Virtual Touring Software for a Variety of Industries

We’re continually amazed at the variety of businesses and industries that work with Whitepoint’s virtual touring software platform. One interesting idea recently came from a caterer who wanted to use a virtual touring software to showcase their catering displays and menu.

It makes sense – it’s one thing to see a plate of pasta. It’s another to also understand the ingredients in that pasta or to be able to identify it among other dishes in a dazzling display of culinary delight.

Virtual Touring Software for . . . Everyone?

photo of coffee shop display case with lots of delicious options - how could virtual touring software be used?

It’s just a case in a coffee shop right? But what are all of those delicious options? And how can you use virtual touring software to share them with customers?

The fact is that virtual touring software has a place as a digital marketing tool in almost any business or industry. And, this is only becoming more pronounced as reliance on images increases in marketing along with the proliferation of mobile devices. People want image-rich content. And, they want it more and more on their mobile devices.

The big difference is how we define “virtual touring” and the virtual touring software behind it. As we’ve stated elsewhere, at Whitepoint we’re working toward a goal of smarter, more interactive virtual touring geared toward mobile devices.

The need for smarter content in real estate marketing is obvious. But there are tons of other industries and businesses where the need is developing: hotels, resorts, automotive, retail, museums, galleries, restaurants . . . you name it.

How Users Find Your Business’ Tour in the Whitepoint App

Screenshot from Whitepoint virtual touring software

Screenshot from the Whitepoint app showing the search box and “find by category” button on the app’s main screen.

Users need to download the Whitepoint app for iOS or Android. Once they have that, your tour can be accessed by browsing the categories displayed on the right of the Whitepoint app’s main screen.

Additionally, they can search for your tour using the search box in the top right of the Whitepoint app’s main screen.

As an author, you have the ability to categorize any scape you build and to add descriptive text that helps users find it.

Depending on the nature of your business – if your users are in an on-site scenario such as the lobby of a building or in a museum exhibition – a little signage and QR codes can assist them in the two step process they need to follow: 1) Download the app and 2) Locate your scape.

Even More Options for Sharing and Highlighting Your Scape

As if that isn’t enough, our virtual touring software offers the ability to simultaneously provide your tour for users on desktop computers outside of the Whitepoint app.

And, if you sign up for our Premier Authoring subscription plan, you can have your scape featured on the app’s main screen for even easier access.

Curious how Whitepoint’s virtual touring software can be used in your business? We want to help. Reach out here or contact us at Whitepoint

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How to Add Descriptive Content to Whitepoint Virtual Tours

Helping people make virtual tours smarter is what the whole Whitepoint platform is all about. Therefore, one of the most common questions we get from users is how to add more descriptive content to our virtual tours.

Makes sense, huh? Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Whitepoints are the Data Points

First off, the best place to add descriptive content – whether textual and / or a link to other even richer content is within the whitepoints of any scape (our word for a Whitepoint virtual tour).

Golden Gate Bridge scene image, Whitepoint virtual tour

This is a scene image from a Whitepoint virtual tour of the Golden Gate Bridge.

As discussed elsewhere in this blog, whitepoints are the aspects of any scene image that require more detailed information.

For example, if you look closely in the accompanying image of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge – taken from a scene in an actual scape – you’ll see a whitepoint. Your virtual tour user could tap that point on his or her mobile device and get your ideas or more information on the steel used in the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Another Opportunity for Descriptive Content

Currently, our scene image editing and authoring capabilities do offer a field for text-based descriptive content. But, as our authors have noticed, that text does not yet display in the scapes. Future plans for scape display do utilize that content. It is not yet being used beyond basic search capability. So, it is helpful to add that information, just don’t think something is broken if you can’t view that text.

Descriptive content in Golden Gate Bridge Whitepoint virtual tour scene image

This is the same scene image from the Golden Gate Bridge Whitepoint virtual tour. More descriptive content has been added graphically to the image.

