//VR Hotspots – Introducing Time-Based and Auto-Play Hotspots

VR Hotspots – Introducing Time-Based and Auto-Play Hotspots

VR Hotspots are an excellent way to make your 360 VR experience even better. Overlaid on top of 360 images or videos, VR hotspots can be used to provide additional 2D media (images or video), for informational or entertainment purposes. Time-based hotspots and auto-loading hotspots, available to InstaVR Pro subscribers, add even more value to your VR scenes. 

Time-based hotspots allow you to have the hotspot icon only appear in a scene after a certain interval. You can also use this feature to have the hotspot disappear at a certain point as well.

Auto-loading hotspots will automatically play at a given time in a scene. Like with time-based hotspot appearance, you can also specify the end time for the auto-loaded hotspot content.

The difference between a time-based hotspot and an auto-loading hotspot is whether you want to give the viewer a chance to initiate it. With the latter type of hotspot, they’ll automatically be served up the content. With the former, for the interval that the hotspot is present, they can choose whether to engage and activate it or not.

Below, we’ll go into more details on: Why use time-based hotspots? Why use auto-loading hotspots? How do they work? 


Why Use Time-Based Hotspots?

As mentioned, hotspots are 2D images or videos overlaid on your 360 media, that can be initiated by the user. For many of our clients, they want a hotspot to be accessible throughout a scene for the viewer to potentially engage.

However, if you’re trying to get a viewer’s focus elsewhere, you may not want the hotspot available until a certain interval.

For instance, if you were making a training video for warehouse workers. If you wanted a VR hotspot over the conveyor belt operation to give a close up of the control options, you’re not going to want that to appear until the VR video is at the conveyor belt. Any sooner, and the hotspot won’t have any educational value.

Alternately, if you’re presenting a still 360 image video with voiceover narration, you may want the hotspot to appear only when the narrator mentions the object. If it’s a virtual home tour, for example, you may want the hotspot featuring close-ups on the new appliances to only appear once the narrator of the home tour has completed discussing other features of the kitchen.

Time-based hotspots are particularly applicable for 360 video, when particular objects won’t appear in a scene until a given time. You’ll need to measure in milliseconds how long it takes to appear, and then set the hotspot to coincide with that time. Make sure you always pick a time for the hotspot to disappear that is later than the initial appearance time.


Why Use Auto-Loading Hotspots?

With some hotspots, you want the user to choose if they want to initiate them and look at the image or video. With other types of hotspots, you want them to appear automatically. Specifically, if you want the user to experience VR passively, you’re not going to want them to have to load the hotspot.

For example, if you’re doing a VR office tour for hiring purposes, you may want to include 2d videos of employees introducing their department over the 360 images. There’s no guarantee the VR user will initiate the hotspots in the right order so the introduction happens first, or at all. However, using the auto-loading VR hotspot feature will ensure the VR user gets that introduction from the employee in the department.


How Do They Work? 

If you scroll to the top of the page, you can see from the screenshot that Time-Based and Auto-Load hotspots can be modified as you place the hotspot.

The steps are:

  1. Select “Hotspot” from the bottom of the Authoring window.
  2. Before changing the location, expand the “Transition Options”.
  3. For a time-based hotspot, select the starting time it should appear. Because we allow for precise timing, you’ll put in the number of milliseconds before it appears. (1 second = 1,000 milliseconds, so do 1000x how many seconds you’d like prior to its appearance)
  4. Make sure the end time you enter is after the start time, otherwise the hotspot won’t appear.
  5. Go through steps 3 & 4, but for “Play Automatically”, if you’d like the hotspot to appear automatically



Hotspots are an incredibly powerful feature of 360 media. They augment your VR app, making it more educational or entertaining. There are incredibly diverse use cases for hotspots across our client base.

Time-based hotspots and auto-play hotspots expand your options. You can reduce the distraction of having a hotspot throughout a scene, make sure in 360 video that a hotspot appearance corresponds to a correct time in a scene, and make hotspots easier to view by auto-playing them without engagement.

If you’re an InstaVR Pro user, definitely consider these options as you place hotspots throughout your VR experience!

***Technical Note: Due to iOS/Android requirements, auto-play hotspots on mobile WebVR are disabled. If you want to use that feature, please package your VR experience into a native VR application.

2017-12-13T03:06:34+00:00 December 13th, 2017|General|