Innovation

Business pros can take calls in HTC VR systems

HTC's Vive Focus is getting a number of updates, including the ability to receive calls, social notifications, and messages from a paired smartphone.

At the 2018 Vive Ecosystem Conference in Shenzhen this week, HTC announced a System Update 2.0 for its Vive Focus virtual reality (VR) headset that adds a number of features that could make the technology more useful in the enterprise.

For one, business professionals will now be able to receive calls, social notifications, and messages on the headset from a paired HTC smartphone, as reported by Engadget. The U12+ model will be the first to gain this more immersive feature. However, existing Vive users can already take advantage of a similar feature with the Vive companion mobile app.

The update will also allow Vive users to enter a "Surroundings Mode," which essentially makes the headset see-through, so users can exit VR to take a phone call or walk out of their office without needing to remove the headset. Users will be able to access this setting by double clicking on the power button, according to Engadget.

SEE: Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)

Users will soon be able to stream Steam or Viveport VR content from a PC to a Vive Focus over 5GHz Wi-Fi, the company announced at the conference. The update will also allow users to install VR apps onto a microSD card, so you will not be limited by the headset's internal storage space.

The Vive Focus is not yet available outside of China, but will be later this year.

Products like the Vive Focus are helping set the AR and VR markets to explode in the next few years, thanks in part to rising investments in commercial and defense applications, according to a recent analysis from ReportsnReports. However, while the sales of AR and VR devices may be on the rise, the implementation of this technology remains slow. When the TechRepublic CIO Jury was asked "Has your company implemented, or is it considering the use of, AR and VR?", 10 tech leaders said no, while two said yes. Adding more business applications like the ability to take conference calls from a VR headset could make the technology more attractive to this demographic.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • The HTC Vive Focus will receive a major update giving users new features, including the ability to pair the VR headset with a smartphone and take calls through the headset.
  • The HTC Vive Focus will be available outside of China later this year.

Also see

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Image: HTC

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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