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Microsoft Silverlight Windows Phone Application

Microsoft Silverlight Windows Phone Application

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  • Silverlight has been downloaded and installed on more than 500 million consumer PCs since its launch in 2007. Over 45% of internet connected devices now have the Silverlight plug-in installed. (Timestamp November 2009 PDC)Once installed, Silverlight automatically upgrades to the latest version.
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  • NBC Sports Realizes Its Vision with Olympics Web Programming NBC Sports faced what one executive called a “singular challenge” in the run-up to its Web broadcast of the 2008 Summer Olympics: to provide an extraordinary experience for viewers, reach a desired demographic of online viewers, maintain the production values that advertisers demand, and in so doing prove that the TV broadcast model could be extended to the Web. To do all that, NBC Sports joined forces with Microsoft, MSN®, and a team of other partners whose developers used Microsoft® Silverlight™ and other Microsoft Web tools, technologies, and services to build and deploy NBCOlympics.com on MSN. The result was a strategic win for all involved. The high-production-value site broke all NBC Sports records for online traffic and audience reach, drove a new stream of advertising revenue, and proved that the NBC TV model for sports broadcasting could be extended successfully to the Web. SituationAs NBC Sports faced the monumental challenge of delivering the 2008 Summer Olympics not only over television but also over the Web, executives decided to take that challenge even further. Of course, those executives wanted to provide an unprecedented experience for millions of Web viewers. But executives also wanted to use that experience to prove that the business model for commercial TV sports broadcasts could be extended to the Web. For example, they wanted to show that they could give the Web audience an immersive experience surpassing anything available in the TV medium. They wanted to deliver the kind of audience demographic, volume, and interest that would catch and hold the eye of major advertisers. And they wanted to do so while maintaining the production standards for which NBC Sports has been known for decades.Taken as a whole, what NBC Sports set out to do was a “singular challenge,” as described by Perkins Miller, Senior Vice President, Digital Media, NBC Sports. “The Olympics are a massive project, an event with 34 sports, 304 medal events, and 10,000 athletes, all of which happens in just 17 days,” Miller points out. “So how do you take 2,000 hours of live video and 3,500 hours of on-demand video and put it on a digital platform? How do you deliver this content to the online audience, an audience that is becoming more and more important to us, in a way that will engage and entertain them? How do you manage all that while upholding obligations to exclusive advertisers on the Web, who have come to expect very high levels of production value?” Miller and his colleagues at NBC Sports knew the answers to those questions would lie in joining forces with the right partner company. “We needed a partner that could offer a ‘rock-solid’ foundation in both technology and online experience and that could deliver the audience reach,” he says. “We looked around the spectrum of companies, all over the world, and there was really only one we felt could do this, and that was Microsoft.”SolutionNBC Sports began collaborating with Microsoft, for the technology, and the MSN® network, for an understanding of online broadcasting that could help deliver the extensive audience reach it needed. Microsoft brought in Schematic, a creative agency, to provide a customized media player, as well as content data network providers Level 3 Communications and Limelight Networks, to provide dynamic traffic routing across the Web for better video delivery to viewers. Those organizations, along with some 35 other companies, rounded out a comprehensive project team for the development of the Web site known as NBCOlympics.com on MSN. This experience has made it clear that the Web is no longer merely an adjunct to television, but truly an independent medium. Perkins MillerSenior Vice President, Digital Media, NBC Sports Developers on that project team used the Microsoft® Silverlight™ browser plug-in version 2.0, the Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.5, the Visual Studio® 2008 Team System development system, Expression Blend™ design software, and other Microsoft technologies for the next-generation Web to create the advanced features and capabilities essential for the kind of experience they wanted to give Olympics viewers. Developers from Microsoft and Schematic, for example, used Microsoft Silverlight to implement picture-in-picture, quad-screen, and video-navigation functionalities. Schematic developers also worked closely with deltatre, a partner of NBC Universal (the parent company of NBC Sports), to synchronize a rich set of real-time commentary and game statistics. The developers also used Silverlight and related Microsoft Web technologies to synchronize Olympics content with advertising and to integrate and match live commentary from Beijing with the event videos.To address the real-time performance challenge of streaming 5,500 hours of video to diverse client PCs, Level 3 and Limelight delivered a new breed of video streaming called “adaptive streaming.” This technology was the precursor to Smooth Streaming and an extension of Internet Information Services version 7.0 (a feature of the Windows Server® 2008 operating system). When the work was done, the project team had fulfilled its mission for NBC Sports with a site that delivered every moment of every sporting event live and on demand from Beijing, synchronized with commentary, interviews, previews of upcoming events, athlete profiles, highlights of scores and results, and up-to-the-minute news on records broken. That content was available to the audience in both its original form and a “nonspoiler” form, which blocked event results from viewers who wanted to wait for the television broadcast in their area to learn the winner. And that content was viewed in record-breaking numbers: more than 1.3 billion page views, 50 million unique visitors, 35 million mobile page views, 70 million viewer-initiative video streams, and 10 million hours of viewer-watched video.  Most significant for NBC Sports was the unprecedented “stickiness” of NBCOlympics.com on MSN—the viewers watching those 10 million hours of video spent an average of 27 minutes at a time on the site. “It’s staggering,” Miller says. “We had the advantages of the Silverlight technology coupled with the MSN team telling viewers what was available on the site, and when they got to the site, they didn’t watch just one thing, they were diving in and consuming over and over again. This was a true ‘Aha!’ moment for NBC Sports.”  Dan Hogan, Vice President of Technology at NBC Sports, concurs: “This was a huge success for NBC Sports.”BenefitsBy delivering online viewers an unprecedented Olympics experience that generated traffic volumes beyond anything measured before, and with a “stickiness” that made NBCOlympics.com on MSN highly attractive to advertisers, Microsoft helped NBC Sports to realize its vision of extending the TV broadcast business model to the Web.Expanding Audience ReachWith this endeavor, NBC Sports attracted a new breed of online Olympics fans by providing an immersive experience more intriguing than what can ordinarily be found through other media. “The idea is to package content so it is more powerful even than the same content seen on TV or in a movie theater,” says Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President, Developer Division, Microsoft. “Then you integrate social networking and advertising, and once viewers experience all this, they’ll want it to be the default way they view similar events in the future.”Maintaining Production ValuesOn NBCOlympics.com, just as in the TV medium, NBC Sports upheld the high production values for which it is known. Extending the Business ModelWith NBCOlympics.com, NBC Sports proved that the business model for commercial TV sports broadcasting can be successfully extended to the Web and transformed into an entirely new business model, with enormous potential for profitability. Miller concludes, “This experience has made it clear that the Web is no longer merely an adjunct to television, but truly an independent medium.”
  • In addition to renting DVDs, Netflix, the world's largest online movie rental service, now offers its customers the ability to watch movies instantly on the PC and Mac via Silverlight. The Netflix instant watching catalog of more than 12,000 movies continues to grow with significant new titles from CBS, the Disney Channel and Starz Play. With Silvelight, Netflix members who watch movies and TV episodes instantly on their computers will enjoy a faster, easier connection and a more robust viewing experience due to the higher video quality built directly into the player. Among the viewing enhancements with the new player is a breakthrough in timeline navigation that vastly improves the use of fast-forwarding and rewinding. The new Netflix player also takes advantage of PlayReady DRM, which is built into Silverlight, for the playback of protected content on both Windows-based PCs and on Macs, which had not been possible with previous generation technologies. "We chose Silverlight because it provides a faster and more agile development environment, allowing us to quickly deliver superior online movie viewing experiences to our customers," said Steve Swasey, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Netflix. "In addition, we achieved real cost savings with our Silverlight solution, enabling us to focus resources on other projects that help us further differentiate from our competitors."