If you believe scene images like the accompanying Golden Gate Bridge image are deserving of text content, it’s easy to accomplish. Simply add the text when editing the scene image before your upload.

In our testing, we’ve found that sizing the scape image to about 900 pixels wide x 500 pixels high first, then adding your text is the best approach. This way you can judge what looks best in text vs image size.

Whitepoint Virtual Tours as Presentations

Taking it a step further, this is how Whitepoint virtual tours can actually be used as presentations.

Whitepoint virtual tour as presentation tool

This is an actual scene image from a Whitepoint virtual tour used as a presentation. The scene image features text, and whitepoints offer opportunities for more information.

In the accompanying image, you see a scene image that utilizes only text – this is simply a graphic that was uploaded as a scene image. In this example, the whitepoints are intended as jumping off points for more detailed exploration of a particular phrase or idea.

. . . kind of like a smarter virtual tour of a concept.

Do you have a question about authoring your Whitepoint virtual tour? Maybe you haven’t signed up as an author yet? Please, share your questions with us – we look forward to hearing from you.

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#EdTech in Action: South Asheboro Middle School

With a little help from technology, students at South Asheboro Middle School – as well as their community – have benefited greatly from the efforts of enterprising staff at their school.

EdTech in Action

Walking tour app and EdTech

Students at South Asheboro Middle School created a Whitepoint scape to guide others on a walking tour of their historic downtown. Above, their custom scape image – with scene points – depicts the town.

Featured recently in a community publication, their story is an excellent case study in how education technology tools can enrich student learning.

As Barry Barber, technology facilitator at South Asheboro Middle School, states in the article:

From researching the history of Asheboro at the public library to taking a tour with a local historian, the students have learned a lot . . . Putting together the information into a mobile app has given our students real-world experience in collaboration, creative thinking, and problem solving.

A recipient of a small education grant in 2014, the group has spread their technology purchases across disciplines, stretching the value of those tools and maximizing their educational application.

But, at the heart of any effort like this are good people that make things happen.

A Featured Whitepoint Scape

We’re proud to present the Historic Downtown Asheboro walking tour – built by students at South Asheboro Middle School – as a featured Whitepoint scape, available in the free Whitepoint app on iOS or Android.

Good work students and educators!

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The Art Basel Miami Week Guide 2014

Art lovers, each year we update and edit our guide to the Art Basel Miami week fairs. Well, it’s that time again.  If you’ve never been, it’s unbelievable the amount of art (and number of people) that descend upon Miami. The weather isn’t bad either.

Want To Include Your Fair or Installation in Our Art Fair Guide?

Use the contact tab or tweet @WhitepointMobi with #ArtBaselMiami and let us know.

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A Content Management System for Smarter Virtual Tours

We recently had a project come through that specified data storage requirements. The resulting discussion got us thinking again about Whitepoint as a content management system for smarter virtual tours.

Smarter Virtual Tours Can Mean Lots of Content

Statue as stop on virtual tour - content management system helps organize information.

For this stop on a virtual tour, you might have a number of related links for more information. This is where a content management system helps.

Constructing and managing a virtual tour kicks up a good bit of content of different types. What we’ve found from experience is that the gathering of all that related content can be the most burdensome aspect of virtual tour construction.

In a Whitepoint virtual tour, what is largely stored are images and other content associated with data points (whitepoints). These points are the aspect of the tour most likely to change, move around, and get updated.

As a result, Whitepoint acts as a content management system to help you keep those whitepoints in tact and available for future use wherever necessary. For example, you have the option to delete whitepoint information entirely or save it for the future. This comes in handy especially in situations such as museum tours – where data points are likely to shift in the space periodically.

Here’s One Way a Content Management System Helps

It isn’t so much that audio and video files need to be stored and managed, it’s that each data point has attributes that need to be managed. This is where the difference lies between a content management system and a system for file storage.

For example, each data point consists (hopefully) of an image, text content, and other information. For each of those data points, our content management system provides for multiple social media tie-ins as well as what we call a widget. A widget can be a link to an audio or video file on a Vimeo or YouTube account, for example. Keeping all of these associations organized and reusable is not only convenient, it’s a headache and time saver.

