The Meta Connect 2023 has kicked off at its Menlo Park headquarters, gearing audiences up for a two-day event full of updates, memorable quotes, and visions for the future of the Metaverse.
Meta Connect 2023 has returned with full force after last year’s event, which highlighted fresh collaborations, features, solutions, and products linked to the Meta Quest family of headsets.
One of the main events for Day 1 was the Keynote Speech, which took place at 10:00 Pacific Time (18:00 British Time). Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive and Founder, Meta, set the stage for all discussions at the gathering.
In addition to Zuckerberg’s address, Meta unveiled its AI-powered chatbots to embed across its family of apps, signalling new use cases for its AI capabilities.
Additionally, it restated its commitment to expanding Horizon Worlds across smartphones, PCs, and tablets.
Zuckerberg started his keynote speech to discuss why the company launched its metaverse ambitions.
“At Meta, we are focused on building the future of human connections. What that means is that we build products to help people feel closer and like we’re right there, present with each other with our friends and family.”
“A big part of this innovation is about making sure that these technologies are accessible to everyone,” Zuckerberg continued.
Quest 3 Graces the Stage
Getting into his speech, he unveiled the Quest 3, stating, “We are incredibly proud to introduce Quest 3, the first mainstream mixed reality headset.”
Regarding specifications, he explained how the standalone device allowed people to navigate with their hands and use full-colour passthrough to interact seamlessly between virtual and physical environments.
Additionally, XBOX Cloud Gaming would arrive on the Quest 3 in December, with hit titles like Minecraft, Halo, and others joining in.
Zuckerberg also explained how people could “weave together the wonderful physical worlds that we have with this vibrant, digital world we’re building than what we have today.”
Concluding, he explained the company’s strategy in delivering the tools to interact with the Metaverse, stating,
“It’s not just enough to make this possible. We have to make it so that it is affordable and accessible to everyone. And that’s why we focus a lot of our innovation not just on on the groundbreaking innovations but on making sure that these things are going to be accessible to everyone because to us, that is just as important as advancing the state of the art”
Meta Quest 3: Ready for Business
Regarding enterprise applications, Zuckerberg announced Meta Quest for Business, which would allow organisations to integrate Microsoft 365 by the end of the year. It will also include VMWare Workspace, Avanti One, and other productivity solutions.
The new solution will provide device management, uploads, and productivity offerings.
At last year’s Connect 2022 event, Meta’s Zuckerberg and Satya Nadella, Chief Executive, Microsoft, announced it would integrate Microsoft 365 into Meta Quest 2 and Pro headsets. Further partnerships with Zoom were also announced at the time.
Meta’s most recent announcement confirms the Microsoft Partnership and additional collaborations but has not set an official date for the launch.
Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses
Additionally, Meta unveiled its next-generation Ray-Ban smart glasses, which will be “the first smart glasses that are built and shipping with Meta AI.”
He said: starting in the US, you’re going to get this state-of-the-art AI that you can interact with, hands-free, wherever you go.”
The smart glasses will also receive a multimodal AI upgrade, allowing users to translate signs, identify objects, and resolve issues with AI technology. Created with technologies at Exilor Luxottica, the smart glasses are set to provide more seamless AI integrations and human-computer interfacing (HCI) with users.
Continuing, he said,
“Smart glasses are the ideal form factor for you to let an AI assistant see what you’re seeing and hear what you’re hearing. I think that the AI part of this is going to be just as important [for] smart glasses being widely adopted as any of the other augmented reality features.”
The devices will launch on 17 October, priced at $299.
AI Chatbots, Llamas, and IMUs
Additionally, Meta will open up artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots technologies, including the Meta AI Studio platform. Based on Llama-2, it will partner with Microsoft and Bing Search for its knowledge pool.
Meta AI will also operate across chat applications, including Quest 3 headsets and the company’s family of apps (FoA).
Many of Meta’s AI applications will work for “fun” and narrow, task-focused applications.
Meta Gets Back in the Fight
Zuckerberg’s keynote speech comes at a time of increased tension with shareholders after the company posted £21 billion USD in losses in total.
The Menlo Park-based firm was then forced to lay off over 20,000 employees due to the lack of revenues and heavy overinvestment in its metaverse ambitions.
Despite the heavy setbacks from Meta’s annus horribilis last year, the company reaffirmed its support for developing metaverse technologies, including the reveal of its next-generational headset.
Meta Connect 2023
Across the two-day event, various keynote speeches, product demos, and workshops are taking place online via Meta’s website, Facebook, YouTube, and in the Metaverse at Horizon Worlds.
The Quest 3 debut revealed a significant milestone in the company’s research and development (R&D) efforts. Designed for next-generational spatial computing, the Quest 3 will go toe-to-toe with the Apple Vision Pro, slated for early next year.
Developers can also receive a preview of how to programme for the tech giant’s latest platforms at the Developer State of the Union address.
Additional focuses also centred on Meta’s artificial intelligence (AI) programmes like Llama-2. Furthermore, the company also detailed some initiatives it will take to build an open metaverse.
Oh, and of course, the avatars got their legs.
For more information, kindly visit Meta Connect at the Meta website.