* Call this an advertorial or an infomercial but I want to declare that I have a business interest in 360Emirates.
* Before this happened I spotted 360Emirates on the Internet and contacted the owners to say, ‘This looks fantastic! When are you coming to do this in Fujairah?’
* They replied and I wrote about their technology in this article, Exploring Fujairah on a 360° Virtual Tour.
* They said they had plans to come and start in Fujairah in 1-2 months but with the local interest being shown the two Dubai-based brothers who run this business have already visited Fujairah and commenced their specialized photography work in this emirate.
* I have accepted their invitation to be the 360° Emirates agent in Fujairah.
Good News for Fujairah
When I first saw the 360 Emirates Panoramas and Virtual Tours I thought this would be ideal for Fujairah businesses, hotels, historic landmarks, clubs, restaurants, craft centres etc.
I say this because I wrote three years ago about the lack of decent maps of Fujairah in this article: ‘Fujairah, I’d like to See That: Good Maps’.
I have written frequently that the most popular article on Fujairah in Focus, which is also downloadable on a PDF document, is this one: Directions from Dubai to Fujairah. Visitors are eager to find maps and get directions.
I have started to make and post a Google Map (How to find it) for places that I am writing about, such as Fujairah’s new mosque, the Friday Market or a helpful Auto Electrician in Fujairah.
In the absence of good Fujairah maps on paper and the city of Fujairah yet to appear on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) the 360° Emirates Panorama and Virtual Tours give Fujairah an opportunity to jump straight to the latest Google Earth Technology.
The word panorama means to see all over and with this state of the art technology whereby photographs are shot and then stitched together you can see all around—360 degrees! This is fantastic if you want to get prospective buyers to see your house for sale, to see the new cars for sale around your car showroom or to see your hotel facilities before they book.
You might be thinking that for you to participate, this technology will be very expensive and beyond your price range. The good thing is that the basic one-off service costs only AED 500 which gets your business appearing on the 360° Emirates/ Fujairah Panorama.
How 360° Emirates Will Help You
First, have a look around on the site 360emirates.com.
Second, even for those who don’t usually read the manuals it’s a good investment of 5 minutes to watch the demo up on the top right of the site. This will introduce you to how to work the maps, panoramas and Virtual Tours with such basic things as:
+ Click and drag the map
+ Zoom in and out with your mouse
+ Click to show Google Earth
+ Select different locations
+ Learn how to recognize and click on ‘hotspots’ which lead to new panoramas.
+ Hitting on the Information image to see the information you can display
+ See how your business can appear on the map which can be maximized
+ Discover how to spin the Panorama around
+ Get more Navigational help so you can drive this well
+ Learn where to switch auto-rotate on and off
+ See the special new views available when you right click
+ Watch part of a Virtual Tour of Al Barari Villas (these go automatically)
Discover the Types of Businesses 360 Emirates will Help
Click on the 360 Emirates Virtual Tours logo (top left) to return to the Home Page.
On the left side under ‘All Panorama’ you will see 103 businesses listed (at the time of writing) starting from the most Popular—see how the Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai has already been viewed more than 74,000 times since April 2009!!
If you click the most Recent, you will see that at the top (at the time of writing) is the Beauty Salon in the St George Hotel in Dubai. Since this was created on 16 September 2010 (only 5 days ago), 1172 people have seen inside this salon!
At the top are the different categories of the businesses and sights that are using this technology to advertise their whereabouts and show off their products—Education, Events, Health, Hotels, Industry, Real Estate, Restaurants, Shopping and Sights.
The Basic Service—AED 500
A good illustration of the worth of the basic service is in the Shopping category called ‘Car Repair Shop Sharjah’. Another easy way to find it is to put the words ‘Car Repair’ into the SEARCH box at the top of the site.
When you click on this Car Repair Shop Panorama it zooms into the location in Sharjah.
There you have a picture of the mechanics who will fix your car.
Start the auto-rotate button at the bottom left and you can see all around this panorama. Stop it at any time to zoom into anything you want to see.
Click on the Information Button to the right and you can see information telling you the basic facts about these mechanics, including their sales pitch that they are ‘the best local car repair shop in Dubai/Sharjah’. Here is where you can put your contact information including your web site address. You could have this information in Arabic and English.
Move your mouse to the right once more and click on the pin indicating Show MAP. Out pops a Google Map which displays different layers (Map, satellite, hybrid, terrain) and at the top right of the map you can maximize it and zoom in and out until you know for certain where to find this place. Or at the top right you can see the red locator button again by clicking on SHOW EARTH.
For AED 500 the Car Repair Shop in Sharjah/Dubai or you can get:
+ A red location dot on the 360 Emirates site (permanent).
+ One panorama photo (so people can get a sense of what you are like) either outside like this Car Repairs or an inside panorama as in the ‘Beauty Salon-St George Hotel, Dubai’.
+ Your location on this Google Map which helps your customers to get directions to your business and find you.
+ The chance to provide basic information about who you are and your contact details.
+ The opportunity for your business to be hosted at 360emirates.com and thereby associated with all the other important businesses including the popular Burj Khalifa. Viewers to these sites can easily search and find your site and business.
