HTC Vive for Enterprise: What You Should Know
As we continue our series on Virtual Reality, we will be reviewing the headsets produced by HTC (the Vive Pro Eye and Vive Focus Plus) and Pico while maintaining a focus on their Enterprise use cases and benefits. In today’s article we dive into the HTC products we’ve spent the last few weeks reviewing. Read on for on hands-on view on whether or not this tech is truly ready for the demands and needs of the business world. And check out or last article to learn more about our thoughts on the Quest 2 for Business.
What You Should Know about HTC Vive Headsets for Enterprise
- HTC offers three headsets that can be used for Enterprise use cases and optionally come with an Enterprise support/service package – Vive Pro, Vive Pro Eye, and Vive Focus Plus. We tested the Vive Pro Eye and Vive Focus Plus. The Vive Pro is effectively the same as the Vive Pro Eye, but lacks the eye tracking feature
- There is little difference between the consumer and enterprise versions of HTC’s headsets. The normal Vive software (including app store) and Steam VR are available on both. The enterprise product unlocks specialized support and device management tools, but the in-headset experience is the same
- User Experience – The HTC Focus plus is a standalone device with little setup required while the Vive Pro and Pro Eye are PC-powered and require both significant graphics processing hardware and complex setup
- Pricing begins at $799 for the Focus Plus, $1,199 for the Vive Pro, and $1,599 for the Pro Eye. Be careful about prices advertised on the Vive website since controllers and position tracking units are required for proper function but are often not included in the displayed base price
HTC Vive for Enterprise Hardware
Here’s a quick rundown of the main hardware characteristics for each of the enterprise-targeted headsets. Since we already reviewed the Oculus Quest 2 for Business, we’ll be comparing a few features for reference as well.
HTC Vive Pro (PC-powered)
- Vive Pro features a per-eye resolution of 1440×1600 pixels (note this is worse than Oculus Quest 2’s 1832×1920), a 90Hz refresh rate (same as Quest 2) and 110 degrees of view (compared to 92 degrees for Quest 2). We found these differences to be noticeable in head-to-head tests with the Quest 2 – there’s more of a “screen door effect” due to the lower resolution, but the wider field of view also lets you move your eyes more before the picture gets blurry.
- Unlike standalone headsets such as the Focus Plus and Quest 2, the Vive Pro and Pro Eye require a physical connection to a computer via an additional base station and two position tracking units also connected to the computer. The position tracking units allow precise tracking of the headset and controller positions across an entire room. We found that in normal “small room/office” environments, the tracking was about the same quality as with the Quest 2 and Focus Plus, but if you have use cases that require larger environments, the position tracking units offer more flexibility.
- The Vive Pro requires PC with a powerful processor, graphics card, and memory. Vive provides guidance on which PC is “Vive Ready” and offers a tool to determine if your computer is compatible. Note that many office computers and most laptops will not qualify.
- Overall, we found the hardware a general hassle for business use cases – the number of devices and cables that need to be plugged in and configured (see below) to get it working is borderline ridiculous for an enterprise environment and would require a dedicated “VR” space setup in an office, possibly managed by a VR expert. It’s simply not enterprise-friendly.
HTC Vive Pro Eye (PC Powered)
- The Vive Pro Eye Hardware is the same as the Vive Pro with one upgrade – eye tracking. As its name suggests, the eye tracking is a relatively new feature in VR headsets that can analyze eye movement, attention, and focus. We haven’t seen too many software developers take advantage of this yet, but it provides some interesting opportunities for enterprise apps.
- In theory, eye tracking allows developers to create more immersive simulations and allows teams to gain insights about user performance and interaction, opening the door to deeper data analysis. For example, chat avatars could blink and gaze in sync with the real person controlling them, and training “teachers” could tell what you’re looking at and comment appropriately.
- The Pro Eye requires the same PC capabilities as the Pro.
HTC Focus Plus (Standalone)
- The Vive Focus Plus was designed for flexibility and portability. It does not require any additional hardware or connection to a PC and is a direct competitor with the Oculus Quest 2.
- It features the exact same resolution and field of view as the Vive Pro, but downgrades the refresh rate to 75Hz. As a result, the same graphics comparison as with the Pro holds.
- Compared to the Quest 2, the Focus Plus feels (and looks) a bit clunkier, but it is also a bit more adjustable and the head strap it comes with is better than the one Quest 2 ships with, allowing an easier fit to get your eyes properly positioned.
- We would still pick the Quest 2 for standalone enterprise use cases, though, since the head strap is easily upgraded, the onboard processor is better, and the motion tracking feels more refined.
