Chris Koomen is a Virtual Reality specialist and consultant at KLM, a Dutch airline company. He is a very smart professional, and he’s very passionate about AR and VR technologies, and for this reason, I have already interviewed him on my blog. Because of his work, he finds himself working every day on XR headsets in professional settings, and he was one of the first people to share a photo of the Oculus Quest 2 For Business on my Linkedin feed.
Since he’s one of the few people I know that is working with Oculus For Business, I thought it could be a great idea to ask him what’s his opinion on the enterprise program by Facebook and get some first-hand impressions about it. Then we thought it could have been an even better idea to share his findings with all the VR community, so you all could have a better understanding of this program, which yesterday has just seen a new update. Here you are my chat with him about Oculus For Business!
Hello Chris, nice to talk with you again. Let’s talk about Oculus For Business… can you remind my readers what is it?
Oculus For Business is the program through which Facebook distributes Oculus Quest 2 devices to enterprise customers. Oculus for Business administrators can configure each headset centrally in a variety of ways to enhance security. For example, they can disable Wi-Fi access, set device-based PINs, and whitelist specific VR applications. (All apps are initially blacklisted by default.) If we choose, administrators also can set up their headsets to automatically receive software updates and security patches as they become available.
The hardware is the same as the consumer headset but the software is different.
For trainees, Oculus for Business helps ensure focus and productivity by eliminating many of the distractions common in consumer VR headsets. For example, social platform functions such as adding Facebook friends aren’t active in the Oculus for Business headsets, nor are other non-business elements such as gaming features, the Oculus Store, and a range of consumer media apps.
What are the advantages that Oculus For Business has given you?
We can control all the devices from one location. So if there is a headset in London for example, we can push a new update to the device where we use to sideload it. We also can control what apps are on the device and we don’t need a personal login from Facebook.
But one of the biggest advantages is the device management tool. With this, we can remotely access the device and restore any problem, if there are. (While writing this only once we needed to reset the device remotely)
Why have you picked Oculus For Business over more experienced B2B brands like Pico and HTC?
We tried both of them of course but for now, the Quest came out best for us. The HTC and Pico have issues with tracking, which is very important in the cases we use it for. Some of the users get faster motion sickness with the Pico and it was lagging when moving a bit faster.
Was it difficult to learn how to use it?
The setup of the 11 devices we have is as simple as the consumer version. Just install the app, get the devices on and open the app: it will automatically recognize up to 50 devices at the same time once you put them on. At this point, pick the headsets, and hit install. Then you wait..;) it will install automatically the latest version of Oculus For Business.
Were you able to kiosk the devices? How has been your experience with it?
You can Kiosk the devices. To do so you need to go to the device manager which is in the Facebook Workspace environment. From there you can configure all kinds of settings. But we don’t use that. All the apps we build are installed on the device with the Device Manager. Now you can do that via the Business release channel. During the upload stage, all OFB (Oculus For Business) apps will be checked for the same requirements as Oculus Store apps, but will not be reviewed by Oculus.
Can you tell me something about the Home environment in the headsets?
You are basically in a custom Oculus environment but with restricted access as a user. You can set the access limit in the device manager. When you install the app(s) you will see them as in the consumer version to select them to open.
Tell me about your experience in configuring more headsets together using the multiple devices web manager.
For me, it was one of the easiest things to do, almost just as easy as the personal device, only a few more at the same time. Don’t forget to put them on power, they are installing just 3 or 4 at the same time so it could take a while before the last one is up to date..;) In case a problem occurs, just reset the device and it will try to install again.
Have you ever had the need for assistance? And if yes, have they been fast in answering you?
Haha, for technical reasons about the devices, no. But for software, we had some questions, like we had specific wishes like a player, and after some short meetings whit the Facebook team they added the player. No big deal at all. And even now with the latest update, they added some of our suggestions.
Is it true that you “lose control” of the device? Could you still use it as your personal device?
Once you set it up as an enterprise device, you can’t change it back to a consumer one, but..
…if you connect it to your personal Oculus app instead of the Oculus For Business app, it will boot as a consumer device. After restoring it to factory settings you’ll be able to boot it as an enterprise again.
Small side note… even if booted as an enterprise device, you can use the headset with Oculus link, and it will start as your personal device. (If the admin allowed you to do so)
What about your data? What’s your view on Facebook Workplace? Is it safe?
Oculus collects device-specific data required for the provisioning and remote management of its VR headsets, including the device serial numbers associated with each organization; user IDs; names and emails of administrators authorized to manage the headsets; device health information (such as battery life and last-time active); and various configuration settings. This information helps it correct any errors or problems that may occur.
If you have to describe the pros and cons of Oculus For Business, what would you say?
I’ll guess it’s different for every use case, it depends on so many things. For us, it was the best solution on the market. We didn’t want to be tethered, and we needed to be flexible and manageable. The Pico had tracking issues and created a lot of sickness and HTC Focus wasn’t good enough in controller tracking. I’m not saying they are bad devices, but our consumers are critic of these subjects and we don’t want them to complain, because a bad experience would result in a loss of adoption.
It is also worth a mention saying that when something breaks, Oculus will send you a new one within 48 hours, which is included in the fee you pay yearly.
- Easy to set up in any space.
- Easy to use and setup.
- Easy to use device management system.
- Best enterprise solution for now.
- Great performance for an HMD stand-alone.
- No IPD slider. Which is much easier to use especially when you use it on a large group.
- No rechargeable battery in the controllers. How good would it be to recharge them with the same USB cable as the Quest? It would be not only user-friendly but also much better for the environment.
- The standard head strap is not good for enterprise use. These people must wear it for a long period and if something is annoying you, you’ll stop using it.
While writing this there was a software update: now you can upload your app via the business release channel, before that you’ll need to download it from an external hosting service.
If you had to advise Oculus For Business to a friend, would you do it?
As always, take a good look at your case and demand. VR is a tool, not a solution. If you have a small company, see if there are other solutions. If you need to access the headsets remotely because the headsets are all over the world, and you need the best tracking performance, Oculus is where you end now.
Anything else to add?
There are certainly things to improve and we will continue working with Facebook to get the best out of it.
None of this is sponsored in any way, these are my findings on the Oculus Quest 2 Wnterprise used at AF/KLM KLM Cityhopper: https://news.klm.com/klm-cityhopper-introduces-virtual-reality-training-for-pilots/
I really thank Chris for the amazing insights on Oculus For Business. And if you have any questions about this solution, feel free to ask them here in the comments, and Chris and I will try to answer them!
(Header image by Facebook)