  •  Cross-Platform Plug-In Powers Rich Internet Applications for Scientists and Engineers National Instruments is a leading provider of virtual instrumentation software used in a range of industries to test, monitor, and control the performance of hardware devices. The company was looking to meet rising demand for a graphical programming tool that would help companies quickly deploy Web-based line-of-business applications that could be accessed across a network. The company chose Microsoft® Silverlight™, a cross-platform, cross-browser plug-in for developing rich Internet applications, choosing the software over competing solutions, including Adobe Flash. Taking advantage of powerful graphics and data-binding capabilities in Silverlight, combined with its native cross-platform support, the company accelerated development and market delivery of its new application and capitalized on a key business opportunity.With Silverlight, our developers can use familiar tools, libraries, and programming concepts to provide the means for scientists and engineers to create rich Web-based and desktop applications. Kamran Shah, LabVIEW Research and Development Senior Group Manager, National Instruments Business NeedsAustin, Texas–based National Instruments is one of the leading providers of graphical programming tools that engineers use to measure, test, and control the performance of a range of devices. For example, an engineering firm monitoring wind turbines in the field needs a way to gauge the performance of the machinery through a number of factors, such as vibration and wind shear. Engineers working on this kind of project typically use graphical programming software on their desktop computers to create applications that aggregate and graphically display real-world data. But, this client-centric computing model does not currently provide a clear path to the Web. National Instruments saw an opportunity to capitalize on the increasing demand for engineering-centric programming tools to create instrumentation systems with a Web interface. Business leaders teamed with developers to search for a technology solution that supported the development of cross-platform, rich Internet applications for these scenarios. For this project, they wanted to take advantage of graphics-display and data-driven user interface enhancements offered by emerging Web development technologies. “We want to deliver an application that combines our domain expertise and uses the best of currently available technologies to deliver an outstanding solution to our customers,” says Kamran Shah, LabVIEW Research and Development Senior Group Manager at National Instruments.SolutionThe National Instruments team opted to work with Microsoft® Silverlight™ to extend its widely used virtual instrumentation software to the Web. The team chose Silverlight over competing solutions based on its design as a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in and its use of XAML and robust development tools. “We researched a lot of different technologies for this project and we ultimately selected Silverlight over other technologies such as Adobe Flash and Ajax,” says Shah. “Silverlight offered us the best overall solution because it incorporates the Microsoft technology stack, so it’s incredibly powerful and versatile.” Powerful, Integrated ToolsetBecause Silverlight builds on existing Microsoft technologies, National Instruments could combine the expansive base class libraries of the Microsoft .NET Framework with best-of-breed development tools, such as Microsoft Visual Studio® and Microsoft Expression Blend™, for editing, profiling, and debugging applications. And, the company could use Silverlight to integrate multimedia, graphics, animations, and interactivity into a single runtime environment, easing the burden on its development teams and contributing to a smoother, more consistent user experience across multiple platforms. “With Silverlight, our developers can use familiar tools, libraries, and programming concepts to provide the means for scientists and engineers to create rich Web-based and desktop applications,” says Shah. Multiplatform Plug-InEngineering firms that use National Instruments’s graphical programming software rely heavily on the Windows® operating system. But, there is an appreciable segment of the market that uses Macintosh, Linux, and other alternative computing platforms. “We know from past experience that developing for multiple platforms can require significant time, effort, and budget,” says Shah. Because the ubiquity of Silverlight offers cross-platform, cross-browser compatibility, the team hopes to save considerable development time and expense. Also, because the plug-in is both server and client agnostic, requiring no additional software or devices, it is capable of delivering a rich, uniform experience across platforms. “Providing a consistent cross platform solution for our customers is a top priority for National Instruments.” Compelling Data VisualizationFlexible user interface controls and powerful data-binding capabilities in Windows Presentation Foundation simplify the development of high-fidelity, data-driven graphing applications in Silverlight. Taking advantage of advanced data-binding support and flexible, XAML-based drawing tools, developers can quickly build rich, interactive graphing displays for viewing data in a consolidated and unique visual format. “The controls in the Silverlight toolkit gave the team a lift in efficiency when creating new controls designed specifically for scientific and engineering data display,” says Shah.BenefitsWith the comprehensive developer toolset and native cross-platform, cross-browser compatibility of Silverlight, National Instruments has streamlined development and accelerated time-to-market. “Silverlight gave us the power to innovate the kind of application that we think is going to be important in the engineering and scientific fields in the coming years,” says Shah. Faster Development Without Sacrificing QualityBecause developers at National Instruments were able to draw on existing skills, including extensive experience with the C++ programming language and familiarity with the Microsoft .NET Framework, they were able to make significant progress in substantially less time than if they had selected a different technology. “It would have taken much longer for the team to get up and running with other technologies just based on the learning curve with new technologies and paradigms they require,” says Shah. “Developer efficiency was a concern in our selection of a development platform.”Greater AgilityNational Instruments streamlined development by using the built-in, cross-platform support in Silverlight. In fact, without this capability, the company may not have fully explored the opportunity. “The time and effort required to develop and test for multiple browsers and platforms can be significant,” says Shah. “Silverlight makes it possible for us to realize a return on our investment by simplifying our development.” The company is looking ahead to new features offered in Silverlight 3, including out-of-browser support. The new out-of-browser experience in Silverlight 3 enables users to place their favorite Silverlight-based applications directly onto their Windows-based or Macintosh computers, with links on the desktop and start menu—all without the need to download an additional runtime or browser plug-in. Says Shah, “The commitment from Microsoft in taking Silverlight even further to improve the user experience for rich Internet applications is very exciting to see.”
  • Financial Site Transforms Online Investing with Interactive Tools Operated by Dublin, Ireland–based Digital Minds, Zignals empowers investors with free, online investment tools that incorporate real-time communication and collaborative features. Zignals wanted to develop an interactive Web interface for its application built on the Microsoft® .NET Framework. The company chose Microsoft Silverlight™, a cross-platform, cross-browser plug-in for developing rich Internet applications, over Adobe Flash. Zignals took advantage of Silverlight to create a uniquely compelling experience in a Web-based application that behaves like a desktop application. By using Silverlight, Zignals reused more code, load-balanced resources across projects, and quickly adjusted its application to meet the needs of clients.Silverlight puts us two generations ahead of generic financial sites in terms of user experience. Pat Brazel, CEO, Digital Minds Business NeedsZignals aims to transform investing for individuals by offering them sophisticated trading tools previously only available to industry professionals and by enabling new ways for people to collaborate on investment strategies for free. Zignals is run by Dublin, Ireland–based Digital Minds, which also offers a white-label version of its solution, called ActivateClients, to banks and brokerages. In its startup phase, the company sought a development approach that would keep costs low while enabling a small team to create the unique and striking offering it needed to differentiate itself from other online finance sites. “We were looking to create an interactive Web interface for our application built on the Microsoft® .NET Framework,” says Scott Tattersall, CTO of Digital Minds. “Originally, we started working with AJAX and JavaScript, but it wasn’t possible to create the immersive experience we were seeking. Also, it was quite a burden to test the application across multiple browsers.”Zignals was hesitant to work with Adobe Flash because of the impact that technology would have on its existing code base. “We would have to reengineer components like authentication to use Flash,” explains Tattersall. “Also, we didn’t want to create too many operational silos where we have specialized teams that work only on the interface, only on the business logic, or only on Web services.”SolutionWhen the Zignals team discovered Microsoft Silverlight™, they quickly understood the benefits offered, both to their technical group and the overall business. For example, the ubiquity of the cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in would let their development team reuse their existing code base and development skills. The company created the initial application in just six months, including a modular framework that enables the company to reuse components. “Working with Silverlight and the .NET Framework, we were able to separate everything we worked on into four layers: database, Web services, business logic, and interface controls,” says Tattersall. “This approach dramatically speeds the creation of new offerings, especially for our ActivateClients white-label applications.”“We were excited about Silverlight from a technology perspective, but also from a business perspective,” says Pat Brazel, CEO of Digital Minds. “We realized that we could do things with the technology that we couldn’t with any other interactive Web technology. It exactly fit our goal of creating uniquely rich and responsive Web interfaces.”On the Zignals Web site, investors can create portfolios and access the same financial information that is available on generic sites. But by using Silverlight, Zignals adds powerful decision-support tools to strengthen investment strategies and the ability to create interactive charts that incorporate real-time data and share those charts with the Zignals community. The site also uses Silverlight to offer novel collaborative features that let investors simultaneously work on charts and chat in real time, as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. Zignals offers individual investors sophisticated trading tools and unique collaborative features with its Silverlight-based application. Banks and brokerages can brand these online tools and offer them to their customers or financial advisors through ActivateClients. “Our commercial solution works across all major browsers and operating systems because it is based on Silverlight and secures internal Web services through Windows® Communication Foundation,” says Brazel. “It has all the advantages of a desktop application without the complexity of deploying client software.”BenefitsZignals takes advantage of the unique capabilities of Silverlight to offer up online investment tools unlike anything else available on the Web. In addition, the company uses the technical advantages of Silverlight to reuse more code, load-balance resources across projects, and quickly adjust its application to meet the needs of clients. Uniquely Compelling ExperienceThe group quickly created visually stunning interfaces with highly customizable controls and flexible layout containers. The team used vector graphics, gradient, and animation features to add richness that is unusual for a Web application. “Even though it is delivered online, Zignals behaves like a desktop application,” says Brazel. “Silverlight puts us two generations ahead of generic financial sites in terms of user experience.”Efficient Design and DevelopmentBecause Silverlight is compatible with the .NET Framework, Zignals did not have to rework its existing application code when creating the new interfaces. In addition, all the developers could easily move between various aspects of a project. “I estimate that we would have required a 50 percent larger team if we had segmented work out to specialized groups,” says Tattersall. “Because it’s all .NET programming, a single developer can easily switch from client-side code to server-side code. Also, changes to the interface do not affect the business logic.”Rapid ResultsZignals draws on reusable interface, business logic, Web services, and database components to build new applications faster. Silverlight augments this agility with the ability to create interface skins. “Our development approach enables us to offer white-label commercial applications without having to extensively recode anything,” says Tattersall. “With the flexibility of Silverlight, we can quickly create branded applications or add functionality according to our clients’ needs.”To view an online demo of the Zignals charting tools, register at http://www.zignals.com/ and click the Help icon at www.zignals.com/main/charts/trystockcharts.aspx.
