New 360-degree camera technology promises to revolutionize travel marketing
Marketers, first adopters and future watchers, here’s something to spend money on this morning: the Giroptic 360cam which has raised $800k in less than a week.
The company, which is on Kickstarter here, has effectively created the world’s first full HD photo and video camera with a near-360 degree view*. The camera has three fisheye lenses that each capture a 185-degree field of vision, which the camera then stitches together automatically to create the panoramic videos and photos.
The compact camera, which can fit in the palm of a hand, also features the following capabilities that make it one of the most versatile and exciting new pieces of hardware in 2014.
- Waterproof : users can jump in and capture the full view of an underwater experience
- Interesting accessories: a lightbulb adapter to create a WiFi surveillance apparatus; a live streaming base for musicians to stream immersive experiences; water goggles to prevent underwater distortion.
- Various means of attachment via the universal camera mount gets the camera out into the wild, similar to the mobility and unusual angles that propelled GoPro to success.
- GPS, gyroscope, WiFi, microUSB, and MicroSD are all available, ensuring versatility and compatibility with new accessories and add-ons. This also opens the camera up to third-party hacking, which makes it much more exciting as an evolutionary content creation device.
- Three microphones to capture surround sound alongside the surround imaging.
- Time lapse, burst and HDR features make this a formidable photo camera.
The camera comes in multiple colors, and has a full complement of apps to support the hardware. Photogs can control the camera via the smartphone app, as well as view, share and store photos and videos.
The company has spent two years developing the product, and was astute to create a full website to eventually collect and curate the emerging content from the device.
The hardware brings a whole new layer to the selfie, as evidenced below, and will truly be an additive media type as the camera is compatible with the Occulus Rift virtual reality hardware. This means that any experience collected by the 360cam can also be extended into a full virtual reality experience.
This final piece is where the use case for travel really comes together. The emergence of virtual reality means that travel agents, tour operators and other entities will really be able to showcase offerings and destinations in unique and immersive ways. With the 360cam, these operations could capture specific moments that showcase the product’s differentiation, and then push the content out to social networks, owned websites and even via emerging platforms like Occulus Rift.
Brands could also take advantage of the versatility to deliver live streams of food and beverage operations, develop new time lapses that creatively showcase a space, or create interactive live streams of branded events. For example, arts and culture focused hotel brands (such as Aloft) could now simply and easily offer live streams of branded events to guests far and wide.
Hotels also now have a much simpler, cheaper and faster way to offer 360-degree property tours. By stepping away from the vendor, the hotel can also update these 360-degree views more regularly since its now more affordable and doesn’t require hiring a person to make it happen.
Tour operators could even purchase these cameras for customer rental, allowing them to capture the essence of the experience for future sharing. The use cases in travel are endless with these sorts of emerging technologies, as the tech is able to highlight the very things that make travel so appealing to humans: it’s immersive, it’s beautiful and it’s something people want to share.
The company has created the following video to showcase the new technology’s applications.
*Other camera companies playing in the panoramic photo space include 360fly and Sphere. 360fly also claims to have the world’s first 360-degree view, so it seems to be a race to ship. That camera only has 240-degree vertical view, so in fact has less vertical than the 360cam. Sphere requires a smartphone to snap the panoramas, and has been working with hospitality for a couple of years now.
Nick Vivion is a writer and strategist. He was a Tnooz reporter and global events lead between August 2012 and July 2015. He was the launch co-founder of Booty's, a global street food restaurant in New Orleans and was recently AVP Operations, North America, at Zomato.