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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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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Smart Touring and Educational Technology

Whitepoint was recently mentioned as an educational technology tool in an article on TechFaster. After reading it, we were reminded of several educational technology uses for the Whitepoint platform.

Educational Technology Applications for the Whitepoint Framework

All of these potential uses are perfect for authoring by both students and teachers as part of the learning process. The subject of the scapes might often be the focus, but the very process of authoring can be valuable in learning as well: Gathering, editing, and managing content can offer great learning opportunities for team building and project management.

Virtual Tours of Historic Places

As an educational technology, the most obvious application for the Whitepoint framework is in building and sharing virtual tours of historic places. Because the Whitepoint platform allows for more than just a virtual tour, there is ample opportunity to leverage smarter touring to make interactive encounters with historic places more meaningful.

Interactive Maps

Old map as interactive educational technology.

Using the Whitepoint framework as an educational technology can make this map image a much more meaningful interactive teaching tool.

Generating interactive maps is also another educational technology use for Whitepoint.

Like a smart tour of any historic site, students can use maps with rich content – images, text, and links to audio or video – to learn more about different regions and the world.

In addition, interactive maps can focus on geographic regions during certain points in history, such as Colonial America or the Byzantine era.

Interactive How To’s and Guides

Both teachers and students can leverage the educational technology potential of Whitepoint in building interactive guides. Step by step instructions on performing tasks or interactive guides illustrating processes – such as photosynthesis – can be powerful tools for learning. Having students construct their own guides is one way to pull in cross-disciplinary learning opportunities.

Campus Tours

We’ve written before about Whitepoint as a framework for building and sharing campus tours for students and visitors.

However, the Whitepoint platform can also serve as an educational technology for groups of students in class to build and map tours of their school. In addition to serving as a great orientation tool for new students, this application would provide opportunities for lessons in teamwork, photography, writing, and technology.

Do you have other ideas for Whitepoint as an educational technology? Or, maybe you have questions? We’d love to hear from you.

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The Search for an Online Mobile App Builder

Many businesses want their own custom mobile app. We’ve talked about custom tour apps before on our blog, and there is just something about having your very own app.  In fact, businesses want that app, and they want it now. Ideally, an online mobile app builder would make the process a lot less painful.

Let’s Say a Tool Claims To Be An Online Mobile App Builder . . .

Having your own mobile app requires a number of steps in not only development, but also in the developer account setup and management, app maintenance, and then promotion of that app.

For our purposes here, let’s focus on the development. One tool out there – called PhoneGap – does make it easier to build a basic mobile app. But, it does require scripting, so you are going to need a developer. And, if you’re going to attempt to do anything more than just a simple brochure app, it’s going to get complicated. Quickly.

Our past experience in and around Whitepoint is that you can quickly outgrow PhoneGap. And, once you do outgrow PhoneGap, you may find that having attempted native development from the beginning may have been more productive. Not to knock PhoneGap completely – the framework is easily understood and great for building a simple mobile app.

But, if you’re not a programmer, you may not realize that there are different stages of development. First of course, there’s coding. Then, there’s compiling. PhoneGap launched in recent years the PhoneGap Build cloud service which can greatly simplify this process.

However, when most think of an online mobile app builder, that’s not exactly what they have in mind.

What Kind of Mobile Presence Is Your Business Looking For?

Is Your Business Going Mobile and Looking for an Online Mobile App Builder?

If your business is going mobile, you may be looking for a quick way to do so, like an online mobile app builder. If so, keep some ideas in mind . . .

A lot of businesses and marketing teams simply need to point to a mobile app to say they have one. And that’s understandable. However, it may be more productive to think in terms of establishing a mobile presence, and that can mean more than just having your own app.

There are a lot of factors to consider when establishing and maintaining a mobile presence – why not look at it as a step by step process and establish a broader strategy for going mobile?

At Whitepoint, we’re a kind of mobile virtual tour provider – offering our free framework to help businesses build smart tours for mobile and establish a mobile presence that way. We do have an online interface for building your smart tour. But, we take the hassles out of coding, managing, and maintaining your own dedicated app.

Not quite an online mobile app builder per se, but it’s well worth including in your search for one.

Maybe you know of an online mobile app builder alternative we could feature here . . . if so, tell us about it. Comment below. While you’re at it, why not get started authoring with Whitepoint today?

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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Thoughts on An Exhibition App

Exhibition apps can be expensive and time consuming. Content acquisition and preparation for that app – as for any exhibition guide – requires brains and some grunt work. Yet, the payoff in helping communicate new ideas and engage new patrons can be huge.

There are also interesting approaches that museums can take in the way an exhibition app speaks to different audiences. This of course has important implications for museum outreach.

An Exhibition App Case Study

An important exhibition at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center provides a perfect example of just how an exhibition app can help deliver meaningful, more engaging content to visitors whether on or offsite.

Scene from museum Whitepoint smart tour.

Scene from the Fallen Fruit of Atlanta Whitepoint tour. This exhibition provided countless opportunities for more detail or further explanation.