  • SnapFlowFirm Broadens Market Reach for Workflow Solution with Software-plus-Services Strategy Samad Wahedi had a vision: Make it possible for average users to create and automate workflows using easy-to-use visual tools, rather than waiting for the IT department to do it for them. In 2007, Wahedi launched SnapFlow, a company dedicated to bringing workflow to the masses. The company used Microsoft® development tools to create its SnapFlow application, and the Microsoft Silverlight™ browser plug-in for the product’s user interface. By implementing its solution using a software-plus-services strategy—creating and storing workflows using a combination of on-premises and online software—SnapFlow tremendously broadened its market reach. In addition, using Microsoft technologies trimmed development time by 40 percent. Workflow for the MassesAs far back as 2001, Samad Wahedi began to notice the gradual migration of work to the Web. “I saw that people were doing more activities online, from banking to social networking,” he says. “And when people start working online, they need tools for performing tasks in the new online environment.” Wahedi knew that the traditional way for users to get software tools was through their company’s IT department, which usually involves a long wait. Wahedi decided that there was a business opportunity in creating software tools that average business users could use to create workflows, which are the key building blocks of most business processes. “There’s a process associated with just about everything in business, from requesting vacation time to requisitioning a computer. I thought that users should have an easy way to design and automate process workflows themselves, rather than waiting for the IT department to build a specialized application,” Wahedi says. In 2007, Wahedi launched SnapFlow, a Portland, Oregon–based startup chartered with “bringing workflow to the masses.” Today, Wahedi is Chief Executive Officer of SnapFlow, and GopinathDhanakodi is the company’s Vice President of Engineering.SnapFlow: Fast, Online Workflow CreationSnapFlow used Windows® Workflow Foundation and the Microsoft® Silverlight™ browser plug-in to create a Web-based workflow design tool called SnapFlow. Business people use SnapFlow to build simple or complex workflows online using simple point-and-click and drag-and-drop actions. Users visit the SnapFlow Web site and simply click the “Start a Flow” button to begin building a workflow for any business process, such as hiring a new person or purchasing supplies. Users can transfer completed SnapFlow workflows to a Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 site for shared access.Traditional methods of creating workflows using business process management solutions can take three to six months; creating workflows with SnapFlow takes just minutes or hours. Also, enterprise business process management software costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, making it “nearly impossible to realize a return on your investment [ROI],” Wahedi says. “Building workflows in SnapFlow provides an almost immediate ROI. Plus, nontechnical people can describe processes themselves, in a very visual way, so nothing gets lost in translation in working with technical folks.” Another savings comes from companies not having to pay expensive software engineers to create and modify workflows. Broader Market Reach Using Software-plus-Services Perhaps just as compelling as the capabilities of SnapFlow is the firm’s implementation method—software is distributed over the Web. Users simply need to download a free copy of Microsoft Silverlight onto their desktop or portable computer, and then visit www.snapflow.com to “start a flow.” All workflow data and the execution engine are stored in the SnapFlow hosting infrastructure. Deploying its solution using a software-plus-services approach enables SnapFlow to minimize its customers’ up-front investment and to maximize customer access. “Because our solution runs online, the entire world is a prospective customer,” Wahedi says. “Anyone can run our software, anywhere. Traditionally, when customers want to try out a software program, they have to download and configure the program. It’s a huge time and resource commitment, especially if they need to configure servers first. With software-plus-services, customers can try our software within minutes, rather than waiting a couple of weeks. Software-plus-services gives us the ability to reach a broad audience very inexpensively.”The software-plus-services approach also gives independent software vendors like SnapFlow new possibilities for enriching their applications and broadening delivery models. “The combination of powerful client software—in this case, Silverlight—and a Web-based service provides a powerful new software development and distribution model,” Wahedi says. “We can develop capabilities without concern for the back-end infrastructure required to run it because there is infinite processing power in the ‘cloud.’ But having powerful, locally installed software makes the user experience even better. We are now free to create solutions that take advantage of rich desktop software.” With software-plus-services, SnapFlow gets the richness of the desktop with the reach of the Web. Wahedi’s and Dhanakodi’s vision has become reality. Using flexible Microsoft development and browser tools, and the cost-effective software-plus-services approach, anyone can start a workflow.For Technical Decision Makers Thousands of Dollars Saved Using Workflow EngineIn 2006, a year before launching SnapFlow, Samad Wahedi began to tinker with workflow technologies and purchased the source code to a workflow engine created by another firm using the Microsoft .NET Framework. The custom code was difficult to work with, however, and building applications with it was time consuming. In 2007, Wahedi and GopinathDhanakodi, now Vice President of Engineering for SnapFlow, revisited the workflow market and evaluated most of the commercial and open source workflow tools available. The two ultimately decided to proceed with Windows Workflow Foundation 3.5 Service Pack 1, a Microsoft technology for building workflow-enabled applications, because of its rich features and also because Dhanakodi and fellow SnapFlow developers had deep experience developing with the Microsoft .NET Framework. “We decided that using Windows Workflow Foundation and the Microsoft .NET Framework would save us tens of thousands of dollars in designing a custom workflow engine,” Dhanakodi says. SnapFlow made the .NET Framework the business-logic layer of its solution, Microsoft SQL Server® 2008 data management software the database layer, and Windows Workflow Foundation 3.5 SP1 the workflow engine. Windows Communication Foundation 3.5 provides the link between Silverlight and the SnapFlow server. All server products run on the Windows Server® 2003 Enterprise operating system. The team also used Microsoft Visual Studio® 2008 development system tools.Faster Interface DevelopmentWhen it was time to develop the interface that users would employ to design their workflows, SnapFlow narrowed its development choices to Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, which Microsoft had just released in 2007. “Adobe Flash is widely used in many business applications, has a big user community, and has a fairly sophisticated feature set,” Dhanakodi says. “Silverlight was very new, and we were concerned that we wouldn’t find sufficient help in the development community.” So SnapFlow committed to Adobe Flash as its user-interface development framework for SnapFlow.A few weeks into prototype development, however, Dhanakodi and his team were disappointed with the progress they had made. The user interface looked clunky, and even simple changes took a long time to implement. Around the same time, SnapFlow consulted SoftSource Consulting, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in Portland, to validate its technology and design decisions. SoftSource was an avid proponent of Silverlight and offered to demonstrate the capabilities of that software by replicating the Flash prototype that SnapFlow had built. A few days later, SoftSource demonstrated how SnapFlow could design its SnapFlow user interface using Silverlight, and the team was impressed. “We decided that Silverlight was worth investigating in more detail,” Dhanakodi says. “Within a month, our team had made huge progress using Silverlight. Our team was able to learn the new tools and build a fairly sophisticated prototype without any support.”Shaun McAravey, Cofounder and Chief Architect for SoftSource, says, “Windows Workflow Foundation and Silverlight are sufficiently approachable technologies that a competent technical team can get up to speed and produce a remarkable product in very little time. SnapFlow really sped up its development using these tools.”To speed the user interface design, SnapFlow used Microsoft Expression Blend™ design software, which provided an easy-to-use development environment and rich user experience. Microsoft Expression Blend is an interactive, WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) front end for designing Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML)–based interfaces for Web and desktop applications.Time-to-Market 40 Percent Faster“Being able to take advantage of our developers’ existing skill set to build more capability faster, sped up our development work by at least 40 percent,” Dhanakodi says. “Plus, using Windows Workflow Foundation and Silverlight, we were able to produce a richer, more capable product sooner than we ever dreamed. It’s also easy to extend our core foundation with minimal work.”Lessons LearnedIdentify a target user before beginning design. Build a foundational product first and obtain customer feedback before enhancing. Build time into the schedule for developers to learn new tools.Solution Overview     Email Link                Organization Size: 10 employeesOrganization Profile SnapFlow is a startup company based in Portland, Oregon, chartered with “bringing workflow to the masses.” The company’s SnapFlow workflow-creation platform enables average end users to create automated workflows themselves using intuitive graphical tools.Software and ServicesMicrosoft Office SharePoint Server 2007Microsoft SilverlightMicrosoft Expression BlendMicrosoft SQL Server 2008Microsoft Windows Server 2003Windows Communication FoundationWindows Workflow FoundationSoftware + ServicesMicrosoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1Vertical IndustriesHosting, Application-Service, And Software As A Service ProvidersCountry/RegionUnited StatesPartner(s)SoftSource Consulting
  • Introduction / Summary Continental Airlines stands out from its competition through a commitment to superior customer service and a forward-thinking approach to technology. At Continental, technology not only enables business decisions, it drives them as well. When it came time to update its call center reservations system, the company looked for technologies that would offer improved functionality and also would adapt easily to changing business demands. Along with its partner Infusion Development, Continental built a new reservations solution as a Web-based application  based on Microsoft®Silverlight™ . The new system provides improved functionality and workflow for customer service agents . With the new solution, Continental saves money by consolidating servers and databases that currently sit in call centers around the world . By choosing Silverlight, the company also has reduced development and deployment time, simplified application management, and made it easy to integrate the new system with Continental’s existing Web services. Situation: Houston, Texas–based Continental Airlines has a strong tradition of service excellence in the airline industry, as evidenced by its selection as FORTUNE magazine’s “No. 1 World’s Most Admired Airline” six years in a row. The international carrier serves 265 airports on five continents with 351 jets and over 2,600 daily departures. Continental and its regional partners carried approximately 65 million passengers in 2008, and the company has over 43,000 employees.  One way Continental stays ahead of its competition is through forward-thinking investments in technology. At Continental, IT is not just a support organization, but a key business driver. “The airline space is not known for innovation when it comes to technology,” says Aaron Hynes, Managing Director of e-Commerce Technology at Continental. “So we’ve taken the approach that any technology we develop must be strategic in nature. That means being at the forefront of new technologies and new solutions to make sure we’re ahead of the business curve.” As part of its reservations system, Continental maintains an international network of customer service call centers  where agents help customers book new flights and troubleshoot existing reservations. The call centers have a total staff of 4,000 agents, with approximately from 500 to as many as 1,100 concurrent users processing up to 70,000 calls a day. To supplement the agents in the call centers, Continental also employs remote agents, who process customer calls from home using a connection based on licensed Citrix software.  