HTC Vive Focus Plus Setup
The HTC Vive Focus Plus had a very positive setup experience for our team. It was as simple as adjusting the lenses and head strap to get a good fit, then turning on the headset via the power button. No additional software or configuration was required beyond the initial intro/welcome screens, which guide the user through connecting the two controllers and getting started with apps. We would definitely rate this an “enterprise-ready” setup experience that most users would be comfortable with. It’s comparable to the setup experience with the Quest 2 for Business, except that with the Focus Plus users get dumped into the Vive Store at the end rather than the streamlined “available apps” interface on the Quest 2 for Business.
HTC Vive Focus Plus Setup
Unlike the Focus Plus, the Vive Pro Eye setup experience was extremely onerous and obviously targeted at people who are already familiar with VR and complex entertainment hardware. In addition to the headset and controllers, users also have to setup a base station hub as well as at least two position tracking units, all of which require cable connections and power connections. That’s three extra pieces of hardware and eight (yes, 8) cables to get it working. And while it does work at a desk if you have everything positioned correctly, the system really expects you to have a dedicated “play area” that’s fairly large. Then there’s a laborious software setup experience on top of that, requiring installation of not only Vive’s own software and drivers, but also Steam VR. It took a good twenty minutes to get the unit setup and working properly on our test rig. It’s abundantly clear that the Pro Eye is meant for entertainment enthusiasts who don’t mind jumping through hoops to get hardware working. We really can’t recommend either the Vive Pro or Pro Eye to enterprise users unless you really need large-room tracking.
HTC Vive Enterprise User Experience
From an enterprise perspective there isn’t a whole lot to comment on with respect to Vive. Both Vive headsets we tested are effectively the same hardware and software as the consumer versions and have default access to the same stores and apps (mostly games) as the consumer versions as a result. The only real difference is that HTC’s Enterprise service offers some additional support and warranties. At a cost of $200 a year, HTC provides 2 year commercial-use warranty support and services such as next business day email response and expedited product repair or replacement. Other than that, there’s no real difference and nothing to stop your users from installing Beat Saber instead of running a training app.
HTC Vive Enterprise Software
Since the Focus Plus uses the Vive store and Pro Eye uses Steam VR, getting software for the headsets is quite straightforward. However, there really aren’t many enterprise-targeted apps in the stores right now (they are focused on gaming), so enterprise users should expect to be loading custom-developed applications via Steam (for the Pro) or sideloading (for the Focus Plus). That said, HTC is stepping up their enterprise efforts and on November 24 went live with the “Vive XR Suite” which empowers users to collaborate remotely. While this suite of apps has a cost ($30 per seat per month or $250 per seat per year), it may prove to be worth it instead of managing personal accounts of numerous users.
HTC Vive Enterprise Device Management
The Vive Pro really doesn’t have any true remote device management since it’s meant to sit in a fixed location instead of being distributed widely to users. However, the Focus Plus just recently added device management options using third party add-ons from VMWare and MobileIron. While we haven’t yet tested these features extensively, they do now allow the headsets to be locked down more than before with app restrictions and settings locks via the Kiosk Mode. Businesses can also now configure the devices to use a VPN or operate in offline mode for added security.
HTC Vive Enterprise Privacy
What makes HTC different is that their policy uses straightforward language compared to others. HTC is also the only VR developer that offers a “secure” option for companies with the strictest policies. Now, if your business is working with classified materials and has stringent policies around wireless communication devices, HTC offers the Vive Pro Secure, the only headset right now that is truly locked down to transmit no information at all. To learn more about what is removed to make the Pro Secure secured, visit here.
HTC Vive Enterprise Price
HTC’s products for Enterprise offer a wide spectrum for what your needs may be, and their Services and Warranty are standard and consistent with the rest of the industry.
HTC Vive Pro* – $1,199
HTC Vive Pro Eye* – $1,599
HTC Focus Plus – $799
Enterprise Services and Warranty – $200 for 2 years.
*Note that the Pro and Pro Eye are powered by PCs, so you may need to invest in a strong computer if you consider these products.
HTC’s Vive Enterprise VR products are a mixed bag. The Pro and Pro Eye require significant setup and a beefy computer to run properly, making them virtually impossible to distribute and only suitable for fixed rooms where cables aren’t an issue and large-scale position tracking is important. The Focus Plus is a more interesting device for enterprise use cases and competes directly with the Oculus Quest 2 for Business. As a standalone headset it is both better and worse than the Quest 2 depending on which hardware specs you care the most about. When we first got the Focus Plus several weeks ago, we would not have recommended it due to the lack of enterprise device management features, but recent updates have made it more appealing in that regard. Ultimately, we think businesses will be choosing between the Quest 2 for Business, Focus Plus, and Pico. Which one is right for your business will depend on your IT environment, comfort level with Facebook’s tools and policies, and price sensitivity.
If you need help choosing between these devices for your enterprise use cases and creating a strong VR content and deployment strategy for your employees, be sure to head over to our XR Solutions page or contact us to learn more.
Be on the lookout for the 3rd edition of our “VR what you should know” series highlighting the headsets created by Pico Interactive, Time.com’s choice for the Corporate VR solution.