The exhibition, entitled Fallen Fruit of Atlanta, features more than 270 works divided into over a dozen groups. Each group has significance for the wider meaning of the exhibition and the overall experience.

In addition, with over 270 pieces in the exhibition, there are countless points for engagement and further exploration by visitors. On one hand, there is so much to absorb and on the other hand, so much that can be potentially missed.

Though the exhibition ends in December 2013, you can experience it with the Whitepoint smart tour here:

Different Audiences, Different Approaches

Different audiences have different needs and expectations from an exhibition. Unlike so many other ways of sharing details about specific items on display, an exhibition app – or smart tour – can provide more flexibility in how that information is conveyed.

In the example above, a single voice provides insights for a general art-interested public and facilitates jumping off points for further dialogue. However, an institution could just as easily provide different tours geared toward children or adults with different levels of literacy on the subject. In the end, it boils down to the goals of the institution, and of course, available brains and hands for managing that content.

Regardless, smart tours of spaces and exhibitions will become the expectation as our culture – already bombarded with content from a variety of sources – looks for knowledgeable voices to help them navigate spaces and create more meaningful experiences.

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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A Helpful Guide to the Art Basel Miami Week Fairs (With Tips!)

It’s that time of year again – Art Basel arrives in Miami along with all the excitement and satellite art fairs. For first time visitors, the whole experience is overwhelming enough.

Miami art fair guide screenshot of fairs in Wynwood.

Screenshot from the Whitepoint guide to Miami art fairs.

And, often a reliable guide to all of the fairs can be difficult to find.

We’ve prepared a Whitepoint guide to where fairs are concentrated – you can view it via the link below or download our Android app and search “Miami Art Fairs.”

Some Art Fair Tips (Especially for First Time Visitors)

  • Don’t think that you can see it all the art or even all of the art fairs. You won’t be able to. Focus on a few areas of interest or geographical areas and work from there. Our guide is helpful for planning it out.
  • Pace yourself. Take a break in the afternoon. There are evening events – lots of them. And, you never know when you’ll get sucked into one. Besides, you can quickly get a headache from all of the art if you start in the morning.
  • Pick up cards and handouts. You won’t remember all of the art and people you think you’ll remember.
  • Bring something along to carry those cards and handouts. You can quickly accumulate a lot of art related stuff at the fairs. Bring a bag – nothing is worse than having to go back and do a hotel drop.
  • Plan your stops (but not too much). Fairs are concentrated in South Beach / Miami Beach and also in Wynwood. Our guide to the fairs has them broken down by geographic area, and that can help you plan. But remember to include plenty of buffer and relaxation time. After all, you are at or near the beach.
  • Enjoy. Don’t stress. With all the people, visual stimulation, and points of interest among the art fairs, it is easy to get stressed. Take time and enjoy what you do see. Don’t forget to enjoy some of the fantastic South Beach cuisine as well.

And The Link to the Whitepoint Tour / Guide . . .

Is your fair not yet listed? Let us know . . . email info@whitepoint.mobi.

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Tech Ideas, Insights, and Projects for Museums

Earlier this year, we were briefly mentioned in a document provided by the New Media Consortium called “The NMC Horizon Project Short List (2013 Museum Edition).” I’m glad this resource was brought to my attention, because it provides for museums a wealth of tech insights that would otherwise require a lot of legwork.

Because museums and non-profits are often working with limited resources, just the research alone into tech improvements that might enhance the visitor experience is often difficult. This document details a number of technologies of importance for museums, three of which I’m highlighting here.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Whenever museums consider a tour app rollout, the issue of providing hardware for visitor use will be raised as a major expense. What few museums realize is that they can leverage the proliferation of smart devices already in visitors’ hands.

The obvious technology to leverage in this fashion is the QR code, of course. However, content can be much more rich if a tour app is adopted that can install to iOS and Android devices. Blackberry and Windows devices are nice to have, but iOS and Android are a must.

For those visitors that don’t bring their own device, that’s fine. Two or three low cost tablets can be on hand to provide for their use.

Crowdsourcing for Museums

For a variety of reasons, institutions and curators aren’t often in a hurry to relinquish messaging and interpretation. However, the latest generation of museum visitors expect interaction and diverse viewpoints.

Museums can use technology to help bring context for visitors.

Visitors are now expecting more from museums, and technology can help bridge the gap.

Leveraging the “collective knowledge” of the community or a number of voices that are knowledgeable on the topic helps satisfy this expectation as well as alleviate the workload for understaffed museums. Technology can assist in both collecting and distributing the perspectives of those voices.

Engaging more voices results in a richer dialogue and logically, more traffic.

Augmented Reality

The technology for museums isn’t quite there yet, but once the ball starts rolling, it will happen fast.

The NMC Horizon Project Short List explains augmented reality as a “layering of information over 3D space” that provides new experiences and perspectives. For those not yet familiar with the technology, it sounds like something out of Blade Runner. But, proofs of concept and work in the field tell us that the technology is not that far away.

