2. Virtual Reality Guided Campus Tours
Cost: $$ to $$$$ (depends on length, vendor and number of images used)
What You Need: Software to create virtual guided tours or a company that specializes in creating guided virtual tours.
What Your Audience Needs: The hardware needs are the same as for the 360° photospheres–anything from Google Cardboard to the Google Daydream and Oculus Rift will do.
How it Works/What You Should Know: Think of virtual reality guided tours as a video production that strings together a number of VR-ready 360° photospheres. Many universities have them, and they can be attractive and engaging. A downside is that virtual guided tours limit students’ ability to openly explore your campus, forcing them to stay within the track of the tour.
Another drawback is that, with some vendors, you don’t actually own any of the media or assets that comprise your guided tour, so you cannot use them for other promotional needs online. You may want to negotiate the ability to include several guided tour changes in the initial price, because (following the video production comparison) to make changes to the finished tour can be quite costly.
But guided tours can be influential and enjoyable for students.
3. Virtual Reality – 3D Immersive Campus Model
Cost: $$$ to $$$$+
What You Need: A company or team to build a 3D model of your campus, buildings and interiors. Like 360° photospheres, these 3D models are then processed through software to create the virtual reality experience. The maps developed by CampusBird are VR-ready 3D-immersive models.
What Your Audience Needs: A virtual reality headset with the ability to navigate.
How it Works/What You Should Know: This is often what comes to mind when people think of virtual reality (imagine Second Life). It’s more expensive because it requires the development of a full 3D model of the area where your audience will be virtually exploring, and it also requires a lot of computing power (on both sides). But this is changing. Gaming is leading the charge on 3D immersive models, and we’re likely to see a rapid acceleration in 2017 as new hardware (and VR content) further penetrates the market. This means that more students, and perhaps even their parents, will be ready to access virtual reality.
[Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the CampusBird blog here.]