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American doctors use VR to treat chronic pain in their patients.
Wired
Real Estate

VIRTUAL REALITY TOURS: WHO CAN AFFORD THEM?

Virtual reality tours are a dangerous marketing tool.

You see, 3D visualization destroys the need in presentations, leaflets, and boring speeches full of cliches. No more “comfortable atmosphere of our hotel” and “the windows of your room will look out on the ocean.” No more talking and persuading- storytelling has become story living. And if you want your customers to experience the place and really like it, you need to offer them a virtual reality tour.

3D visualization gives potential clients a perfect opportunity to preview the location, and, what is more important, to react to it emotionally. Seeing, hearing, interacting with the environment is the new level of marketing and sales: it’s everything clients ever dreamt about. Or even more.  How would I feel inside this restaurant? Will my wife like the location of our future apartment? Can I really take a look at the pictures in this museum?

The experience a potential client has with virtual reality tours is different in many ways. It is absolutely emotional, it’s much more tangible in many senses. It’s personal and it’s really interactive.  And what’s the most important is that it absolutely, totally trustworthy.  One thing is when you look through some lifeless photos or watch a video of the hotel you want to stay for a month. Another thing is an amazing, 100% reliable virtual reality tour inside the room.

Observing the sunset and hearing the waves instead of reading the reviews about a hotel and looking through the catalog with photos. What will work better?

Of course, you know the answer. So what do you need for a virtual reality tour

360 video/360 photos/ 3D modelled environment + a skillful developer +  a gifted UI/UX designer

What do you need to create a virtual reality tour?

 

First Stage- Creating Content for the Application

 

If you want to create a 3D tour (or a VR tour how it’s often called), you either need photos 360 or video 360. 3D tour created with 360 video or photos is the possibility to show the environment in detail and with 100% realism.  Showing the place THE WAY IT IS in real life evokes the sense of trust in customers. Because hotels and restaurants are more than food or swimming pools- it’s the atmosphere created with the help of details, colors, textures. It’s something elusive which still can be captured with the help of 3D video.

If the environment doesn’t exist at all, it can be created in 3D from the scratch.  Visualization of future projects in 3D is a competitive advantage for any builder or interior designer. More than that, 3D modeling works best for design agencies that have several variants of the interior to offer their clients.  The choice among several variants is sometimes the best argument for a client.

What’s the difference between video 360 and photos in 360, the logical question is, what shall you choose?

The difference is dynamics- in 360 videos you have dynamics, movement, action, raw emotions. Call it as you like.  For instance, if you are shooting outside, you can capture trees and grass movement. If you are shooting a party, you can catch people dancing, smiling and kissing.  It’s good to create a 3D tour using video for a lab to show how specialists are working and what tools they are using. If the environment is static, such as the hotel’s lobby, photos in 360 will be enough.

Photos 360 can be done with the help of a special camera 360. And then photos will be added to the application. Static shots of a hotel or restaurant. The price for the 360 photo shoot will depend on the equipment needed, the necessity for color correction, and the number of locations.

Video 360 can be used to shoot a football match or a lab. With video 360 you will get more motion and more interaction with the environment. What gadgets do you need to shoot a video 360? You will need a mirror camera or spherical camera.

The price of 360 videos will depend on the following criteria:

The necessity of stitching

Color correction

Music and sound, spatial sound

Cleanup

Creation of infographics

Adding infographics into 360 video

Video editing

 

3D Tour of the Objects that Don’t Exist Yet for Design Agencies or 3D tours of the objects that don’t exist is the ultimate way of persuasion. Of course, it will cost more because the work of 3D modelers: they will have to create the objects that exist only in the imagination so far from scratch. It’s challenging and time-consuming. Yet, it gives so much freedom to designers and to users.  As for the price of 3D modeling for a virtual reality environment, the work can be assessed as per object or as per hour.

One of the major benefits of 3D tours is the user’s freedom to move through the environment. He/she will get the chance to see the objects from different angles, pick them up.

Another benefit is the possibility to add an avatar that will be a guide a user in this space or some textual information that will alleviate a user’s journey.

 

Gadgets

You can use all the headsets that allow watching VR videos on your smartphone- Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream or any other modern headset that can be connected to a smartphone.

If you want to use Google Cardboard, please don’t. With this cardboard, you won’t have any chance to fall in love with VR. It’s like coming to the first date poorly dressed and drunk.

There is another option which presupposes the utilization of high-end gadgets, such as HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.  If a customer wants immaculate graphics and advanced functionality of communication with objects in 3D, these two devices will work the best. With the help of HTC Vive, it will be possible to interact with objects – open the curtains, move the armchair to the other side of the room. HTC Vive or Oculus Rifts 3D tours promise ultimate immersion. And if you have only one chance to impress your customer, these gadgets will work the best for you.

