It's amazing!... What is it?
Updated: Jan 14, 2019
I have noticed that many people in the area where I live are wowed by the concept of 360° Virtual Reality (VR), whether it is video or photography. But one question has surfaced ever since I started creating 360 visual content... is it for you?
The (Not So) Short Answer
It is a definitive, probable YES followed by the conditional clause IF:
Yes if you are willing to explore and use a different way to showcase/advertise/market your product (these verbs may sound like they mean the same but they do not).
Yes if you feel comfortable interacting with social media (other than your Facebook page), website links and embedded codes (I do not mean to intimidate you with unintelligible terms but the point is you having control of displaying your product).
Yes if you want to diversify the use of your own mobile device (either iOS or Android, we really believe all mobiles are created equal).
Yes if you are the innovative type. And I really mean being original, resourceful and bold (dear people with shinny tops, we love you but we mean differently).
One Year In The Making
On 12 January 2019, I will be celebrating my first year of publishing 360 pictures being very fortunate to have accumulated, over this period of time, more than 2.8 million views on Google Maps, with a specific view of Pretoria accounting for half of that figure.
As my original intention was to explore a new way to see and show my world, I realized this concept could be put to work for someone else's needs and wants.
Along the way, I learnt that 360° VR is still foreign to some people and challenging for others. Very few people got the concept at once... or have heard of it (sic).
To elaborate, 360° VR is foreign because some people have never interacted with it. And believe me, this fact has nothing to do with age, as I have also found young, vibrant university students giving me a face portraying class act incomprehension similar to the one we once showed after attending calculus or statistic methods classes.
It could be challenging when people expect the image to do all the work. And then I think to myself: --if you can navigate on your favorite clothing, shoe or movie theater website, you can do it on a picture, the only difference is doing it in an spherical way. Like, all around you.
Nonetheless, the most common answer I have received is that "it has been used before" or someone knows someone who has done it. Truth is that some people have come across virtual tours in the form of one-view video intending to show a house or a place of interest. Is that a virtual tour? Could be but I blame it mostly on semantics. Can this video be paused, rewound or fast-forwarded? Yes but, still, it will show you only one view.
This is the point when I use the most common cliché in marketing: location, location, location. If you come across a 360° video or picture, you will have the power to visualize the WHOLE area (big emphasis on all around you) at your own discretion and time, being also able to view details or information displayed on it, from the comfort of your axis. Yes, exactly from the position you are located (seated or standing; we are not fussy).
Most recently, I have been putting together a playlist of 360° music videos that has resulted in slightly more than six and a half thousand views, 196 likes and 21 followers... and counting. Small numbers? Could be but I did it on my own. Is this beginner's luck? Most likely but I am competing with myself only and at the same time it is a great INCENTIVE and RESPONSIBILITY that keeps me moving forward and improving my products. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.
So, help me trying to answer the initial question: is 360° visual content for you?
Please, share your thoughts to make this space a diverse and respectful virtual agora.