.

As the industrial Metaverse wave of 2024 approaches, many companies such as Microsoft, AWS and Meta are trying to lead it. Microsoft and AWS integrate many enterprise-class digital services and related security measures to ensure end users feel confident using each vendor’s XR technology.

For example, Microsoft’s XR services have found homes in large companies such as Sanofi, Nexco East and SNC-Lavalin – in part because of their existing security and application frameworks.

On the other hand, Meta works with corporate offerings in the portfolio – working with clients such as Alstom and Esade Executive Education. The company also offers services such as Microsoft Office and ShapesXR through its headset range, and Meta still supports its Pro headset for business.

More about Meta Quest for Business

Meta Quest for Business is a subscription service that supports business users using Meta Quest 2, 3 and Pro devices. Meta launched the service in November, allowing customers to deploy devices and applications across their teams. Currently, the service is available to enterprise users in supported regions such as the US and the UK.

Meta Quest for Business offers the Shared Mode and Support Plus add-ons to enhance the service for business customers. Shared mode allows workers to participate without a Meta account, the perennial problem with Meta entering the digital business solutions landscape.

Meta Quest for Business provides various XR tools for workplace device management under its admin portal. Team leaders can assign a Meta headset to an active subscription to manage and maintain it – while also assigning a Meta Quest device to a worker.

The admin portal also offers a group management hub that allows team leaders to assign accounts and devices with automation tools that streamline the process.

The service comes with a built-in MDM solution that gives team leaders direct control over their headset fleet, allowing team leaders to set mass assets, assign profiles, configure WiFi support, reset PIN access, review device status and remotely wipe devices.

Meta Quest for Business allows team leaders to manage XR applications and software deployment, giving them control over how the Quest headset can access applications, such as deploying applications privately to a small group of users or making them available publicly as a widespread deployment – ​​therefore streamlining deployment of immersive applications by denying the device showcase to download applications individually.

While security and adoption concerns are fair play when it comes to Meta’s mix of enterprise and consumer hardware, it appears the company and its leaders are taking the necessary steps to facilitate growth in each market.

Is Meta serious about Industrial Metaverse and Enterprise XR?

Nick Clegg published a video in November encouraging enterprise and education customers to take advantage of XR. The video came as the company heavily advertises its portfolio as a path for end users to access industrial Metaverse applications, including Meta Quest for Business, which launched the same month.

In the promotional video, Clegg emphasized the potential of Metaverse technologies to transform work and education. He showcased how European companies are using AR and VR to improve industries and improve people’s lives.

Clegg also added:

European business leaders such as Lufthansa, Iveco, Alstorm and Decathlon are already using immersive technologies to develop products, train employees and engage customers. – Others, such as virtual medicine, use Metaverse technologies in groundbreaking ways to support medical professionals, educators and students in fully immersive digital environments. The impact of the Metaverse is real, and it’s happening today, right now. – As the Metaverse technologies continue to evolve, more and more opportunities will open up.

During the promotional video, Clegg highlighted the importance of laying the foundations for the future industrial Metaverse based on the increasing talent pool, expanded knowledge bases and exposure to new technologies.

Clegg explained that the impact of XR will only grow as more developers join and more educational/commercial institutions adopt the hardware. He also mentioned that as immersive technologies mature, they will help overcome cultural and economic barriers and create more business opportunities across Europe.

Additionally, Meta aims to introduce many XR units into homes during the 2023 holiday season to establish a fundamental building block for introducing XR into the workplace. This consumer-focused strategy is designed to make the headsets everywhere on a daily basis, with improved optics and familiarity. As a result, XR technologies will no longer seem overwhelming or difficult to understand when presented to workplace decision makers—a similar approach that smartphone vendors took when they gained prominence as a workplace tool.

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