Traditionally, agents have done their work using a dedicated client application developed in-house. In 2007 , Continental decided that it was time to replace the system. “Our existing application was reaching end of life,” says Jeff Mathew, Senior Manager in Technology at Continental. “It still works, but it took us too long to develop and deploy new builds, and it was hard for us to integrate with newer Web services. It took us four weeks to deploy a new build, and in a rapidly changing market that’s just not acceptable. Maintenance and support had become a pain as well, and we were having trouble finding developers to work on the older technology.” Continental began looking at new technologies with which to build a new reservations system  that would satisfy the following requirements: Easy to develop, deploy, and support new software for call centers and remote agentsLow bandwidth requirements for call centers and remote users with limited connectionsEasy to integrate with other Web services and technologiesFast, responsive, and simple for agents to use with minimal trainingFlexible and extensible for future development and responsiveness to business needs Solution:After clarifying its technological needs, Continental looked for a partner to help realize its vision. “We’ve worked closely with Microsoft, not just as a vendor, but as a partner in making sure we have a long-term plan for technology at Continental, ” says Mathew. “By having a consistent platform methodology and underlying technology, we can really speed the time to market.” After gaining planning assistance from Microsoft , Continental enlisted Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Infusion Development to help develop a prototype of the new reservations system. The team chose the Microsoft®Silverlight™browser plug-in  as the development platform for the new solution. Features such as robust data compression and asynchronous communication meant that the new application could do things other Web applications cannot.  “From our perspective, call center agents are our customers, and they’re really power users,” says Hynes. “We needed to be able to go beyond the normal limitations of what Web applications have been able to provide. Silverlight is a modern technology, and we can use it to deliver a rich experience that feels like a thick-client application. At the same time, we can keep management and costs centralized and more quickly deploy software to react to changing business needs.”  The partnership with Infusion was a key part of the development process. “Infusion was involved from the very beginning. They did the design for the user interface [UI], and they delivered Extensible Application Markup Language [XAML] files for us to integrate into our backend services. What they designed was great. Because of their development  expertise, they added many great UI features we hadn’t thought of.” To make training on the system easier, Infusion designed the new UI to look very similar to the existing application. “We didn’t want to give the agents something so different that they’d be confused. We’re trying hard to minimize the amount of training needed, which is particularly important when our agents are so geographically dispersed.” Continental developers found that Silverlight was a perfect addition to their existing investment in Microsoft technologies. Using it has helped them move toward a software-plus-services  model of delivery . “We have a strong base of experience with the Microsoft .NET platform, especially the C# programming language,” says Mathew. “Because Silverlight supports multiple languages, including C#, we could take advantage of our existing Microsoft investment and experience and easily extend it out to the Web. We can also give our application a richer feel and a stronger user experience.” “I can’t overestimate how important .NET has been in terms of providing a common platform that we can standardize on across the enterprise,” adds Hynes. “It works for basically any layer in the stack of our development, so that’s been key. Another key is the continued growth and investment Microsoft has put into the platform and the tools.” Continental believes that its choice to develop the new reservations system as a Web-based application  using Silverlight will benefit the company, its employees, and its customers. “Silverlight speeds our time to market, increases the return on our investment in existing services, and provides our agents with better functionality, which helps them better serve our customers,” says Hynes.  Benefits:By choosing a flexible and developer-friendly platform on which to build its new reservations system, Continental has positioned itself to continue as a technology leader in the airline industry. With its Silverlight-based solution, Continental can save  costs, manage customer calls more effectively and efficiently , and provide its customers with a better reservations experience . Easier Development, Deployment, and SupportBy using  Silverlight, Continental  developers have significantly reduced the amount of time necessary to produce and deploy new builds. “Developing for the Web helps us increase our reach and simplify our deployment,” says Mathew. “It’s basically a one-touch deployment now in the sense that we push the new build out to the servers and everybody gets the benefit of a brand-new release with no waiting .” Continental also found that developing in Silverlight allowed it to separate the design process from code development, so the efforts could proceed in parallel. “One of the things I truly enjoyed about working with Silverlight was being able to decouple the business logic from the user interface,” says Mathew. “We didn’t have to wait for the design to be done, and Infusion didn’t have to wait for us to be done. They delivered the XAML files for the interface, and we could integrate them when we were ready.”  Continental expects that the new system will be significantly easier to support and maintain than the previous one. “That is definitely a quantifiable savings  for us. We will be able to centralize our servers and databases and bring it all in-house,” says Mathew. “That will make them a lot easier to maintain, and it will save us all the remote service required to keep those machines up and running in the field.” Adaptable to Low-Bandwidth Situations and Multiple PlatformsUsing the asynchronous communication features and data compression available in Silverlight, Continental is finding it easier to work with remote agents and call centers in areas where the broadband infrastructure may not be robust, giving the company more choices in planning its customer service pool. The company is also examining the out-of-browser application possibilities in Silverlight 3  as an additional tool for overcoming bandwidth and connection difficulties. Because Silverlight runs on multiple platforms,  Continental now has even more flexibility when it comes to using remote workers. “We used to have a list of minimum hardware requirements,” says Mathew. “But Silverlight runs on multiple operating systems and browsers, so we can enroll more people in the remote agent program without worrying about those technical issues.” Decreased Costs and Increased ProductivityBy moving to a Web-based reservations system, Continental can eliminate the extra costs  for Citrix licenses associated with remote agents. “One reason we wanted a Web-centric solution was so we can deploy to home workers without the Citrix cost,” says Mathew. “That’s a big licensing issue for us, and these days anything you can do to save money is really a plus.” Also, by developing a new system with a more flexible workflow and faster response times, Continental gives all agents a more robust tool with which to do their jobs. With 70,000 calls processed per day, even a small reduction in average call time  will result in significant productivity savings. With the new streamlined workflow, agents can spend more of that call time addressing customer needs, rather than interacting with the application. Powerful Software for Customer ServiceBecause call center and remote agents are the customers for the new reservations system, Continental has worked hard to ensure that they will have a superior user experience. “Our business model has definitely changed since we developed our current reservations system,” says Mathew. “Our call center agents handle a lot more customer support calls. Our new system gives agents much more flexibility in their workflow within the system. Agent perception is key, and we want them to have a fast, responsive, consistent application.” Using the capabilities of Silverlight, Continental also is increasing the amount of information available to agents during a call. In addition to data entered by the customer through the phone menu, agents can also receive alerts and information about fare specials. With the previous application, customers who had visited continental.com sometimes had more information than the agents did, but the new system gives agents access to all of the same fare data that is externalized to customers. “We want to make sure every person is informed,” says FerdyKhater, Staff Vice President of Systems Development at Continental Airlines. “Whether you look at the Web, flip open your cell phone, or call one of our agents, we want to make sure that the customer is always getting the same answer. That instills trust.” Increased Focus on Business NeedsBy developing its new reservations system as a modern, Web-based application, Continental has positioned itself to remain a business and technology leader in the airline industry. “This business is ever-changing,” notes Hynes. “By extending our investment in .NET services and infrastructure with Silverlight, we can focus on reacting to business needs, knowing we have the flexibility to quickly adapt our application to meet those needs. With this approach, our executives and business leaders can spend more time on innovation and focus on initiatives that add value to the company .”  
  • Redmond, WA.-based K2 develops innovative software solutions for building process-driven applications that improve business efficiency. Its visual, familiar tools allow people with varying backgrounds and technical skill to create applications that automate business processes and streamline operations, and to easily modify these applications when requirements change. Recently, the company announced K2 blackpoint, a solution that enables users to visually build workflow applications within Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. The K2 blackpoint Web designer uses Microsoft Silverlight, enabling business users to easily create SharePoint workflows. "If you're a business that's currently using Microsoft SharePoint, K2 blackpoint gives you the visual tools that you need to rapidly and easily build workflows and process-driven applications, without writing any code or requiring a lot of complexity," said Dave Marcus, VP of Marketing at K2. "And because K2 uses Microsoft Silverlight to power the blackpoint Web designer, Silverlight enables K2 blackpoint users build richer, more powerful workflow solutions."“In a company where we continuously push ourselves to deliver tomorrow’s solutions today we cannot afford to use yesterday’s technologies. Our investments in Silverlight allows us to go beyond anything we have managed to do before in a timeframe that continues to keep us in the leadership position for building workflow based applications on Microsoft’s platform” said Adriaan van Wyk, CEO of K2. "We plan to continue to invest in Silverlight moving forward and are really excited about the new features in Silverlight 3 beta, particularly the new offline and out of browser capabilities,". "This will enable us to really push the envelope in future capabilities of K2 products”
  • Siemens Healthcare's syngo Dynamics platform allows review of clinical multi-frame imaging. From Ultrasound to coronary angiography, the images stored and displayed are used for creating physician reports that summarize the findings from the study which may even suggest the next clinical step in the care of that patient.- The solution is primarily facility-based, but as all of us become accustomed to accessing data where and when we want, so too do physicians. So, Siemens had developed a solution which provided simple web access to the imaging and completed reports.- The previous solution had some limitations which forced Siemens to re-architect a solution. The needs were great: very high speed over questionable bandwidth, superior image quality, low footprint for deployment.- Siemens chose Silverlight because it allowed them to meet those demands. Through customer use and now full product release, Siemens is able to provide a technically unique solution to the hospitals it serves.
