How Virtual Campus Tours Can Help Data Centers Stand Out

October 5, 2020 by Tim Wiedeman

 

Don’t think as fancy (not to mention accurate) visuals as something that only consumer-facing businesses can leverage. Virtual experiences have long been a staple in higher education, hospitality, and related industries. It’s time to take the concept further, specifically with virtual campus tours. We’ll show in this examination of 360 virtual tours for data centers, they can play a core role in recruiting business clients through digital environments, as well.

Data centers find themselves in a unique position. As ZDNet points out, the global pandemic has led to shrinking demand across businesses who need to cut costs in order to survive. At the same time, it’s also led to a similarly rapidly rising demand for cloud technology, which drive up demand for large data storage entities. It’s a feast or famine situation that at once makes the market potentially immensely lucrative, but also increases spending risks significantly.

In the midst of this tumultuous environment, strategic marketing and sales strategies are becoming more important than ever. Being able to outperform your competition on both the messaging and management side can help you secure new business, satisfy existing clients, and even educate your own internal audiences. This is how a virtual campus tour can help your data center stand out.

Showcasing Your Physical Space in a Remote Environment

New clients tend to have the need to see a space before they commit to it. That’s no different in a data center, where the physical walkthrough can help reassure both prospective and current clients about the servers, backup systems, and even the physical security of the facility in the midst of the sales process and negotiations.

Of course, taking that step is increasingly difficult at a time when personal contact has to be limited. We’re living in the middle of a pandemic, where business travel and physical site visits have ground to a halt. Instead, companies prioritize keeping their employees home and safe to avoid jeopardizing health and safety in any way.

Through virtual campus tours, you can replicate the experience without compromising on this marketing and sales opportunity. In fact, the right tour can even enhance your marketing efforts in a variety of ways:

  • You can market your space to a wider geographic range of prospective clients, who will be able to see a picture of the space they’re buying without needing to travel.
  • You can strategically point out the unique benefits of your data center through effective visuals, narration, and supplemental videos the replicate and even enhance the physical experience.
  • You can show off the surroundings of the data center to give prospective clients a better idea of the larger community and its safety and surroundings.

These virtual tours, as a result, can play a core role in the sales process for new clients. Built right, they’re designed to showcase your physical space in a remote environment, be it out of necessity or as a choice.

Ensuring Security Without Compromising on the Details

Security is understandably one of the biggest challenges and most important priorities for data centers today. That includes physical security, the act of securing the premises without bad actors potentially interrupting and causing havoc in the server systems. Or, as one publication puts it,

Many of the same elements that make your data center so vital to your business… also increase your organization’s potential security threats.  And while hackers will always target your enterprise’s data for profit, you also need to remember other potential threats, like physical security, the internet of things and your own internal people, must also be managed carefully.

Physical security, of course, is in direct conflict with the need to showcase your space. That is, unless you consider 360 virtual tours as a potential option to meet in the middle.

Build your virtual tour out the right way, and you can showcase the entire space in a more controlled environment. That means leaving out the parts that compromise security. It also means being able to show off your space to new clients, existing clients, and other stakeholders without having to invite them onto your premises.

The result tends to be a much more secure way to ‘tour’ the data center. You can show off your assets, without worrying about potential physical breaches. You can even make that message explicit when talking to prospective clients about why you’d like them to take the virtual tour instead of an-person one, demonstrating your prioritization of this important issue in real-time.

Training Existing Employees and Improving Remote Work in a Remote World

Of course, it’s not just about your external audiences. In fact, internal stakeholders can benefit just as much from virtual tours, especially as it relates to both onboarding and training.

Imagine the importance of this type of tool in the hiring process. Through your virtual tour, you can tell prospective employees exactly what to expect. You can even use the tour as a type of test to help you gauge the applicants’ knowledge levels on the hardware and software you run in the data center.

The right tour can also help you train your existing employees. In fact, that’s exactly why CoreSite worked with us to build their virtual tour in 2018. Through detailed descriptions of the various areas, you can ensure a consistent knowledge level across a wide range of positions, from security to data security professionals.

The final internal audience to consider is company leadership like the C-suite and board of directors, which may have a need for a close-up view of the inner workings within the data center. Physical tours, of course, are not always realistic for the reasons mentioned above. A virtual way to explore the facility becomes an immensely beneficial tour.

Once again, each of these audiences especially relies on virtual means in this increasingly remote environment. As a larger percentage of your staff have to work from home, the virtual tour offers them an opportunity to still become (and remain) experts on the details and nuances within the space.

Maps, virtual tour, and Accessibility

Making it Real: How Virtual Campus Tours Have Helped 2 Data Centers Thrive

All of the above is much more than just hypothetical. In fact, Concept3D has partnered with a number of data centers in the recent past to build their virtual campus tour and help their clients thrive.

Take Flexential Introduce as an example. Two years ago, the two organizations partnered to build a comprehensive 3D video and VR experience of Fexential Introduce’s data centers, which even included gamification aspects to make the experience more immersive and engaging for all audiences.

It’s not just linear, either. As described in our partnership announcement in 2018,

Powered by Concept3D’s virtual tour software, the VR tour can easily be repurposed for future tradeshows and as a sales and marketing tool that can be sent out to anyone as a link, as well as posted on websites and sent with goggles in a direct mail campaign, among many other uses.

The tour includes comprehensive navigation and narration, along with an accompanying minimap that helps users navigate more easily and understand their current location. It’s designed specifically for marketing and sales purposes.

Another example is the aforementioned CoreSite partnership. Designed ot show off the three facilities on CoreSite’s Reston campus, the virtual tour showcases more than one million square feet and approximately 100 megawatts of capacity. To its users, the tour showcases security and performance facility features alongside a number of interconnectivity highlights.

Beyond the training opportunities mentioned above, CoreSite leveraged the virtual tour specifically to sell existing sites on its new campus.  A comprehensive showcase of the space will play a core role in expanding the company’s current client base and continuing to secure its spot as a leader in the data center space.

Ready to Build Your Own 360 Virtual Tour?

The benefits of virtual campus tours are clear, and they’re born out in the marketplace. Moreover, the current situation and remote needs have made digital opportunities to market your data center and bring prospects through the sales process more important than ever. In other words, it’s time to think about the next step.

That next step, of course, is finding a partner that can help you build a virtual tour not just beneficial generally speaking, but for your data center and your audience specifically. That means not just leveraging the technology needed to build the right experience, but finding a platform that’s adaptable enough to make sense not just in consumer-facing industries, but specifically for your needs.

Let’s work together to see if we can be that type of partner for you. Campus3D’s experience in working with business-facing clients and data centers in particular combines with our market-leading platform to build highly interactive, engaging, and immersive virtual experiences. 

Ready to talk business? Contact us today. Let’s have a conversation about your needs, our opportunities, and how the two can match to help you improve your marketing, sales, and internal communications efforts in the near future.

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