The Ricoh 360 Tours App is designed to make creating virtual tours fast, easy and efficient. The boom in VR tours, partly powered by the current global situation, is no longer confined to real estate but this is still the industry that makes most use of it.
Virtual Tours have been used for many years as a marketing tool but large costs and complex workflows limit their use. What’s needed is a system that’s affordable for smaller businesses or cost effective for smaller listings. This is where Ricoh have stepped in with 360 Tours.
There are many VR Tour creators out there with dynamic & unique features, but these are hard to use and expensive. Ricoh claims to have developed a workflow that allows estate agents to create simple VR tour listings specifically tailored to Real Estate on the fly. I’ve been trying Ricoh 360 Tours to see if it’s really possible to create a high quality VR tour with a simple app.
Ricoh 360 Tours App
Unlike all other VR tour creators Ricoh tours is entirely App based. When on location you connect the app with your Ricoh Theta camera and begin shooting the tour. The connection is seamless and easy to do. You’ll have a live preview of your shot and the ability to set a timer to get out of the way while the camera shoots.
You repeat this process for every shot you need to take. Ideally a 360 image for every 5 steps or so. The Ricoh Tours App works with cameras like the Ricoh Theta Z1 and Theta V; both of which are great photographic capabilities.
The Z1 is the much better of the two and is my recommended one if you want a high quality VR tour. The Ricoh Tours app has the ability to boost the quality of your images with an AI editor.
After you’ve finished shooting your images, it’s time to build your tour. Once again this is all done on the app and can even be done on site if you wanted. First you’ll label all of your images by room and link them together. Navigation points will be added which you can move to the appropriate position. You can also add text, information points and pop-up images. These make your VR tours more dynamic and is a great way to provide more information within the tour itself.
While you are doing this your tour will be uploaded to the cloud automatically and soon it will be ready to share.
Before you start sharing it there’s some more information that you should input to allow you to create a full VR tour listing. This is another aspect of Ricoh Tours that sets it apart from other options. You can add a floor plan, listing information, your contact details, company logo & address that will automatically link up with Google Maps.
Once you’ve added all of this information your VR Tour listing is ready to go. As it’s already been uploaded to the cloud as you’ve been editing it’s ready to share. You have many sharing options including link sharing, embedding, social media or instant messaging. The final look of the tour is simple, sleek and professional.
The entire process for this small flat was around 20 minutes. This quick workflow allows the user to create a VR tour for any type of property quickly and efficiently. There’s an analytics tab that will allow you to monitor how many people are viewing your VR tour.
One of the issues I have with Ricoh 360 tours is the lack of customisation options. All of your virtual tours will look pretty much the same when it comes to styling and appearance. Other virtual tour creators feature a range of icons, animations and dynamic features which allows each VR tour to be unique.
The limitations of creating full VR tours for real estate on an app are quite apparent, but Ricoh manages to do the basics very well and add the type of feature Real Estate Agents have been looking for. Considering that just 5 years ago VR tours were limited to the largest of listings with high budgets, the low cost and ease of use that Ricoh Tours opens up this very effective marketing feature for anyone to use.
While this is not the VR tour creator I’d recommend for everyone who wants to create a VR tour. If you want a very high quality tour with lots of interesting & dynamic features then there are other options available. For anyone working in real estate who wants to start incorporating professional VR tours into their business then Ricoh 360 Tours is the go to system.
To learn more about VR tours and 360 cameras subscribe to my YouTube channel.