Facebook made several announcements regarding its suite of professional tools on the evening of May 21. He notably revealed that his group chat tool for companies, Workplace, now has 5 million paying users compared to only 3 million last October. This significant growth is explained by the increased use of telework during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also introduced Workplace Rooms, a feature that allows video calls of up to 50 participants. It’s the same technology as the one behind Messenger Rooms, announced last month. You don’t need to have the Workplace app installed to participate, or even have an account. In addition, calls can now be made from the dedicated Portal device. Another novelty: the possibility of having automatic subtitling in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Workplace can also automatically translate one of these languages into the others.
A challenger against Teams, Zoom and Slack
Facebook appears to be a challenger in this market against Microsoft Teams, Slack or the Zoom videoconferencing application. The latter had more than 300 million daily users at the end of April, against only 10 million last December. Teams for its part recently exceeded 75 million daily users, against 32 million on March 11. As for Slack, it reached 12.5 million users connected simultaneously at the end of March.
Facebook notes, however, that Workplace has only been on the market since October 2017 and that the solution has since experienced good growth. The social network also has no established presence in companies to build on, unlike Microsoft, which offers Teams for free with its Microsoft 365 office suite (formerly Office). Finally, it communicates with paid users of Workspace, while others include free trials.
One of the areas in which Facebook hopes to distinguish itself is the use of virtual reality, whether for training, industrial design or project review. Its Oculus for Business offer, which is based on Workspace and uses Oculus Quest standalone VR headsets, is now out of beta and generally available. Facebook is currently targeting it mainly for large companies.