+ Your panorama is registered with 360emirates.com and will be initially among the new collection of panoramas or Virtual Tours.
+ For businesses like this Car Repair place you get a web link that you can send to people in your emails or documents. See the way the Car Repair business has been linked to the site 360Cities.
+ Your panorama can be uploaded anywhere you want e.g. embedded on your business web site and linked back to 360emirates.com.
+ High Internet search effectiveness. When people use a Search Engine (Google) and search ‘Car Repair-Dubai and Sharjah’, this is the business that viewers will see first!
+ You will receive an off-line desktop version of your panorama or Virtual Tour on a CD with a designed cover. You can take this around on your laptop to show prospective clients what your business looks like. You can order more of these CDs to send to your prospective clients.
+ All this comes with navigation and usage information about working a Virtual Tour with a sliding Help Panel.
+ You have the chance to ask for your unique control design (the colours, logo and style) that is in keeping with the style of your existing business.
The Advanced Service
At this next level you get all there is in the basic service but here are some examples of what more is possible:
From the home position, search for ‘Maxine Restaurant’. Clicking on this takes you to the front door (Panorama #1) where you can look around the exterior and check to see the parking.
Swing around and then come back and see the next hotspot which takes you into the formal dining area (Panorama #3).
Move around again and you will see another hotspot and this takes you to a comfortable lounge area with television screens (Panorama #4)
All these hotspots can be labeled so viewers don’t get lost on their Virtual Tour.
The charge is AED 500 for each panorama—
* AED 1,000 for the basic service plus a second panorama
* AED 1,500 for a total of three panoramas.
* If you choose to have 10 panoramas and more they are charged at a discounted rate of AED 400 each so:
* 10 panoramas will cost AED 4,000. e.g. Click on the Zayed University (under education) to see an example of this number.
* 20 panoramas will cost AED 8,000.
When you have more than one panorama, as in most of the hotels or Universities, then you get to experience a Virtual Tour. People can explore the different panoramas of your business in the sequence that they desire.
Make sure you have a look at some of the Virtual Tours (listed at the bottom right of the site) with multiple panoramas. The Al Barari Villa Dhalia in Dubai has 26 panoramas to view. Don’t get lost in the Virtual Tour! With all of the hotspots one gets a good idea of the layout of the place before you go.
More Extras for Same Price
Type into the Search at the top, ‘St George Hotel-Dubai’. If the sound is turned up on your computer you will hear racy music and a commentary in both English and Arabic.
On the left side you can see a Navigation Menu which reveals that this hotel has got 8 panoramas which you can tour in whatever order you choose. Have a look inside the rooms and don’t forget to see the ‘Creek Night View’ by clicking on the panorama menu or the hotspot at the top of the hotel. Swing the panorama around and see the view of the Dubai Creek at night and zoom up close. It’s magnificent!
Have a look at the recently created, ‘Creek Night—Dubai’ Panorama which has had almost 3,000 views in less than a week. Turn on the Sound Button! Listen and see the audio and visual effects!
With Facebook being the second most popular Internet site in the UAE (after Google) it is no surprise to learn that 360 Emirates.com has a Facebook Page presence.
At the bottom of each Virtual Tour you can see the opportunity for people to LIKE a Virtual Tour and let their friends on Facebook know that the Virtual Tour is a good look.
The variety of panoramas and Virtual Tours on the 360emirates.com site will suggest to you ideas of what is possible and also what is realistic according to your budget.
More Information & Details
+ If you are in the emirate of Fujairah do email me geoffpound(at)gmail.com for more information or to discuss your requirements.
+ To reach the 360 Emirate owners at Al Fanoos Al Malaki Electronics go to this Contact Link.
+ After you decide what your showroom, hotel, college, car repair business, hair salon needs a letter will be drawn up by 360 Emirates outlining the offer and confirming the price.
+ Special payment terms for an order with many panoramas involves 50% payment after ordering and the final 50% after completion and uploading of the Virtual Tours.
+ The customer must provide all the details of requirements—how many panoramas, where etc.
+ One of your company or business representatives shall accompany the photographer during the shooting to ensure the right photos are taken of the right scenes.
+ All locations within the business, salon, college etc. must be properly prepared prior to the photographing—cleaning, decorating, staff in the right positions etc.
+ All shootings will be completed in a 1-2 day period depending on how many panoramas are required.
+ Customers can provide a sound file with commentary in the required language/s as well as the text to go in the Information Box.
+ The CD will be delivered and the Panoramas and Virtual Tours will be added to the required web sites within 6-8 days after the completion of the photographic shooting.
On a Mission in the UAE and Fujairah
360 Emirates has stated the mission in this way:
“We would like to create the best virtual country (U.A.E.) in the world where you can find and see 360° panorama photos in virtual tours from all the important places...”
Part of this mission is also to create the best virtual city and state (Fujairah) in the world whereby prospective residents and tourists get to ‘see’ the services and the treasures that we offer and enjoy.
This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.
Click on the above link and get Fujairah news and pictures coming onto your daily Facebook News Update.