In this case study we look at how a global leader in weather and environmental measurements has opened up its incredible new R&D center and some of its other facilities via a virtual tour.
Vaisala was founded in Finland in 1936 and is now a global leader in the fields of weather, environmental, and industrial measurements. Their 2,200 employees are stationed across 25 offices worldwide and their operations cover an enormous breadth of sectors – from government to energy companies, from pharmaceuticals to space agencies. To give some idea of its reach, “Vaisala operates on two planets and in every country on earth.”
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Innovation, Research and Development at Vaisala HQ
29% of all Vaisala employees work in Research and Development (R&D) and this team includes professionals from many different fields – from physics to AI and machine learning. Of this total R&D staff, 67% of them (300 people in total) work at the new R&D and Innovation Center which opened in 2021. It’s sited next to the company HQ and production facilities in Vantaa, Finland.
Vaisala technology is used in the most inhospitable environments on earth – from the Sahara Desert to Antarctica. For this reason, as well as building custom designed testing equipment that mimics real-world conditions, the 7,900m2 R&D Center contains 37 custom-made laboratories. These range from an EMC (electromagnetic compliance) lab, a rain tower that simulates natural rain, a vibration and freefall laboratory, environmental chambers where instruments can be tested under extreme temperatures and humidity, and system testing laboratories.
Virtual Campus Tour attracts top talent and showcases scope of the organisation
This is a world-class and truly one-of-a-kind campus. To give a flavour of the facilities and operations on-site and what it is like to work there, Vaisala designed a virtual intro to their site by which the curious online visitor can take a self-guided tour. The tour was designed jointly by the company’s Communications, Brand and Talent Acquisition teams, accordingly with three main purposes in mind. These were:
- Primarily, to attract new talents from across the globe to join its international team, and subsequently to act as part of the onboarding program for those who start.
- To showcase the full scope of Vaisala’s operations to their customers and partners, either directly or via their sales and marketing teams.
- To give an insight into daily life at HQ for for employees at the regional HQs and many small Vaisala satellite offices worldwide who may never visit the site in person.
The tour below was launched in September 2023. It was shared on social media, was shared with all global employees via intranet internal news, has been added to the Vaisala website careers page and is used by sales teams worldwide at events and industry shows, and shared with regional customers via local offices.
We highly recommend that you activate full screen mode to fully appreciate the extraordinary spaces within the campus. The EMC lab is particularly worth a visit: there you can watch videos about how Vaisala technology is used on Mars.
Navigation around the tour
The public tour starts with a 360 aerial map which gives an overview of the location of each building. They include a brand video which gives a flavour of the company and their vision and values.
As with all ThingLink media, in each scene you can choose what to learn more about, or which area to move to next, via the clickable tags or hotspots.
From the initial aerial view you can choose to visit the factory or the R&D building. Within R&D you can visit the EMC lab, the “clean room” and many other rooms that give a fascinating insight into the unique, high tech and genuinely space-age environments at Vaisala.
Results of the virtual tour
External results: High engagement and visibility
- In its first 2 months the tour has had almost 7000 views. As well as being a marketing success, this is also a far higher number of guest visits than the campus can normally accommodate in a year – roughly 450.
- It was one of the most popular posts this year on LinkedIn for Vaisala, with about +30% views, +50% reactions, as well 10 times more shares compared to a usual LinkedIn post.
- Sales teams have reported back that it is an invaluable tool for industry shows and events, demonstrating the breadth and reach of Vaisala’s expertise to customers who may only be familiar with one specific application or vertical.
Internal results: Increased employee engagement
When it was shared to employees worldwide via company internal news, it got ca. 50% more views compared to a piece of average internal news. Feedback has been extremely positive, summed up by this example below:
“Thanks to the whole team for a great job with the virtual visit! It will be a really good tool in many ways, some of our people here outside the Vantaa Campus have never had the opportunity to see our head office production and R&D facilities, now they can visit virtually!”Employee feedback
The educational legacy and vision that inspired the tour
This English language version was based on an original tour in Finnish created in collaboration with Otaniemi High School to support STEM education, which has now been expanded to high schools nationally. Vaisala is third-generation owned and has continually striven to support scientific education via engagement, awards, sponsorship and collaboration, so this project was a fitting reflection of their founding values.
The learning content was designed to directly link specific areas of Vaisala’s operations and research to related areas of the curriculum, to help students better understand how their school subjects can be applied in the real world. The content has also been used in ThingLink’s Scenario Builder to create thematic learning journeys and we will explore this educational project in more detail in a separate case study.
Pro tips for virtual tour creators
We break down exactly how Vaisala took this virtual tour to the next level with thoughtful content creation and simple but clever design of the component elements. These are all methods which even a complete beginner to ThingLink could easily replicate!
- Candid short interview clips with Vaisala employees help to paint a picture of the work environment and the work that goes on in all parts of the site – from the factory to the labs and beyond. These personal stories bring the tour alive and give a strong impression of an international workplace, and the passion which the employees have for their work.
- The variation of media types. As well as 360 scenes and static or interview type videos, there are also video walkthroughs of some of the areas within the tags, and tags containing simply text and images.
- Vaisala have used static text labels instead of tags, to highlight what is at each tag before you open it. Read how to do this here.
- Anchor points have been used so that the text labels don’t obscure the important elements. Read more on these here.
- A map in the top right corner assists navigation. This feature allows you to add a floorplan or map to any ThingLink content and helps the users see exactly where they are and/or move to a new location. read more on this feature here.
- The Vaisala virtual tours can also be viewed in VR so can be used with virtual reality headsets for a really immersive experience!
- Finally, for advanced ThingLink creators: notice the structure which they have applied within all the lightbulb tags. A Video ThingLink, embedded in a tag in a 2D image ThingLink, which is in turn embedded in a tag within the main 360 image ThingLink! Click on any lightbulb to see how well this structure works and consider using in your next creation!
Creating your own virtual tour
Whether you manage an international organisation, a small business or anything in between, virtual tours like these are an ideal way to demonstrate the working environment to potential candidates as well as new joiners. ThingLink is the easiest way to create a 360 tour like this, with no need to download virtual tour software. Simply access our cloud-based solution via your browser and share to anyone via a simple link or embed!
You don’t even need a 360 camera to create impressive, high resolution 360 images. The amazing – and completely free – Pano to 360 by ThingLink allows you to convert any panoramic image to a 360 photosphere in seconds.
Further virtual tour examples for you to explore
- How to create a Virtual Lab
- How to create an interactive virtual tour
- Hyria create a virtual recruitment forum
- Carmanah creates interactive content for trade shows and website
- How to create a virtual exhibition or art gallery
- How to create virtual tours for real estate
- Using ThingLink virtual learning environments in healthcare
Need help in creating your own tour?
- Go to our YouTube channel for easy-to-follow tutorials and webinar recordings
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