  • Business NeedsFor MGM Studios, the Stargate franchise has proven to be an extremely valuable asset. A spin-off of the successful 1997 motion picture of the same name, Stargate SG-1 is the longest-running science-fiction series in U.S. television history. During its highly acclaimed run, the show has earned eight prime-time Emmy Awards, including the award for Best Visual Effects.  Now, MGM is expanding its Stargate lineup with the launch of Stargate Universe infall 2009. In this new series, Dr. David Rush and Colonel Everett Young lead an expeditionary team that is transported to the ancient spaceship Destiny. Trapped aboard the ship and unable to alter its course, the team must fend for itself against new enemies as it travels the outer reaches of the universe.  To promote the series, MGM began looking for a way to invite avid Stargate fans and curiosity seekers, who may be less familiar with the show’s premise, to virtually explore Destiny. The studio wanted to give visitors to stargate.mgm.com the opportunity to feel as if they were actually walking the ship’s corridors, entering its rooms, and inspecting its command center. “Our goal was to create a truly immersive experience for visitors to the site,” says Thomas Hughes, Vice President of Worldwide Digital Media at MGM Studios. “We knew the content had to be visually compelling, but we also wanted people to interact with and explore every detail of the images in front of them.” SolutionOnce MGM project leaders had a vision of the kind of experience they wanted to deliver, they set out to investigate the technologies capable of bringing this vision to life. Team leaders engaged Microsoft to learn more about Microsoft® Silverlight™. “We knew about Deep Zoom in Silverlight, and right away, that seemed like the perfect fit for our project,” says Hughes. “We wanted to take a closer look at the additional capabilities offered in Silverlight and other innovative Microsoft technologies.”  Out-of-This World Visitor ExperienceTo let Web site visitors see all of Destiny’s features in stunning detail throughout their virtual tour of the ship, the team used Microsoft Photosynth™. This technology stitches together hundreds of digital images to create a highly realistic three-dimensional (3-D) environment. Over the course of two days, an architectural photographer busily snapped several hundred pictures of practically every aspect of the ship—from the captain’s quarters to the navigation instruments located at the ship’s helm. The team then uploaded these photos to the Photosynth tool, which automatically analyzes and compares source images to detect subtle differences in angle, distance, and position. By using the Photosynth software, the team created more than a dozen 3-D panoramas, or “synths” of the ship’s interior from its collection of “flat” photographs.  The team then embedded its synths of Destiny in a custom, Web-based viewer application built on Silverlight. By using Silverlight together with Microsoft Expression Blend™, the team easily merged user interface elements with application code to develop intuitive navigation controls with a distinctive look and feel. Native support in Photosynth for panning and zooming, combined with Deep Zoom in Silverlight, enables viewers to use these controls to explore the composite images from a variety of angles in brilliant detail.  Real-World Monetization ModelBy using built-in tools in the solution, including Silverlight digital rights management (DRM), the team developed the Stargate viewer application to support an interstitial advertising model, enabling uninterrupted navigation. The viewer dynamically inserts advertising content as users move between images. Silverlight DRM ensures that advertiser assets remain fully encrypted until they are decompressed during playback, rather than only during transmission from server to player, as with some other, more limited encryption technologies. BenefitsWith its application built on Silverlight and Photosynth technologies, MGM’s Web visitors can explore the world of the new Stargate television series before it hits prime time. In addition, the studio has achieved a significant promotional success. Supports Rapid, Cost-Effective DevelopmentThrough seamless embedding of Photosynth projects into Silverlight applications, the MGM project team reduced coding time, enabling developers and designers to focus on optimizing the user experience. The project team was able to collaborate more efficiently and ensure the highest levels of quality control throughout the project by using Expression Blend, which operates seamlessly with Microsoft developer tools. As a result, MGM deployed the Stargate viewer application months ahead of the scheduled launch of the show.  Strengthens Connection with Fans and Expands Audience ReachWith its new Stargate series, MGM is certainly targeting longtime fans of the franchise and aficionados of the military science-fiction genre. The Stargate viewer application gives the company a powerful tool for generating excitement and loyalty among established viewers. “This experience is going to offer Stargate fans just what they want to see in just the kind of detail that they like. It’s a unique opportunity for people to walk around the ship, virtually, on their computer. It’s phenomenal,” says Hughes . MGM also wants to attract a wider viewership with the offer of a unique, high-action drama with outstanding visual effects. This application gives both fans and the uninitiated alike a compelling preview of the series, enabling them to experience life aboard Destiny and immerse themselves in the show’s plot.  Enhances Ability to Attract AdvertisersThe Stargate viewer application provides a compelling vehicle for advertisers. The highly interactive nature of the content and the intuitive navigation enabled by the technologies encourages viewers to spend more time on the MGM Stargate site. And, MGM can extend greater flexibility to prospective advertisers because the technology enables various in-stream advertising formats and supports multiple publishing frameworks. Furthermore, because Silverlight DRM provides enhanced encryption, MGM can ensure content owners that their media assets will remain protected and used only as intended to maximize brand integrity. In addition to this quote, it would be great if we could obtain a few additional quotes to emphasize the customer benefits
  • eBay Enhances Customer Loyalty with Software-Plus-Services Shopping Solution With a presence in 39 countries and an active customer base of more than 80 million people, eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace. To maintain its leadership position, eBay is constantly creating new solutions for engaging with customers. One such solution is the eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer®, based on Microsoft® Silverlight™. Through this sidebar, eBay provides a wealth of customer-specific information about buying and selling activity, the most exciting “daily deals,” and desktop alerts when the customer is “outbid”—even when the browser window is closed. With this solution, eBay is delivering on its brand promise of maintaining close customer engagement, enhancing customer loyalty, and strengthening relationships with retailers. The company also is inspiring third-party developers to use its Web services for building their own tools. SituationFounded as a one-person startup in 1995, eBay has changed the face of e-commerce. Today, the online-shopping site serves more than 80 million active customers, and in 2007, it handled transactions for more than U.S.$60 billion worth of goods. The company also owns other widely known Internet businesses and sites, among them PayPal, Skype, Shopping.com, Rent.com, and a number of online classified ad sites.With this [solution] … we are giving customers an engaging and compelling way to keep track of their eBay activity and our great deals. Jonathan GabbaiGlobal Innovations Manager, Internet Marketing, eBay One reason for eBay’s enduring popularity with customers is its ongoing commitment to providing them with ever-more convenient ways to access its site and services. Two highly successful examples of this are My eBay, which gives customers extensive information on active and ended items, saved searches, and more; and the eBay Toolbar, which provides desktop alerts, a built-in search box, and shortcut links to useful site features. Recently, eBay decided it was time to build on the success of these solutions by introducing innovations in functionality and form factor alike. “Across e-commerce, companies have been vying to ‘conquer the desktop’ with preinstalled shortcut links, desktop gadgets, in-browser search capabilities, and other customer touch points,” explains Jonathan Gabbai, Global Innovations Manager, Internet Marketing for eBay. “We wanted to create an entirely new approach for staying in contact with customers and for providing real-time snapshots of their eBay activity. And we wanted to do it in a way that would give those customers quick, unobtrusive access to their eBay information without taking up too much browser real estate.”SolutionGabbai and his team decided to create a solution that would provide information on customers’ eBay activity through a sidebar displayed within the Windows® Internet Explorer® 8 browser. As team members envisioned it, the sidebar would provide convenient access to details on watched, buying, and selling items, as well as on saved searches, saved sellers, and popular “daily deals”—regardless of the site the customer happened to be visiting at the time (Figure 1). The sidebar also would inform the customer of important events, such as being outbid on a product, through alert messages on the desktop. Figure 1. The eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer To tackle such an ambitious project, Gabbai’s team sought a development platform with powerful and flexible visual-presentation capabilities and a small customer-download footprint—and found it in the Microsoft® Silverlight™ 2 browser plug-in. “Because of its highly dynamic nature, we figured that Silverlight could help us make transitions easily, present highly contextual information without having to worry about AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and XML] workarounds, and pack a lot of information into a very small space,” Gabbai says. “We also figured that with Silverlight, if we could imagine it, we could do it, without the technical limitations of working in HTML.” Team members balanced their excitement about the technical possibilities of the project with a very measured approach to the development process. First, they spent about 10 weeks on their proof of concept, demonstrating how Silverlight could run in a sidebar, as well as how customers could open and interact with Web pages from the sidebar and drag links into it. In the proof of concept, the team also determined how to make both the sidebar and desktop alert interact with a background service that controls communication with the eBay Web service, or Application Programming Interface (API).  