Well that really depends on who you ask, what company they work for, and the kind of product they are trying to sell you. www.realtourvision.com has been building the world’s largest most powerful network of virtual tour photographers now for over 8 years and we like to think that our definition is among the most accurate out there. We define a virtual tour as a set of images both panoramic and still that give the user a sense of direction, spatial relationship, and depth. Most all virtual tours are released inside of an eye appealing template capable of displaying addition information relevant to the location being toured such as brochures, floor plans, video clips, and quite often audio voice-overs. Virtual tours are also very portable and can be saved to the desktop, emailed, and dispersed across the masses for maximum visibility.
We strongly believe that panoramic virtual reality tours should use a combination of imaging formats to adequately do justice to the tour. At the end of the day we are all in this industry because we want the end user or “Tour Taker” to get what they are looking for and pass those feelings along to the person who initially purchased the virtual tour thus promoting further interest in use of the technology.
Most importantly it is very important that the client ordering the virtual tour knows what they are actually getting when they place their order. Am I getting a virtual panoramic tour that I can interact with by moving and zooming? Am I getting a series of snapshots only here which is coined in the industry as a “Slide Show”? Finally some companies only offer a streaming video solution with no printable images, no interaction or control, but still call it a virtual tour. At the end of the day what we end up with here folks is a lot companies offering way too many technologies that should be going under different names other than a virtual tour but don’t. Why the lies, deception, or lack of being forthright with clients? The answer is simple here. Right now lots of people are searching for and asking for virtual tours. Companies want to get their business and will do whatever it takes to do so even if that means misrepresenting technology and keeping people uninformed as long as possible.
Here is a great example for you. Many of our prospects calling in to order tours from our virtual tour providers look at our panoramic virtual tours and really believe they are looking at a video. This is because the images are moving just like they do in a video. We feel that it is our obligation as a business owners and industry leaders to take a moment to educate them on the underlying technology and let them know what they are actually seeing. Both Real Tour Vision and our vast provider network take this approach with our prospects and feel that the higher road is the best to take for the industry in the long run.
We have seen far too often over the years several companies take advantage of common misconceptions in the industry. People are being sold Video tours under the name virtual tours. They are being pitched hardware free virtual tour systems that only produce second rate panos and slide shows at best. Slide shows for the longest time were called and sold to people who wanted to order virtual tours. Finally, to really top things off, the general public is now being sold “Video” tours but they are actually getting slide shows that move from one image to the next! Most of these virtual tour companies simply let the end users and clients think what they want and don’t correct the people who misunderstand the kind of technology being delivered. In the end this will only leave the general public confused as to what a virtual tour really is and harder for people selling real virtual tours to define their products.
At Real Tour Vision you WILL get the straight talk from us and each and every one of our providers. Letting you know exactly how things work inside and out is our promise to you the client. Every call that we take resulting in a sale or no sale we feel good knowing one more virtual tour shopper out there is better informed about the industry that we love so much. Happy shopping and we hope we can keep you better informed. Our doors are always open to you for your virtual tour technology and industry questions.