Whitepoint (As Content Management System) + Dropbox (As File Management System) = Virtual Tour Construction Bliss

Content management system for smarter virtual touring - an image of a city at night.

Lots of different images in your virtual tour – the city at evening or the same city at daytime, for example – are tough to keep track of.

Generating content is a headache for most organizations. With virtual tours especially, different types of content can come from lots of different places – different people, desktop computers, or mobile devices.

As a result, a shared folder on Dropbox works extremely well for collaborating on virtual tour projects (Whitepoint does support authoring by teams, by the way). We’ve also shared some ideas on file naming conventions to use in these scenarios.

The expectations for virtual tours are expanding, and it isn’t too much to expect more when you’re building one. A content management system for smarter virtual tour content is a good place to start.

What are your expectations in a content management system when building a virtual tour? Have you found a file sharing tool you like? Tell us!

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How To Use Whitepoint As a Guided Walking Tour App

We receive a lot of inquiries about using Whitepoint as a guided walking tour app in everything from cemeteries to towns. Recently, some inquiries got us thinking about frequently asked questions and additional possibilities for these use. That means it’s time to tackle the subject of guided walking tours.

Bumps In The Road When Building A Guided Walking Tour

First off, guided walking tours – whether across a city or outdoor exhibit – pose a number of problems that Whitepoint naturally addresses.

Tour Guides and Interactivity

Guided walking tour of town at night.

A guided walking tour app can tell visitors where to start and the significance of those quaint storefronts.

Tour guides aren’t always available for guided walking tours, and you want to deliver a lot of information. At the same time, you don’t want to bore people – you want them to be able to access the information they want when they want it.

Lots of signage and brochures – which you’ll have to update and print over again – aren’t necessary. The key is interactivity, which gives your audience the flexibility to discover the information they’re looking for. The Whitepoint framework provides ample opportunity to share lots of information, pictures, and even links to more information.

Going Mobile

Guided walking tours are by their very nature mobile.  Most of your audience – or at least a member of the group with which they’re traveling – is already carrying a mobile device. Why not use that to deliver an interactive presentation?

Whitepoint offers an iOS and Android app already available for free download to access your guided walking tour presentation.

What About Kiosks?

Kiosks can be a great solution for a guided walking tour. In this scenario, a tablet or similar device is available and acts as a kiosk at each stop. You may or may not decide to encourage visitors to access the tour information using their own devices.

You could also issue your own devices for visitors to use. In both of these scenarios, Whitepoint helps you manage and deliver your guided walking tour content.

Frequently Asked Questions For Guided Walking Tours

Here are some of the questions we’ve received regarding Whitepoint as a guided walking tour app:

Whitepoint’s tour content is divided into three types: Scapes, scenes, and whitepoints. How do these types of content play into my guided walking tour?

“Scape” is essentially our word for tour. Therefore, your scape may be of a historic district or home. Scenes could represent portions of your tour – such as streets of a district or rooms in a home.

Whitepoints are like data points. You share a dedicated image, text, and links for more information about a specific thing or aspect of something. They can be specific stops along a street or important aspects of a room, such as furniture or portraits.

Almost anything can be a scape as well. So, the home that is a whitepoint in a larger scape of a historic district, might deserve it’s own separate scape too.

What if I have lots of images I would like to use for a single whitepoint?

We suggest choosing the best image for the whitepoint, then you can provide a link to additional images in a Pinterest or Instagram account. To do so, you will use the widget capability available in whitepoints. It’s easy.

How do people download the app and access the guided Walking Tour on their mobile device?

There are several ways, but this method minimizes any potential confusion for your guided walking tour:

  1. Post stickers that provide a QR code for the free Whitepoint Android and iOS app download.
  2. In the Whitepoint app, instruct visitors to search for a keyword that describes your guided walking tour, such as “Springfield Homes.”

