MIT Celebrates 100 Years Of Its Cambridge Campus

Stata Center Whitepoint tour screenshot

Screenshot from the Whitepoint tour, “100 Years of the East Side,” featuring the striking architecture of the Stata Center and related points of interest.

What do you think of when you think of MIT?

It may not necessarily be history that comes to mind first. But, there’s quite a bit of it on the Cambridge campus.

In fact, the campus opened one hundred years ago in 1916 when MIT relocated from Boston’s Back Bay.

A Virtual Campus Stroll

A recent Whitepoint scape highlights aspects of the campus’ eastside on the occasion of the Cambridge centennial. From Killian Court and the Walker Memorial to the striking Stata Center, images and rich text content walk virtual tourists through the venerable campus.

What really sets this scape apart is the inclusion of widget links to additional photos hosted on Google as well as Vimeo videos. So, not only do visitors get the colorful textual content, they can access relevant multimedia content to enrich the context and their understanding. There really are some interesting aspects to the MIT story that would otherwise be overlooked.

Another Whitepoint Featured Scape

We congratulate everyone involved in the centennial celebration at MIT and are proud to present “100 Years of the East Side” as a featured Whitepoint scape.

As with any Whitepoint scape, the tour is available to anyone on the free Whitepoint app available for both Android and Apple iOS. Just download and search “MIT.”

And of course any school, community, or historical district can offer a smarter tour for their visitors and virtual tourists too – just visit Whitepoint to learn more.

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How Can I Generate Business Using Whitepoint?

Every business is different, and the Whitepoint framework provides a great deal of flexibility in developing and delivering smarter virtual tour content for mobile. Whether it’s a store, product, or training, smarter virtual touring that’s mobile-friendly can probably help.

Generate Business for a Store or Space

Light bulb - find that one idea to generate business.

Looking for that right idea to generate business? Today, smarter virtual touring offers a number of possibilities.

This is the most obvious application, and you can think of Whitepoint as providing the next generation of virtual touring. It’s easy to see how you can generate business with a better view of your store or commercial space. Event rental spaces are a perfect example.

Basically, here’s how it works: You upload pictures of your space and share more in-depth information about what’s in those images. Maybe you wish to highlight a particular feature of your event rental space for example. Click to make the scape active (a scape is what we call any tour or collection of content) and customers or clients can access it using the Whitepoint app or via ScapeViewer for desktop browsers.

Share Smarter Information About a Product

With Whitepoint, you can share meaningful content about a product to help sell it. You control the content and highlight the strengths of the product. Think about that special leather package in a car, for example. You may even want to provide different types of presentations for different customer audiences.

And, just like a virtual tour of a space, click to make the scape live, and customers or clients can access that tour using the Whitepoint app or ScapeViewer for users on desktops.

Training, Support, or Corporate Transparency

Whitepoint enables you to easily share visual information – whether photos or graphics – along with descriptive texts and links. Therefore, Whitepoint is a great vehicle – and alternative to death by Powerpoint – for providing a richer experience that can be more easily accessed across teams and geographies. This is perfect for training on equipment, support of equipment and products, or tours of spaces to which the public doesn’t otherwise have access.

Upload and edit the content, click to make the scape live, and employees, customers, or stakeholders can access that tour using Whitepoint technology from desktop browsers or mobile apps. We also offer private and public access capabilities.

Delivering Your Tour Content

So, what about delivery of your tour content? Once live, the scape is available several ways – and you can use any one or combination of vehicles to provide your content:

  1. On mobile devices: Interested parties can find your content on their phones or tablets using the free Whitepoint app.
  2. From desktops: Using our ScapeViewer technology, you can link to the tour from your web site. We’ll provide you a neat piece of code and the graphic. Got questions? Reach out to us and ask.
  3. From a kiosk or tablet you provide: Onsite, you can provide tablets and/or a kiosk on which the Whitepoint app is running with your scape. You can pretty much spend what you want on any tablets or kiosks. Right now, we suggest Android, because the hardware choices are more plentiful and less expensive. And, here’s an idea: You can even custom brand your own tablets now.

And, don’t forget: When you create and edit content, you do that in one place – from our Authoring Panel online. The content is updated simultaneously across the three delivery vehicles listed above.

That’s right: You edit once and update across the board. Think about that ease of maintenance if someone suggests that your business must have a personally branded native app.

So, go ahead. Get started now with Whitepoint, and happy #whitepointing.

Updated April 28, 2016.

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Building a Free Custom Tour App with Whitepoint

Everybody wants their own custom app. What few realize is that beyond the substantial upfront expense, you now have ongoing expenses, tour app updates, and you’ve got to drive traffic to that app as well – just like a web site.

