So you’ve validated your business or learning objective use case/s for deploying VR applications, you’ve gotten the relevant stakeholders on-board, you’ve determined who is making the content, either internally or via an external vendor, you have a budget, a timeframe and a pilot or rollout plan, and importantly you have IT and procurement briefed and prepared for new hardware devices to come online within your network/s, but where and how do you actually buy the hardware?
In all honesty, in 2020 and the current maturity of VR deployment at an enterprise scale, you likely haven’t got all those aspects in place yet, or would prefer to evaluate hardware at a lower volume, rather than deal with all that red tape and process for something that might essentially be untested. Hopefully we can shed some light, reduce some friction-points and add some grease to the wheels to get you rolling on the journey of immersive learning technology deployments. Or if you’re not ready just yet, we have other ways of advising and assisting you to get going, more on that later.
We’ll cover here the main VR hardware manufacturers and their enterprise offerings, and how to go about interfacing with each of them, without bias or recommendations. At the time of going online, these steps and links are present and correct – as ever, if you get stuck or need a hand, just ask us!
Officially launched at f8 2019, the Oculus for Business team looking after enterprise users are ramping up to launch their new service, which includes procurement, deployment and enterprise usage licences, support and warranty.
Oculus for Business offers a secure a reliable VR solution for enterprise customers. The offering includes software to setup and manage VR deployments, a tailored in-headset experience and enterprise-grade customer support.
Scalable – with fully integrated, enterprise-ready bulk setup and device management tools, companies can quickly and easily deploy and manage VR solutions without a lot of overhead
Professional – Oculus for Business was designed for professional settings and enterprise needs. Making learning and collaboration tasks more immersive helps employees focus on the tasks at hand.
Reliable – keep business-critical technology running smoothly and securely. Follows data handling and security protocols to ensure customers wholly own the data associated with their devices
Right at this moment, the full service is not 100% launched but it is coming soon and so, it is worthwhile starting your own sign-up process to register accounts and your interest in Oculus hardware now, if that is your choice.
Oculus offer their standalone VR headset, Oculus Quest, as the main device for enterprise. These are priced at $999 and offer enterprise usage licence, extended warranty and support, and the 1st year of subscription to the management tool needed to control your devices within your organisation. You can read more about the Oculus for Business service here: https://business.oculus.com/.
There are enterprise purchase options for Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Go but these are not supported by the forthcoming enterprise platform for device management. If you do wish to use these devices rather than Oculus Quest however, it’s best to contact the Oculus for Business team directly as per the details below.
For your first deployment, or registering of interest, you will need to complete the following form online to link to the AR/VR Enterprise team at Oculus for Business, available here: https://oculusforbusiness.fb.com/get-started.html. Once you are setup with an Oculus for Business account, you will be assigned a hardware reseller and contact, so you can liaise with them directly afterwards.
The Oculus for Business platform is based upon Facebook Workspace for enterprise usage. The team have put a useful whitepaper together covering all aspects of data usage, collection and security of the platform – if you would like access to this whitepaper to pass onto your IT department, please get in touch with us and we will provide you with the link to access.
The platform gives you direct access and control over your devices, as well as organisation licence for enterprise use, plus the extended warranty and support in your organisation name, as defined by the purchaser. Therefore, if you are working with a content vendor to create experiences for you, they will not be able to procure and deploy hardware on your behalf.
See below for the latest talk about the Oculus for Business enterprise platform and services:
HTC Vive have been offering their enterprise solution since 2018 and offer a range of solutions depending upon which VR headset type you require, from the standalone VR Vive Focus Plus device, to the PC VR devices, the Vive Pro and enhanced version, Vive Pro Eye with built-in eye-tracking technology and the latest Vive Cosmos headset.
Like Oculus for Business devices, the Vive Enterprise devices have an additional enterprise usage licence requirement including enhanced warranty and support coverage for the devices and access to the management platform.
Full details of the Vive Enterprise hardware options are available here: https://enterprise.vive.com/uk/
With a comprehensive breakdown of the Advantage requirements and benefits here: https://enterprise.vive.com/uk/product/advantage/#vive-pro
Hardware can be purchased direct from Vive, or if your organisation already has specific agreements in place with trusted resellers for IT hardware, there’s an expanded selection of common resellers who can also provide the hardware for enterprise usage. Exact resellers differ depending upon which hardware device you are after so best check the bottom of each product listing page on the website detailed above.
The Advantage enterprise usage licence can only be purchased direct from Vive however.
Vive have also created comprehensive guidelines and details about their data usage and security policies to help reduce fear amongst the IT department. These can be seen here: https://enterprise.vive.com/eu/advantage_legal/
See below for a video about the Vive Focus Plus and the enterprise platform features:
Taking a slightly different approach to enterprise, Pico offer a range of devices that are competitively priced based upon volume and requirements, rather than a fixed-cost per device. Their devices are more open with greater access at a hardware level to developers, but also offer all the standard enterprise features required for safe workplace usage of hardware, like kiosk modes, admin controls and the ability to sync device application launches.
There’s a range of hardware devices available, all based upon all-in-one, standalone VR offerings, without any PC VR, tethered options. Technical specifications are comparable or above other hardware offerings from other manufacturers. A full comparison of devices is available here: https://www.pico-interactive.com/us/compare_products.html
Because of the scaling nature of their pricing options, it’s best to contact their teams directly to discuss your specific organisation deployment needs and volumes: https://www.pico-interactive.com/us/contact.html
That’s completely understandable and that’s why we’re here to help you. We can work with your IT and procurement teams as necessary or if you would like other options for smaller scale deployments for a pilot or test & evaluation phase, just get in touch.
We’re always happy to talk to you about how immersive technologies can engage your employees and customers. If you have a learning objective in mind, or simply want to know more about VR, send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.