One of the factors that has delayed adoption of augmented reality is hardware related: Augmented reality is demanding on batteries and requires significant processor capability. And, for museums, associated costs will be significant.

Still, the move toward an augmented reality experience tells us how the curatorial space is changing and what the evolving visitor expectations are.

Do you represent a museum looking to enhance the visitor experience with technology? Please, tell us about it here.

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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Whitepoint: A Virtual Campus Tour Solution

Oglethorpe University recently went live with their Whitepoint campus tour. We had the opportunity earlier in the year to work closely with them in learning what their needs were, what students liked and didn’t like, and what wasn’t effective about their existing virtual campus tour.

Oglethorpe University Virtual Campus Tour Image

An Oglethorpe University campus mobile tour as seen from an earlier version of the Whitepoint app for Android.

For most schools, the virtual campus tour means a number of images of the school with captions, uploaded to their web site. For others, a virtual campus tour may mean a Flash-based virtual walkthrough of the campus, which rarely – if ever – gets updated.

Oglethorpe is a beautiful school with a rich history. And, it’s a perfect case study for how a smart tour can help highlight points of interest. Whether or not your school has hundreds of years of history and stone architecture, prospective students need to see the highlights of a school’s campus. And, existing students, as well as the countless visitors to your campus throughout the year, likely need help navigating it.

Regardless of how you choose to build a smart campus tour, here are a few points to consider:

  • More prospective students are using mobile devices to explore their college choices. Deliver the content in a format that utilizes the benefits of mobile devices and technologies. Pictures of your school’s campus can make a big impact on the iOS retina display, for example.
  • Existing students and visitors are more likely now to be using a mobile device to navigate a school’s campus. Different smart campus tours can be tailored for specific uses such as those of prospective students, existing students, or families visiting the campus for graduation.
  • Tour content should be compelling and dynamic. Static virtual campus tours of the past don’t resonate with today’s prospective student. And, glossy brochures alone logically don’t carry the weight they once did. The expectation now of the prospective student’s demographic is that content be rich, of value, and up-to-date. If you utilize a tour content management tool – like Whitepoint – it makes it easy to manage, update, and deliver that content across desktop and mobile platforms simultaneously.
  • Building another custom app or Flash-based tour will likely mean more content that just doesn’t get updated. By their very nature, Flash-based tour presentations or custom tour apps are less likely to have content updated regularly. Specific skill sets are required and the update process is far more cumbersome.With Whitepoint, management of content is handled online via the authoring panel and largely requires uploading of pictures and writing content. That’s it.

And, last but not least, building smarter virtual tours with Whitepoint is a great way to involve students in a rewarding edtech group activity.

Getting started building a tour with Whitepoint is easy and affordable. There are subscription-based authoring plans available for a variety of tour capabilities.

Already using or thinking about using Whitepoint as a campus tour technology? We’d love to hear from you – just post a comment or tweet @WhitepointMobi.

Happy #whitepointing! You can get started with Whitepoint mobile touring and social mapping today.

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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How to Build Real Estate Tours For Less

The fact of the matter is that real estate tour technology is still woefully behind.

We’ve received reports at Whitepoint about real estate agents paying thousands of dollars per “virtual tour” per property. That’s fine maybe in the $20 million + range of real estate, but a better end result can be had – for a lot cheaper. More about that in a moment.

Real estate tour expectations have changed.

A real estate tour that is mobile friendly and provides greater detail than past tours is becoming the new standard. How else can a walking or riding tour of area homes accommodate today’s buyer and the extraordinary detail some properties require?

Increasingly, users – specifically, potential real estate buyers – are looking for photo-rich content, and they’re doing it via mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. Think about it: The days of opening the newspaper, circling all of the real estate listings, then using that as your guide to go house shopping are over. Buyers are more likely to have mobile devices present while looking for that new home. Or, maybe they don’t even know they’re house hunting when the perfect property magically appears.

How would you go about looking for a new home? You’re reading a blog, and you’re very likely to be reading this blog on a mobile device.

Real Estate Tour Expectations Have Changed

As a result, a real estate tour for mobile is more important than ever. And, by “real estate tour for mobile,” we’re not talking about just another virtual tour. Virtual tours can be problematic for a number of reasons – they may require a plugin for example, or they may be designed for desktops only. That poses problems for the user – your buyer.

The Whitepoint Real Estate Tour Alternative

Real estate agents and even FSBOs can offer a real estate tour of their property using the affordable Whitepoint subscription-based framework. Tours are also simultaneously offered as a desktop-friendly online tour using our ScapeViewer ™ technology.

Authoring a Whitepoint scape – our word for “tour” – requires nothing more than building a virtual tour. And, we provide plenty of resources on building mobile tours with Whitepoint. The first step is getting started with the Whitepoint mobile tour app and authoring technology.

So, you’re not in that $20 million and up crowd, either? Building a mobile friendly real estate tour with the affordable Whitepoint framework makes a lot more sense.

Happy #whitepointing.

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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