And for most, driving traffic to a web site is a tough enough challenge.

So Many Custom Apps, So Little Time

Before we get into how Whitepoint offers free custom tour app capability to almost anyone, let’s clear the air on one topic: There are already a lot of apps out there.

Custom tour app for a village view

You bring a unique perspective and viewpoint to your subject – whether it’s a town, a school, an exhibition, or a piece of real estate. A custom tour helps you communicate that perspective.

Launching another tour app means taking on more marketing duties to push that app. Jeremy Olson details the uphill challenges in a great Smashing Magazine article on app marketing.

Save yourself some of that trouble. Whitepoint has designed its tour app building platform so that you can focus more on the content generation for the tour, than developing, packaging, and getting people to download yet another app.

Leverage an Already Existing Free App

As a result, when you build a tour using Whitepoint, you’re not generating another new app – your tour (called a scape) is immediately available via iOS and Android from the free Whitepoint app.

Yes, people will have to download the Whitepoint app to access your tour, but you’re already starting out with several advantages including an existing user base on a tested tour app technology.

This also means that people won’t technically be downloading your standalone custom app – instead, they’ll be viewing your own custom Whitepoint scape. If you have a physical location, we even have nifty stickers that you can use claiming your location as a Whitepoint site and providing the QR code for download. And, that’s one more thing you won’t have to do.

But Wait, There’s More (To this App)

Your scape is also simultaneously available to desktop Web surfers with our ScapeViewer ™ technology. That means that with a simple snippet of code on your web site, you can link the same tour that your app users are taking. No app download necessary.

This also means that you’re immediately synching content delivered via iOS, Android, and desktop browsers at one time and in one place: at the Whitepoint Authoring Panel. And, yes, that’s right – you’re not updating content for three different platforms separately.

So, How Do You Get Tour App Capability for Free?

For most, Basic Authoring is more than enough capability. If additional capabilities are needed – including custom branding opportunities – there are options with expanded features for that. Get started with Whitepoint right now.

For your visitors or tour users, the Whitepoint app download is free.

And, how do you start building your scape? Take a look at our YouTube video on beginning authoring. In short, it involves little more than building a Facebook profile, adding pictures, and tagging them.

A Real World Example: The Arts Community

There are a number applications for Whitepoint across countless industries. For example, let’s look at the arts:

Odds are that you’ve thought of a similar application given the above examples: How about real estate tours? Office tours? Medical office tours?

And, once you have your scape built, you have a lot of flexibility in terms of driving your business. We’ve studied a few innovative ideas for content delivery using Whitepoint, including Google TV and tour kiosks. You can also save your scape to dedicated tablets which visitors use to access the tour app onsite.

This is all fun stuff – and it’s a lot cheaper and less time consuming than taking off with your own custom app development project. Got ideas or comments? Just send them to us below or by Twitter, Facebook, or Google +. We’d love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, happy #whitepointing.

Updated March 28, 2016.

Matthew White

Matthew White blogs on all things related to virtual tours, mobile touring, and tour apps as well as how they relate to web design, SEO, and content marketing. There is also of course helpful information on using Whitepoint - the framework for smarter virtual touring and mobile-friendly tours.

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History Over 88 Acres: The Fort Clark Historic District Tour

Image from Fort Clark Historic District with whitepoint plotted

The Empty Saddle Statue at Cavalry Park, Fort Clark Historic District in Texas. (From the Fort Clark Historic District Whitepoint scape.)

The Fort Clark Historic District, a sprawling 88 acre expanse, is both a U.S. Historic District and on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It has a rich story in terms of the American frontier as well as military history. It’s also known for its architecture and the historic integrity of its site. Needless to say, it’s definitely worth a visit.

And think about it: 88 acres is a large space. Disneyland, for example, is just 85 acres.

Considering Fort Clark’s history goes back to 1852, that means lots of information and photographs. Time tends to generate that kind of stuff.

So Many Tour Stops, So Little Time

If you were taking the self-guided walking tour, it would be a bit of a time investment, and luckily, there are various maps provided on the Friends of Fort Clark Historic District web site.

And, recently the group’s leadership decided to also tackle compiling images of this historic district as a Whitepoint tour for mobile devices.

In their 25+ scene tour for mobile devices, supporters of the Fort Clark Historic District share images and information plotted across the sprawling area. Whether it’s an officer’s club, the post swimming pool, the hospital, or any of the numerous quarters, there’s a photo and certainly a story behind it.