Do you have other questions about Whitepoint as a guided walking tour app? Or, do you have ideas or examples of a guided walking tour? Please do share below!

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How To: Posting QR Codes and Stickers For Free Whitepoint Tour App

We’ve made reference in the past to QR codes and stickers – including in a recent article on using Whitepoint as a guided walking tour app – offering visitors a free download of the Whitepoint app.

These are great for posting at each stop of a walking tour, at the front door, or at an information desk.

The following graphics are suitable for printing and provide QR codes for both iOS and Android. If you wish to print stickers especially, we recommend the PDF files and uPrinting.com for best results.

Download Whitepoint in Google Play.

This nifty graphic with QR codes is available in iOS App Store and Google Play varieties for your smart tour needs.

Android

PNG File: Google Play Whitepoint App Download Graphic with QR Code (less than 1MB)

PDF File: Google Play Whitepoint App Download Graphic with QR Code (less than 1MB)

iOS

PNG File: iOS Whitepoint App Download Graphic with QR Code (less than 1MB)

PDF File: iOS Whitepoint App Download Graphic with QR Code (less than 1MB)

Questions? Tweet us @WhitepointMobi or comment below.

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5 Tips For More Meaningful Content When You Create a Virtual Tour

Pictures are great. Sometimes the 360 degree spin-around can work too. But many places, properties, and products require more than just pictures when you create a virtual tour.

We recently explored the topic of virtual tour marketing as a tool for business and the many subjects that virtual tours can be based on. Regardless of your subject when you create a virtual tour, here are some ideas to remember about the quality of your content.

And, whether or not you use Whitepoint to create a virtual tour, these tips will be of help.

First, A Few Words About Products and Places as Tour Subjects

Create a virtual tour of a car dashboard

This dashboard may be old, but it’s still confusing – when you create a virtual tour, images alone are no longer enough.

A picture of the back of a Blu-Ray player doesn’t explain much. How about the dashboard of a Ford Fusion?  An ice cream counter? The different restaurant options at a resort?

You may not have to create a virtual tour based on any of the above. But, each of these subjects illustrates the potential for rich, meaningful content when you create a virtual tour.

With easy access to information via mobile devices, consumers are demanding a level of detail that goes beyond what was offered in the slideshows of the past. If you are selling something – whether a place, product, or experience – and you want to create a virtual tour, you have to remember this fact.

5 Tips for More Meaningful Content When You Create a Virtual Tour

  1. What are the aspects of your place or product that customers ask about repeatedly? A simple picture may not suffice. Can you use data points to communicate more in-depth information? In the Whitepoint virtual tour framework, those data points are called whitepoints.
  2. What are the aspects of your subject – whether it’s a place or location – that cause the most guest services or customer service headaches? When you create a virtual tour, you may need to get feedback from staff or even customers to identify these aspects. You may need to either dedicate more images to that aspect of your virtual tour or try thinking in terms of data points (whitepoints).
  3. What are the features of your place or product that cause faces to light up? Odds are when you’ve described your product or destination, there was a specific part that got a distinct and positive reaction from your listener. Be sure to focus on that when you create a virtual tour.
  4. Does your subject photograph better at a particular time of day? Is an aspect of it more appealing at a specific time of day?
  5. What are the angles that best showcase your subject? Certain aspects of your destination or product may be more easily explained when displayed in a certain position or from a certain angle. Your team and customers may give you better insights on this.

Hopefully these tips help provide new ideas – or at least new perspectives – on how to improve the quality of content when you create a virtual tour. After all, it isn’t just about taking pretty pictures anymore.

Do you have any ideas to add? We’d like to hear from you.

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Is Virtual Tour Marketing a Tool For Your Business?

Virtual tour marketing is an obvious tool for the residential real estate industry. However, there are other areas where virtual tour marketing can help catch new eyeballs and new revenue.

Virtual Tour Marketing: What Is It?

First, let’s define virtual tour marketing as using images and technology to capture the interest of potential customers for a place, event, or product.

