Innovation

Oculus for Business ups its game for VR in the enterprise with licensing and support improvements

At its recent Oculus Connect 4 event, the virtual reality giant unveiled a new hardware and services bundle aimed at getting more businesses using the technology.

Facebook-owned Oculus is releasing a new product bundle that will make it easier for companies to get started with virtual reality (VR), company leaders announced at the firm's Oculus Connect 4 event on Wednesday.

The $900 Oculus for Business package will include an Oculus Rift VR headset, Oculus Touch handheld controllers, three spacial sensors, and additional foam inserts for different face shapes. The bundle also includes a commercial license and warranty, along with dedicated, preferential customer support. A bulk ordering option will also be available.

Oculus for Business is "for companies who want to explore VR to create new workflows," Hugo Barra, the head of Oculus VR, said in his presentation. One example touted by Oculus executives was Audi, an early adopter of the program that is using Oculus in its dealer showrooms to allow customers to customize their car before purchasing. Other partners include Walmart, Cisco, and Deloitte.

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Gartner research vice president Brian Blau said that Oculus for Business seems like a great first step for the company to try and gain traction in the enterprise. However. It's unclear if it will fully meet enterprise needs for VR.

"That said, it's a great announcement and business should expect more formal support for their VR efforts being managed and run through IT," Blau said.

The use of VR and augmented reality (AR) technologies in business is growing at a rapid clip, with use cases like marketing, product demonstrations, and physical training leading the way. Product showcasing in retail and manufacturing applications will also be very important applications of this technology.

By some estimates, total spending for AR and VR could reach $215 billion by 2021, with a big part of that being driven by enterprise investment. So, it's a prudent move for Oculus to try to establish itself as a key enterprise partner in these efforts, and ride the wave of adoption that's likely to come.

At the event, Oculus also unveiled the Oculus Go, a $200 standalone headset aimed at making VR more accessible to a wider audience. This could be useful for businesses that are wary of making a large financial investment into VR and simply want to test the waters.

"Go is a great device for those that don't want to use a smartphone or PC, but I worry that it's not yet a device type that users really need," Blau said. "I like the all-in-one features as that will make the device attractive as it will be a bit more optimized than what a consumer will experience on a smartphone."

The firm also introduced updates to its core VR experience and its controllers as well. The firm is also planning a wireless experience called Project Santa Cruz.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Oculus for Business is a product bundle that provides VR hardware, warranties, licensing, and support for businesses that want to experiment with the technology.
  2. AR and VR spending could hit $215 billion by 2021, and Oculus has an opportunity to establish itself as an enterprise partner in the space.
  3. Oculus also released Go, a $200 standalone, entry-level headset that could be a good option for budget-conscious businesses that want to try out VR without a major upfront investment.

Also see

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Image: Oculus

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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