Next, the team enlisted the help of user-experience experts from How Splendid and software engineers from Glaxstar. The How Splendid professionals, who fleshed out the concept and developed detailed interaction and visual design, spoke highly of the role played by Silverlight in pre-beta development. “Silverlight afforded us a broad canvas for creating a rich and engaging customer experience,” says Daniel Morris, Managing Partner for How Splendid. [W]ithSilverlight, if we could imagine it, we could do it, without the technical limitations of working in HTML. Jonathan GabbaiSenior Global Innovations Manager, Internet Marketing, eBay The Glaxstar professionals, who worked on architecture, coding, testing, and deployment of the solution, also spoke highly of Silverlight. Erik van Eykelen, Vice President of Engineering and Technology at Glaxstar, says that, coupled with the Microsoft Visual Studio® 2008 development system, Silverlight provided an ideal development platform for creating the rich and innovative graphical environment that his team had envisioned at the outset. “Because it’s based on XML, Silverlight was familiar to us from the start,” van Eykelen explains. “Using Silverlight, one engineer working just half-time on the project released a rudimentary version of the user interface in just a week. We also were impressed by the wealth of built-in customizable user interface elements in Silverlight, and we found animations and storyboards easy to implement as compared with other languages and platforms.”Known as the eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer, the solution is being released alongside three separate add-ins for Internet Explorer 8: eBay Visual Search, which enables rapid searching for eBay items directly from the browser search box, with enhanced search suggestions and images of popular products; eBay Search Accelerator, which enables a customer to instantly access eBay pricing and availability of a given product by selecting the product name as it might appear on any Web site; and eBay Product Web Slices, which enables the addition of a product to the Favorites bar for easy access to its changing pricing and availability status on eBay. BenefitsThrough the development and deployment of the eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer, eBay Visual Search, eBay Search Accelerator, and eBay Product Web Slices, eBay is providing customers with a compelling, rich, and portable experience that can drive business benefits in three primary areas. First, the company is delivering on its brand promise of maintaining close customer engagement, giving individuals new ways to interact with the site and enhancing customer loyalty by being front of mind. Second, the company is cultivating stronger relationships among large retail customers and among PC manufacturers and vendors. Third, the company is enhancing its reputation not only as an online-shopping site, but also as a platform for use by developers of other sites, which can also serve to drive more customer traffic to eBay. Builds Customer LoyaltyAs Gabbai explains, by providing timely and comprehensive functionality and information through a space-saving sidebar, the eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer helps keep eBay foremost in mind when individuals think about online shopping. Using Silverlight, one engineer working just half-time on the project released a rudimentary version of the user interface in just a week. Erik van EykelenVice President of Engineering and Technology, Glaxstar“Now, our most active customers can access the information they have traditionally accessed through My eBay, but in a far more convenient way,” Gabbai says. “They no longer need to maintain a separate browser window or even have the browser open, yet they have all the real-time information they need for effectively managing their online buying or selling activity, while being confident that any important events are messaged in the desktop through alerts. This makes them more loyal to eBay when they are deciding to list, bid, buy, and sell items.” The eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer also makes eBay more attractive to retailers that use the site for their sales, which may include clearance offers and high-volume, low-priced deals. “Retailers appreciate that we are using cutting-edge resources to showcase the kind of deals that help attract buyers and keep them coming back,” Gabbai says. “The retailers understand that this translates into more sales opportunities for them.” Creates a “Win-Win-Win” Situation Similarly, the eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer makes eBay more attractive to PC manufacturers and vendors that might consider distributing the sidebar with their products. “These businesses are always seeking new ways to give their customers an engaging experience,” Gabbai says. “By including the eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer, they can give those customers who are looking for good deals or a way to make money by selling on the site the same functionality in a preinstalled add-in while maintaining a clean desktop environment. It’s a win-win-win—for the manufacturer or vendor, its customers, and eBay.” Third-party developers of online-shopping applications and services for eBay are another audience that Gabbai believes will be intrigued by the way eBay has used its publicly available Web services, or APIs. “Through the eBay Sidebar for Internet Explorer, we are showing developers how our APIs can help to drive powerful, customer-engaging solutions,” Gabbai says. “We hope developers will be inspired to use the eBay APIs for building other inventive applications and online services that ultimately drive more traffic to eBay.”Achieves Another First in Its FieldWhether Gabbai is talking about individual eBay customers, large retailers, PC manufacturers and vendors, or third-party developers, he is confident that the solutions his team has created with Silverlight will make a powerful difference. “At eBay, we have achieved a lot of ‘firsts’ in our journey of becoming a leader in online shopping,” he explains. “With this, the first Silverlight-based Internet Explorer 8 sidebar solution for online shopping, we are giving customers an engaging and compelling way to keep track of their eBay activity and our great deals
  • Hard Rock International Creates Unique Rock ’n’ Roll Experience Online Begun as an authentic American diner in London in 1971, Hard Rock International today owns restaurants, hotels, casinos, and live venues throughout the world, as well as an unparalleled collection of rock ’n’ roll memorabilia. Hard Rock wanted to reinforce its authentic brand and role as custodian to rock ’n’ roll history by sharing its collection of memorabilia with fans. Working with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Vertigo and design and advertising agency Duncan/Channon, Hard Rock used Microsoft Silverlight™ 2 to create a unique Web site that serves as a shrine to all things rock. Visitors use intuitive zoom technology to navigate the collection, investigate the stories behind each piece and share their discoveries with friends. Using Microsoft products and technologies, Vertigo built a content management system and infrastructure for the site in just 30 days.SituationIn rock ’n’ roll religion, Hard Rock is a place of worship. Since its inception as an American diner in London in 1971, Hard Rock International has displayed relics of rock ’n’ roll lore and music culture for the veneration of millions of fans. The company’s more than 146 restaurants and venues, located around the world, feature genuine rock artifacts—everything from the red Fender Lead II guitar that Eric Clapton hung above his reserved table in the original Hard Rock to the handwritten lyrics of a song that Axl Rose penned for Guns N’ Roses’ breakthrough album Appetite for Destruction. Hard Rock’s Memorabilia site reinforces that our brand stands for that personal, authentic connection fans have with rock ’n’ roll music and its heroes. Sean Dee, Chief Marketing Officer, Hard Rock International To emphasize the authenticity of the company’s brand and to differentiate it from mass-market theme restaurants and hotel chains, Hard Rock hired design and advertising agency Duncan/Channon. Part of the new brand campaign involved a Web site featuring Hard Rock’s memorabilia collection, the largest and most valuable music memorabilia collection in the world. “At more than 70,000 pieces, our collection has been described as the Smithsonian of rock ’n’ roll,” says Sean Dee, Chief Marketing Officer at Hard Rock International. “But of course, this memorabilia is extremely valuable and must be handled with extreme care, so we wanted to find a more practical way to bring the collection to a broader audience around the world.” Duncan/Channon worked with the online services group and a cross-functional team of experts at Hard Rock to build a memorabilia Web site that would let fans view artifacts and read the story behind each one. The initial plans involved an HTML-based Web site with basic search capabilities and some Flash components. Each archive item would have its own page, and visitors would be able to zoom in on each item. Figure 1. The Hard Rock Memorabilia Web site. SolutionWhile the team worked on the creative aspects of the new site, Duncan/Channon’s development collaborator and Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Vertigo suggested a new approach using Microsoft Silverlight™ 2, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering next-generation Web experiences. “As soon as we received the beta code for Silverlight 2 and explored the Deep Zoom capabilities, we understood that this technology would radically change what was possible for the memorabilia site,” says Scott Stanfield, CEO of Vertigo.To convince colleagues at Hard Rock and Duncan/Channon, Stanfield created a presentation of 1,500 family photos using Silverlight 2 and Deep Zoom, a capability that allows users to explore collections of super-high-resolution images. The demonstration assuaged any initial skepticism about Silverlight 2.“Once we saw Deep Zoom in action, there was no longer a debate about which technology we would use,” explains Michael Lemme, Creative Director at Duncan/Channon. “Deep Zoom doesn’t just approximate the real-life experience people have at Hard Rock, it goes even further so that fans can get closer and interact with pieces in ways they couldn’t in person.”From Deep Zoom to Deep PurpleAs shown in Figure 1, the Hard Rock Memorabilia site (http://memorabilia.hardrock.com) presents visitors with a mosaic image of all the pieces in the collection—altogether an amazing 2 billion pixels in size at launch, and growing all the time.Visitors to the site can zoom in and out by using the scroll wheel on the mouse, pan the image by clicking and dragging, or quickly target a specific item by clicking it. When the visitor selects an item, historical details appear in a transparent frame, along with audio and video; links to external Web sites; and an option to share information about that item through e-mail or on a blog. To the left of the images, visitors can select filtered views of the online collection according to featured artists, type of artifact, decade, musical genre, and location, as shown in Figure 2. Once a visitor selects a view, the site rearranges the images in a quick animated sequence.“The combination of Deep Zoom and filtered views could accommodate the entire collection of 70,000 pieces. This is a new paradigm for exploring large sets of visual data—it is far more appealing than the traditional approach of thumbnails and page-based navigation,” says Lemme.Microsoft technologies ensure the system would not only perform as quickly as possible, but scale as the memorabilia collection grows to encompass all 70,000 pieces. Scott Stanfield, CEO, Vertigo Hard Rock wants to encourage greater interaction among its customers through the site. While researching the project, Duncan/Channon found that many fans Figure 2. The memorabilia site offers sophisticated navigation.already post their own images and videos of Hard Rock memorabilia on photo-sharing and video-sharing sites. “A search for ‘hard rock’ on Flickr returns 80,000 results, and many of those photos are accompanied by extensive comment threads. People are already out there talking about Hard Rock memorabilia and having discussions about the story behind particular pieces and what it meant for their favorite artists,” says Dee. “One of our primary goals with this site is to foster that type of discussion.” In coming months, Hard Rock plans to add comment features so that fans can discuss particular items through regular text comments or by posting their own related image. Hard Rock is also working on widgets that people can embed in their blogs or Web sites. These widgets will feature selected items or custom collections.Developer Jam SessionVertigo used Microsoft Visual Studio® Team System 2008 Team Suite and an early beta version of Silverlight 2 to build Hard Rock’s Memorabilia site in just 30 days. Developers worked in familiar C# code and used some JavaScript for the scroll wheel controls. “The Hard Rock Memorabilia site was the first Web site to employ Deep Zoom technology, and we collaborated closely with the Silverlight team at Microsoft on the beta technology. Today, developers that create applications for Silverlight 2 will have a wealth of resources at their disposal, including a software development kit and tools like Deep Zoom Composer,” says Mike Hanley, Engineering Director at Vertigo.To make it easier to edit and expand the online collection and enable filtered views of the collection, Vertigo made the memorabilia site data driven, or automatically composed from separate content elements instead of pieced together with custom code. Vertigo built a tool called Vertigo BigPicture™ that organizes content and collections of images. The system includes a content management system based on Windows® SharePoint® Services 3.0 and a file system for managing the 77,000 image files that comprised the initial launch of the Hard Rock Memorabilia site. Fast Facts Days to complete 30 days Image tiles 77,000 tiles Image size 2 billion pixels Project team 1 project manager, 1 designer, 6 developersDevelopment software Microsoft Visual Studio® Team System 2008 Team Suite Programming languages C#, JavaScript Programming model and technologies Microsoft Silverlight 2, Deep Zoom, Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Microsoft