For years, putting linear style photo tours online so the tours were viewable on desktop computers was enough. Now, more and more, mobile devices are responsible for a large portion of total web traffic. Imagine how much of it is on demand traffic while in a retail store or in front of a travel destination. Therefore, we now have to make sure that mobile devices – phones and tablets – are included in the technology part of our definition.

Virtual tour marketing can help market products as different as messenger bags and laptops.

This messenger bag and Chromebook both have a lot of features. Despite the dramatic differences between these types of products, virtual tour marketing can help engage customers with both.

Again, virtual tour marketing always comes to mind in the real estate market. In fact, virtual tour marketing is now an expectation of customers in that industry. And, along those lines, anyone in the hospitality industry has come to realize the value of customers “seeing” properties online or on mobile devices.

Therefore, hotels, resorts, casinos, and restaurants are all great candidates for also putting virtual tour marketing to to work.

Virtual Tour Marketing for Products: It Helps Capture Customers

Consumers are educating themselves and purchasing more and more online. If you sell something, it’s important to find new ways to get the information to customers that they need. As a result, tours of products are playing more critical roles in winning customers.

For some time, pictures online were enough to differentiate a product offering. Now, there is more competition in winning customer attention. Bicycles, electronics, medical devices, and cars are just as deserving of a “tour” as any place or property.

In addition, products like these often require that consumers educate and familiarize themselves after the purchase as well. Virtual tour marketing can also be a tool used to educate existing customers and keep them coming back – product orientation and tech support are both areas where virtual tour marketing can play an ongoing role in customer engagement.

This is why we do what we do at Whitepoint – we can help make virtual tour marketing not only smarter, but more effective.

Do you have ideas on how virtual tour marketing might impact your business? Let’s discuss . . . 

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Our Virtual Campus Tour Software Is Now An Even Better Deal

As of today, we now have an additional benefit that is exclusive to schools: We are now offering a free uplift for all academic institutions from our Pro Plan to our Premier Plan. This makes a virtual campus tour solution for more reasonable for any school – from universities to charter schools to daycare facilities.

Here’s How our Academic Offer Works

If you’re a school or part of a school and want to use Whitepoint to provide a virtual campus tour, you’re in the right place. Or, maybe you want to use Whitepoint as an educational technology tool. No problem. Simply view our Pro Authoring option. We’ll confirm that you’re an academic institution based on your email address.

Here’s What Our Academic Offering Means for Your School

Whitepoint virtual campus tour demonstration

Whether a small private school or a globally recognized campus, Whitepoint is now an affordable virtual campus tour software for all.

This offer provides plenty of benefits that are perfect for schools:

  • More smart tours that can be built by students, departments, anyone.
  • Custom branding capabilities.
  • Reduced cost of more than 50%.
  • More flexible monthly payment.

Essentially, our academic offering means we’re providing you benefits of our Premier Plan ($1499.99) at $49.99 a month.

Technically, this is a limited time offer, so we can’t guarantee that it will be around forever. If you have been looking for a virtual campus tour solution, this is a great chance for your school.

A Virtual Campus Tour and Educational Technology In One Package

Now, your school can provide a virtual campus tour for your web site and mobile devices without taking on app development or reconstructing your web site. Building a virtual campus tour can also offer students experience in content management and curation as an educational technology tool. Or, you may wish to use Whitepoint as an educational tool in the classroom.

With the benefits of our Premier Plan, you can construct up to 10 scapes – for example, you may wish to break your virtual campus tour into separate smart tours. For most schools, 10 scapes is plenty. For larger schools, separate departments and even classrooms can have their own authoring subscriptions.

Several Virtual Campus Tour Plans Available

Our Basic Plan is of course free to everyone all the time – whether used for a virtual campus tour or product demonstration. Compare the Basic, Pro, and Premier offerings. Sign up as an author. At the very least, you can use our Basic Plan for free.

Reach out or comment below and tell us about your virtual campus tour needs. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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