. . . And Another Featured Whitepoint Scape

Fort Clark Historic District scene from above

Scene from the Fort Clark Historic District scape. Two whitepoints are plotted in this scene.

We’re proudly highlighting the Fort Clark Historic District tour for Whitepoint as a featured scape. As with any tour built on the mobile-friendly Whitepoint platform, the Fort Clark Historic District scape is available for viewing on the free Whitepoint app available on Android and Apple iOS.

We look forward to seeing how this tour expands and evolves over time. There is no shortage of material at Fort Clark to work from.

Don’t forget – anyone and any community group can build a historical tour and offer it for mobile devices. Just visit whitepoint.mobi to learn more.

Do you know someone or a historical group that might be interested in sharing more using Whitepoint?

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Adding Video and Audio To Your Virtual Tour

Need a walking or virtual tour that includes audio or video? We’re routinely asked how this can be done with the Whitepoint platform for smarter virtual tours. Here’s how.

First, A Bit About Whitepoint Tour Structure for Smarter Tours

Your tour – whether it’s a walking tour or a virtual tour – is referred to as a scape. Scapes have scenes, and within those scenes are points of interest, or whitepoints. You can learn more about tour structure and getting started building a Whitepoint tour in our YouTube tutorials.

Whitepoints provide the opportunity for text and an image. They also provide linking capability with widgets.

Widgets Are How You Link To Audio or Video

Headphones for audio and video tour

You can easily add audio or video to your Whitepoint tour using widgets.

Widgets can be used for links to YouTube and Vimeo files, for example. If you have a separate video or audio file hosted somewhere, that works too. In short, all you need is an audio or video file with a web address. If you have that, the file can be linked from a whitepoint of your choice.

In the Authoring Panel, you’ll simply add that link in the widget link field for the associated whitepoint.

This capability is included at no additional charge in all Whitepoint authoring subscription plans.

Some Things To Keep In Mind About Audio and Video In Tours

There are a few things to remember when you add audio or video to your smarter virtual or walking tour:

  • Your users or visitors will need Internet connectivity to access the audio and video linked using widgets in your tour, even if the scape is saved to the device.
  • Depending on your user’s mobile OS, the content will open separately in the default app for that content type. YouTube or Vimeo content for example will open in the YouTube or Vimeo apps, if installed on that device.

Need Embedded Audio or Video In Your Tour?

Again, the capability discussed above is included at no additional charge in all Whitepoint authoring subscription plans.

Embedded audio or video in your scape however can be accomplished with our custom authoring and app plans. If you’re interested, reach out and let us know.

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A Smarter Historical Walking Tour: Olmsted Falls

Olmsted Falls

Screenshot from the Olmsted Falls, OH Whitepoint walking tour.

To be fair, many historical walking tours are also architecture tours and vice versa. A look through the Whitepoint tour built of Olmsted Falls, OH reveals plenty of walking tour options that take visitors through years of history, architecture, and craftsmanship in this little known area of the country.

Like any good walking tour, there’s a little something for everybody.

A Historical Walking Tour First and Foremost

Whitepoint shown for Olmsted Falls, OH - historical walking tour on Whitepoint

A whitepoint from the Olmsted Falls, OH historical walking tour for mobile.

When building a walking tour of any area, one of the challenges of course is determining the size and scope of that tour. For the Olmsted Falls tour however, multiple stages are planned for the visitor – eleven scenes in all for the tour in fact – and this provides plenty of material for visitors and residents to organize their approach to exploring the area.

By arranging it this way, guests can break the tour up over a number of days or separate visits. It’s a smart way to do it, and one that we haven’t seen in other historical walking tours built yet on the Whitepoint platform.

Whitepoint Scene Image - Olmsted Falls

Scene image from the Olmsted Falls historical walking tour on Whitepoint.

From churches to historic homes, craftsmanship and culture, there is plenty to dig into on this tour. Much of the content explores aspects of the area dating from the early 1800’s and all is accessible – and engaging – to both children and adults. It also neatly makes connections between history and current standing structures. By utilizing Whitepoint widgets, the tour’s content and scope could be even further expanded with audio and video if desired.

Another Featured Whitepoint Scape

We’re proud to present the Olmsted Falls, OH Walking Tour as a featured Whitepoint scape. To all involved in constructing this historical walking tour, great job! Engaging texts, good content, and interesting subject matter help make this a truly smarter walking tour. We know students, tourists, and your community are getting new perspectives on your home.

As with any Whitepoint scape, the tour is available to anyone on the free Whitepoint app available for both Android and Apple iOS. And, any community can build a historical walking tour of their home – just visit Whitepoint to learn more.