ASP.NET The memorabilia site launched with 257 items, but the company plans to eventually include thousands of pieces. To ensure optimum performance of the Web application, Vertigo employed 64-bit code on Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 and Windows Server® 2003 R2 with Internet Information Services 6.0. “While Deep Zoom in Microsoft Silverlight 2 is simple enough for enthusiasts to build applications with, we needed to make sure the Hard Rock application would scale in terms of performance and manageability as new items are added in the future,” says Hanley.BenefitsThe Hard Rock Memorabilia site helps Hard Rock International promote its unique collection of rock ’n’ roll icons and differentiate itself from mass-market venues. “Hard Rock’s Memorabilia site reinforces that our brand stands for that personal, authentic connection fans have with rock ’n’ roll music and its heroes,” says Dee.Raw, Emotive ExperienceMicrosoft Silverlight 2 and the Deep Zoom technology helped Hard Rock, Duncan/Channon, and Vertigo capture the tangible spirit of rock ’n’ roll through an online experience. “Rock ’n’ roll is about authenticity, doing something different, and expressing yourself without inhibition. Deep Zoom brings those qualities to the memorabilia site and lets people interact with these objects in a way that is both unique and natural,” says Lemme. “Deep Zoom adds another dimension beyond horizontal and vertical scrolling; now, viewers can seamlessly zoom in—extremely close—to an object or group of objects.”While most Hard Rock memorabilia is encased in glass and displayed in locations around the world, the memorabilia site lets fans interact with rare pieces and inspect details, such as handwritten lyrics and letters, as shown in Figure 3. “Microsoft Silverlight 2 revolutionizes what is possible for a site like this. It is a huge advance in terms of what we can create for our clients and their customers,” says Stanfield. “Visitors to the Hard Rock Memorabilia site can easily inspect the grain of leather on a jacket or the individual wire wraps on the E string of a guitar. You can look inside Buddy Holly’s glasses and read the inscription of the manufacturer.” Deep Zoom doesn’t just approximate the real-life experience people have at Hard Rock, it goes even further so that fans can get closer and interact with pieces in ways they couldn’t in person. Michael Lemme, Creative Director, Duncan/ChannonFamiliar, Cross-Platform DevelopmentWorking with technology still in development, the Vertigo team built the Hard Rock Memorabilia site in just 30 days, thanks to the familiar development languages and mechanisms supported in Silverlight 2. In addition, the development team did not worry about which browser visitors used because Silverlight 2 supports all major browsers, as well as the Apple Macintosh platform. Vertigo also took advantage of Microsoft server products and technologies to handle the tremendous technical challenges for the site. “At the launch, the site comprised 55 gigabits of RAW-format images, streaming videos, and 3.5 gigabits of other content—all available in a browser that runs at 30 frames per second as the viewer pans around an image with 2 billion pixels,” says Stanfield. “That’s a lot of requests back to the server. Microsoft technologies ensure the system would not only perform as quickly as possible, but scale as the memorabilia collection grows to encompass all 70,000 pieces.” Stronger Brand Affinity Figure 3. The memorabilia site lets fans inspect fine details.The Hard Rock Memorabilia site raises the profile of Hard Rock International as the custodian of rock history—and fosters the discussion and sharing of that history online. In just a few weeks after the public launch, traffic to the site has quickly risen due to word-of-mouth recommendations and favorable reviews in blogs. Upcoming commenting features and widgets that people can embed elsewhere online will continue to excite and engage the community of fans. The site’s intuitive navigation and historical details, provided by the resident Hard Rock experts, draw visitors in and foster a close connection with the Hard Rock brand. “We expect people to spend significant amounts of time on the site, poring over memorabilia and reading the stories that connect a particular piece with the music or an artist that they grew up with and love,” says Dee.
  • Digital Publisher Creates New Business Opportunities for Online Content Delivery Bondi Digital Publishing, based in New York City, has built a reputation for innovative, user-friendly digital content delivery. Working with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Vertigo, Bondi developed an innovative new Web delivery solution based on the Microsoft Silverlight™ browser plug-in. Bondi has used its new solution to build online Web archives forPlayboyand Rolling Stone magazines. These archives give consumers access to old content that might otherwise have been lost, and they provide publishers and advertisers with a new delivery model that generates new revenue streams from preexisting content. SituationBondi Digital Publishing built its reputation for innovative, user-friendly digital content delivery with its release of The Complete New Yorker on DVD in 2005. As traditional print publishers have struggled to cost-effectively move their assets online, Bondi has been working on new models for distributing printed content on the Internet in a way that makes sense for both producers and consumers. To do this, Bondi needed a delivery mechanism that could handle the technical challenges of presenting large repositories of image-based data on the Web, while simultaneously offering a robust and responsive user experience.The Web is changing the way people consume the written word. “Silverlight gave us the tools we need to effectively monetize archival publishing content and deliver a compelling user experience”. Marat Aktar          Co-founder, Bondi Digital PublishingSolutionWorking with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Vertigo, Bondi developed a Web delivery solution based on the Microsoft Silverlight™ browser plug-in. Bondi and Vertigo found that Silverlight offered the features they needed to create an unmatched browsing experience. “With Silverlight and its Deep Zoom technology, you can browse magazines online at the same speed you can flip physical pages,” says Bondi Co-founder David Anthony. Adds Murat Aktar, another Bondi Co-founder, “The way that Silverlight integrates with other Microsoft products meant we could build our solution on Microsoft technology from top to bottom. That makes the whole solution more solid.”BenefitsBondi has used its Silverlight-based solution to build www.playboyarchive.com, offering free digital issues of the iconic magazine. Bondi will put complete archival libraries of Rolling Stone and Playboy magazines online at www.covertocover.com during the third quarter of 2009, giving consumers the opportunity to access old content that might otherwise have been lost, and providing publishers and advertisers with a new delivery model that generates new revenue streams from preexisting content. “Traditional TV broadcast, print, and radio stations are models that have been around a long time,” notes Scott Stanfield, CEO of Vertigo. “These industries are finding ways to reinvigorate themselves with Vertigo-built solutions and Microsoft technology.”
  • Full Case Study : http://mscomapps/gcrpinternal/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000003864Vehicle Pricing Provider Anticipates User Needs with Interactive and Mobile Experiences Kelley Blue Book is a leading provider for new and used automobile values. The company’s Web site, kbb.com, averages 12 million visits per month. To succeed on the Web, the company needs to provide consumers with reliable, immediate access to car values in new and innovative ways, whether users are sitting in front of their PCs or want information via their mobile phones. The company’s use of Microsoft® software gives Kelley Blue Book a Web presence with which it can easily deliver the innovative experiences that customers demand—in turn, helping Kelley Blue Book differentiate itself from its competition and drive new revenues. Just as important, Kelley Blue Book can maintain a reliable Web presence with minimal costs, making it possible for the company to spend more on new product development. SituationKelley Blue Book has been a leading source of used-car values since 1926, when the company published its first Blue Book of Motor Car Values. For many years, Blue Book® guides were sold mainly to businesses, such as car dealers and financial institutions. However, with the advent of the Internet, Kelley Blue Book saw an opportunity to reach consumers, as well. Today, nearly one out of every three people in the United States who buys a new or used car visits kbb.com. The company also has business-to-business products such as KARPOWER Online®, which is used by automobile dealers and other industry participants.Since Kelley Blue Book first launched its Web site in 1995, the Internet has fueled the biggest growth in the company’s history. “For many years, our main source of revenue was car dealers, who bought our printed books,” says Justin Yaros, Executive Vice President of Product Design and Development at Kelley Blue Book. “When we first launched kbb.com, we charged $3.95 for a pricing report—but that didn’t go over very well. We pulled the plug on charging a fee for pricing reports after three weeks and began the switch to a business run like radio and television, supported by advertising and partners.”With the majority of its revenue today derived from advertising and lead generation on kbb.com, the company’s Web site is its crown jewel. Kelley Blue Book must continually work to deliver innovative new Web site capabilities and customer experiences to attract and retain users, win over advertisers, and compete for visitors with other Web sites. “Our data is syndicated to other Web sites, as well, so how users can interact with the data on kbb.com is just as important as the data itself,” says Yaros. “Consumers want instant access to car values, whether they’re just starting the research process and are sitting at home in front of their PCs or are at a car dealer and need instant information via their   mobile phone. Our internal conversations are always about the customer experience, and our focus today is all about making the site more interactive and accessible in new ways.”To retain this focus on new customer experiences, Kelley Blue Book must work to minimize the cost of running its Web site. “When it comes to my IT budget, we need operational costs to remain low,” says Yaros. “I want to spend money on developing new products that will drive additional revenues, not on keeping our existing servers up and running.”Kelley Blue Book must also ensure that its Web site delivers a consistent, reliable customer experience, even during peak traffic times. “We receive more than 12 million visits a month, so the reliability of our Web site is just as important as the accuracy of our data,” says Yaros. “If someone has a bad experience on our site, that’s likely a user that we’ve lost to the competition.”SolutionKelley Blue Book is meeting all the above business needs using Microsoft® software, including the Windows Server® 2003 operating system, Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 database management software, and the Microsoft .NET Framework. “We may be able to develop interesting products with any technology, but only Microsoft gives us what we need to run the entire business,” says Yaros. “The depth and breadth of Microsoft software—and the Windows® ecosystem—gives us a great advantage, in that we know a solution can always be found.”With our Silverlight-based client, we can approach advertising in an entirely new way. People are engaged for five to seven minutes, which becomes very attractive to advertisers. Justin YarosExecutive Vice President of Product Design and Development, Kelley Blue Book Kbb.com, the company’s “flagship” product, is based on Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0, with an upgrade to ASP.NET 3.5 in the works. The site uses Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) programming techniques to reduce the number of roundtrips required between users’ Web browsers and the Web site—in turn, leading to increased responsiveness as users interact with the content on Web pages. Software development is done using the Microsoft Visual Studio® 2008 Professional development system, and Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server is used as a source code control and build environment. “Kelley Blue Book is very much a software development company, with about half of all IT resources devoted to product development,” says