Second Stage- Developer’s Work

 

If a customer provides the scenario of the application and knows exactly what he/she wants, the developer can breathe out. If there is no scenario, it is the task of the developer to think through the logical steps of the application as well as the whole user-story. A user story is a way a user will utilize this application in real life.  Apart from that, the general tasks of a developer will include:

App architecture creation

VR functional implementation

Video 360 implementation if required

Creation of the functionality of the movement

The number of hours spent by a developer will also depend on the device that is used for a future VR  tour. If this app is created for a wide auditory, it means more time will be spent to adjust it to the whole range of devices. If we are speaking about top devices, iPhone 9 or  Samsungs  9S, the quality of the app will be higher so it will require more time.

 

UI/UX

Creating UI/UX for a virtual reality is like playing chess: you have to think about the logic of your steps in advance and create an effective strategy to win…The task of the designer is to help the person get through the virtual environment and help them to locate and find the information.

That is why  UI/UX  for 3 D tours must provide users with searchability.  For this purpose, maps are often used because maps are habitual and easy to perceive. Actually, people love maps that’s why when they see a map in a virtual reality tour they feel relieved- at last, there is something that I understand intuitively!

Arrows and plates are also a good tool to help a user find the way in the dreamy world of VR.  In 3D tours created by 3D modelers, it is possible to add textual information that will serve as guidelines as well.

In other words, in virtual reality tours, users must feel natural and relieved of any stress: they should not lose the sense of self-awareness.

 

Who needs it? 5 Cases of People who Would Die to see it in VR

Hotels & Resorts.  Imagine a family man choosing a hotel to spend a vacation with a family( first time in 5 years!) He wants something beautiful for a wife,  comfortable for kids, and a good bar at the beach. If you give him a headset to enjoy a virtual reality tour and to take a look at a swimming pool, a gym, and a playground for kids, he will most likely say “yes” to your hotel. Because it’s deep emotional experience. Virtual reality hotel tours are something

Builders There is a couple investing all their money in their perfect future apartment where they will raise their children, obviously, they want to see it in all the details. If you handle a headset with a virtual reality tour to a woman, you will see a smile on her face immediately. VR tour is an ultimate way to evoke emotions.

Design Agencies  For design agencies it’s a chance to showcase future interiors to the potential customers.  Imagine a person opening a restaurant: he has an abstract idea but he is a businessman, he can’t visualize it perfectly well, after all, he is a manager, not a designer. It is the mission of design agency to implement in life abstract ideas of customers. Instead of showing sketches, photos or catalogs or even videos designers will offer a couple of virtual reality tours. Case closed because the 3D tour is actually something tangible a person can rely on.

Labs  You task is to persuade a doctor to recommend a private laboratory to his/her patients. It is a good way to show doctors that the labs they use for diagnostics meet all the necessary requirements.  That’s the way to build the trust by demonstrating that the lab is transparent in terms of operations and practices.

Restaurants imagine a businessman choosing a perfect place for a meeting during which he is going to sign the contract that will change his destiny. This restaurant is supposed to be in Beijing.  Any serious businessman would make sure that this place will at least be as good as on the photos. 3D tours don’t lie: you see what you will get. Why not preview the place, if there is such an option? The best strategy is to get ready for everything in advance.  Think about it: people come not to eat food, they come for the comfort of the place.

Museums and Art Galleries.  Your museum has exclusive works of art that can expand consciousness and add new colors and tastes to life. There is no doubt that most galleries and museums would like to share their works with as much audience as possible. Art is a universal language that is understood by anyone anywhere. Virtual reality is the interpreter that speaks that language because it destroys the wall between a viewer and a media.

 

3 Reasons why Virtual Reality Tours are the Thing

 

Why bother creating a virtual reality tour of your restaurant, hotel or a lab? I will tell you 3 reasons, and if you find a counter-argument to any of them, I will gladly accept it. But so far:

 

A virtual reality tour is the possibility to provide your client with 100% trustworthy information about the place. No hidden agenda, no alarms, and no surprises. For most of us, people older than 30 who do business or want to have a vacation once in 3 years this is the major criterion. For a doctor choosing a lab for the patients, this will also be really important.

 

Second, 3D tours evoke intense emotions. You see, for the brain, one of the tasks of which is to interpret the stimuli from the environment, it doesn’t matter if they are real or virtual. So, in the end, the brain will react in the same way to the real sunset observed from a hotel’s room and a virtual sunset created in VR. And the emotions will be 100% real. And you know better than me, that people look for emotions.

And third, virtual reality tours can bring to life the places that don’t exist yet or that existed in the past. How much would you pay for a WOW effect? What if I told you that it’s absolutely affordable?

 

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