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3 Ways Your Web Agency Can Make Money With Whitepoint

Is your web agency or online marketing business looking to expand its revenue streams? If so, great! And, if not . . . you should be.

Luckily, there are a number of ways you can drive revenue with Whitepoint depending on the revenue goals and business model of your specific web agency. We’re sharing a few of them here based on recent conversations and questions from businesses like yours.

The Key Is Flexibility for Your Web Agency

As you may already know, we offer free plans for anyone to build smarter virtual tours of places and things. As a web agency, your value is the ability to generate and maintain useful content, and that’s what your clients demand from you.

The Whitepoint platform is designed with maximum flexibility in mind. That means you as a web agency can deliver content in a number of ways, as you’ll see below.

We provide the platform to help manage and structure both the content itself plus its delivery.

And, you? You get to focus on delighting your clients.

#1 – Deliver a Custom Tour App At a Fraction of the Cost

Just turn the key - opportunity for your web agencyWe offer the ability to deliver custom iOS and Android apps that deliver a customized smarter tour experience utilizing the Whitepoint platform and tour logic. You get immediate access to the back end, administrative, and CMS style infrastructure that helps you design, manage, update, and deliver that smarter content.

This means greater, ongoing revenue opportunities for your web agency. Interested? Reach out.

#2 – Offer a Custom Tour App That Integrates Multiple Client Accounts

Just turn the key - 2 of 3 opportunities for a web agencyDo you have an existing or prospective client such as a cultural district, real estate development, tourism bureau, or region? Or, do you see an opportunity to create one?

Whitepoint can be used to provide an app-based smarter virtual or walking tour of the area. Accounts – such as restaurants, museums, and retail shops – pay to be included as stops along the tour either as scenes or whitepoints.

And guess what? Each of those stops – whether restaurant, museum, or shop – are candidates for their own Whitepoint scapes too. Sound good? Let us know how we can help.

#3 – Manage Whitepoint Scapes For Customers

Just turn the key - 3 of 3 opportunities for a web agencyIf you or your customer aren’t feeling the whole custom app thing, you and your clients can leverage Whitepoint’s free iOS and Android apps to deliver smarter virtual and walking tours. You’ll want either our Pro or Premier authoring subscription plan for your client.

From there, you design, manage, and update content to your client’s wishes. We’re here to help your web agency leverage this opportunity.

Finally, Whitepoint Makes It Even More Profitable For Your Web Agency

As a web agency, you qualify for our Virtual Tour Partner Program which offers deep discounts to you . . . just for being an agency.

Need help or more ideas? Got questions about a particular job? We want to hear from you – reach out today.

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A Smarter Walking Tour: Art On The Riverwalk

A river and two hundred years of shipbuilding have helped shape the people and unique identity of Milford, Delaware. Now more people are learning about that identity thanks to artists, students, residents, and some corporate sponsors through their Art on the Riverwalk Tour project.

Walking Tour Scape Image - Art on the Riverwalk Tour

Image from the Milford, Delaware Art on the Riverwalk Tour scape in the Whitepoint tour app. The numbers represent the scene points.

Some years ago, one of the ships that had been built in a Milford shipyard in the early 1900’s was rediscovered. The Augusta was restored and now enjoys a new life as a reminder of Milford’s past and also as a new source of inspiration.

For the town’s Art on the Riverwalk Tour project, eighteen sculptures inspired by the Augusta were created – many by artists and students teaming up – and are now displayed along Milford’s Riverwalk.

The resulting walking tour amid these sculptures, along the river, and through the town is creating new ways for locals and visitors to discover and engage with Milford.

A Featured Whitepoint Scape

We’re proud to present Milford, Delaware’s Art on the Riverwalk Tour as a featured Whitepoint scape.

Walking Tour - Sculpture on Milford, Delaware Art on the Riverwalk Tour

Image from the Milford, Delaware Art on the Riverwalk Tour scape in the Whitepoint tour app. This scene image captures a sculpture by Cathy Walls, with a whitepoint for more information.

This smarter walking tour was arranged with each of the sculptures representing a scene along the Riverwalk tour. The whitepoints – opportunities for visitors to get more detailed information about points along the tour – provide alternate views of the individual sculptures, pictures of the artists, texts about the works and links for more research.

The Art on the Riverwalk Tour is available to all free of charge via the Whitepoint app on iOS and Android, whether visitors are walking the river or just joining the tour virtually from the comfort of home.

To all involved in the Milford, Delaware Art on the Riverwalk project . . . Great work! Cities across the world can learn from your example.

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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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