Lapin. “I’m a developer at heart, and my personal opinion is that Microsoft development tools such as Visual Studio 2008 and Team Foundation Server provide a huge benefit over other platforms. Developer productivity on Windows is, without a doubt, head and shoulders above that for Linux.”Integrated IT InfrastructureThe Web servers that host kbb.com are Dell PowerEdge 1950 systems that run the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, and each is configured with one processor and 8 gigabytes of RAM. The database servers are Dell PowerEdge 2950 systems that run 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 Standard or Enterprise, along with 64-bit versions of either SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition.The kbb.com Web site and all other products are supported by a single, integrated data pipeline. Kelley Blue Book receives data on vehicle transactions from all over the United States, from many different sources, ranging from dealer management systems to Microsoft Office Excel® spreadsheets that are filled out and submitted by employees in the field. The company uses SQL Server 2005 Integration Services to transform the data and load it into a SQL Server 2005 relational database, and then uses SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and business analytics software from SAS to analyze the data and predict residual values. Processed vehicle value data is accessed by kbb.com and the company’s other products through a service-oriented architecture that Kelley Blue Book developed using Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. “A service-oriented architecture enables us to quickly and easily get Kelley Blue Book data from where it originates out to our many products,” says Andy Lapin, Director of Architecture for Kelley Blue Book. “And it enables all those products to access the data in a consistent manner, whether they are business-to-consumer products like kbb.com, business-to-business products like KARPOWER Online, or feeds to other Web sites that syndicate our data.”New Levels of InteractivityWith its current IT infrastructure, Kelley Blue Book can easily execute on its number-one priority: continually delivering new products and customer experiences. One recent such project was the delivery of a highly interactive “Perfect Car Finder® Photo Edition” experience on kbb.com, which the company delivered using the Microsoft Silverlight™ browser plug-in. The project was conceived in mid-2008, when Yaros’s team was having one of its frequent discussions on how the company could further differentiate kbb.com from competing Web sites.Kelley Blue Book is using Microsoft Silverlight to deliver a highly interactive user experience.“Someone had stumbled across the HardRock.com Web site, which uses the Deep Zoom technology in Silverlight 2 to let users visually explore, and we realized that we could do something similar with cars,” recalls Yaros. “Most people who come to kbb.com know the make and model of the car they want to research and go from there, primarily getting to the images of a car only after specifying it. Silverlight enabled us to support an entirely new approach in which people can view the images of many cars at once—and interactively adjust which cars are displayed based on characteristics such as body style, price, and mileage.” From an architectural perspective, the Silverlight-based client is a rich Internet application. It was built by one developer in about eight weeks, with a few hours of assistance from a designer to help with the look and feel. Deep Zoom is used to intelligently load photos of various resolutions that zoom in and out in real time as the user interacts with the slider bars and other controls in the left pane of the user interface. Support for Mobile UsersKelley Blue Book also took advantage of Microsoft software to add support for mobile users—a consumer need that is clearly growing. “We noticed that kbb.com was getting around 200,000 visits per month from mobile Web browsers,” recalls Lapin. “However, where we get an average of 14 page views per visit from desktop browsers, we were getting only 2 or 3 page views from mobile users, which made it clear that people were abandoning the experience before they found the information they wanted.”Working part-time over a four-month period, Lapin built two mobile versions of kbb.com—one for the Apple iPhone, and one for other mobile Web browsers. “As expected, I was able to reuse the existing service-oriented infrastructure we had built for delivering vehicle data to our products, and merely implement new user interfaces,” says Lapin. “We’ve since mobile-enabled one of our dealer products, and that only took two weeks.”BenefitsWith Microsoft software, Kelley Blue Book is able to successfully run its online business and remain a leader in delivering car-value data and other content on the Web. The company’s choice of software makes it easy to deliver the reliability that users expect, maintain a Web presence with minimal costs, and rapidly deliver new customer experiences that drive Web site traffic and revenues. “Part of my mandate is to ensure that we continue to innovate so that people take notice and continue to spread the word that kbb.com is the place to go for vehicle values and related content,” says Yaros. “Microsoft software enables us to do just that.”Rapid Delivery of New Web Site Capabilities and ExperiencesKelley Blue Book can rapidly deliver new experiences that enable users to interact with car-value data and other information in new ways. One such example is Perfect Car Finder Photo Edition, a user experience unlike anything offered by competing Web sites. “The Silverlight-based client has received more positive feedback than any other thing we’ve done, so we’ll definitely continue to enhance the application,” says Yaros. “We’re excited about what else we can do with it, such as providing the ability to compare two cars side by side and synchronously rotate those views. Or, we may use it to provide users with a new way to view dealer inventory, which is a big push for us in 2009. Today, on most Web sites, people are presented with an HTML-based list and have to drill in and back out of that list to explore a dealer’s inventory. With Silverlight, we could deliver a more interactive ‘on the lot’ experience.”Yaros, who has profit-and-loss responsibility for kbb.com, is also excited about the potential for a different advertising model. “Users look at a standard Web page for approximately 10 seconds, and advertisers know this,” he says. “With our Silverlight-based client, we can approach advertising in an entirely new way. People are engaged for five to seven minutes, which becomes very attractive to advertisers.”Although the customer experience delivered by the Silverlight-based client is new and innovative from a developer perspective, the technology used to deliver that experience was already familiar. “A C# developer who had never used Silverlight before was able to deliver a mockup in just two days—without learning any new skills or tools—and complete the project in less than two months,” says Lapin. “Perception among some people is that Silverlight is the Microsoft version of Adobe Flash. However, you don’t get Deep Zoom in Flash, and we could never have used Flash to do what we did in only eight weeks.”Mobile Access to Vehicle DataThrough its mobile Web sites, Kelley Blue Book is meeting user demand for anywhere, anytime access to its data. “In the past, mobile users couldn’t easily get to the information they needed and would give up after 1 or 2 page views,” says Lapin. “Today, our mobile sites receive an average of 7 to 10 page views per visit, which is proof that we’re doing a better job of meeting user needs. Mobile traffic is still a small percentage of total site traffic, but it is increasing in terms of sheer volume and percentage of total traffic. Demand is clearly there, even though we haven’t marketed our mobile capabilities much at all.”Not only are we ahead of our competition with respect to the mobile experience we’re able to deliver, but we’ve gained a new source of revenue. Justin YarosExecutive Vice President of Product Design and Development, Kelley Blue Book The new mobile sites have yielded advertising benefits, as well. “We sold advertising space for our mobile sites to one company for November and December of 2008, and already have two more advertisers lined up for 2009,” says Yaros. “Not only are we ahead of our competition with respect to the mobile experience we’re able to deliver, but we’ve gained a new source of revenue. Best of all, the investment to begin realizing that new source of revenue was very low because we were able to reuse the infrastructure we already have with very little developer effort required.” For Yaros, the fact that the company could support mobile users so well—and so easily—came as a pleasant surprise. “It’s not like we formally set out to build a mobile site,” he says. “Andy did it as time allowed and with no funding. We had wanted to provide mobile support for a while, but it had never been a priority because the right business model had never been clear, and thus, it had been difficult to muster enthusiasm within the company. However, when Andy showed me what he had built, I was thrilled. We showed it to our Director of Advertising Products, and soon after that we had our first advertiser for our new mobile sites.”Like Lapin, Yaros also points out that traffic patterns are proving the mobile sites’ usefulness to consumers. “On kbb.com, traffic peaks on Mondays,” he says. “On the mobile sites, traffic peaks on weekends, when people are out shopping for cars. So there’s clearly a demand. There’s a lot that we can do in the area of mobile support, and our IT infrastructure makes it easy. We’re really excited about the whole area.”Strong Reliability and SecurityEven as Kelley Blue Book works to deliver new customer experiences, it is able to deliver a trouble-free customer experience to millions of visitors each month. “In terms of security and reliability, everything has been really solid,” says Yaros. “We’ve never had a security incident, and I can’t remember the last time that our Web site was down. The only issues we’ve faced have been due to growing pains, such as fine-tuning performance for the Web site—an area where Microsoft Support and our technical account manager have been a great help.”Low Total Cost of OwnershipThanks to the ease of management provided by Microsoft software, Kelley Blue Book is able to minimize the total cost of ownership (TCO) for its Web site. ”By far, the largest component of TCO is labor costs,” says Lapin. “And, because our IT infrastructure is so efficient to run and support, we can spend most of our IT labor budget on new product development. Our ratio of developers to system administrators is about 10:1, yet our system administrators are able to easily stay on top of all the new products and applications we’re delivering. The Web site itself only requires two-and-a-half system administrators, and, although we’re a big user of SQL Server 2005, we’re able to run the entire company with only two database administrators.”Lapin has a similar view on software licensing costs, another (albeit smaller) component of TCO, preferring to view them in the context of the benefits provided by the software rather than in isolation. “Sure, we spend a little bit of money on software licensing costs,” says Lapin. “But when you look at our software licensing costs versus labor costs for development and operations, the amount we spend on software is laughable. The superior levels of productivity we’re able to realize with Microsoft software more than make up for any licensing costs—many, many times over. When we take a long-term view at what it takes to build good, sustainable products, the answer is clearly Microsoft software.”
  • Chicago, IL.-based Careerbuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions with the largest online job site in the United States. The company posts over 1 million job opportunities on its U.S. site, and currently averages more than 23 million unique visitors a month. To help its subscribers aggregate and analyze the candidates for a given position, Careerbuilder is building a new rich Internet application (RIA) called "Applicant Explorer", which is scheduled to be released later in 2009. Leveraging the rich controls of Microsoft Silverlight and the power of the Microsoft Live Search API, Applicant Explorer will enable Careerbuilder's premium subscribers to rapidly sort through over 31 million resumes, as well as millions of resumes posted on social networking Websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Recruiters will be able to narrow their candidate search in the Applicant Explorer application by dynamically sorting and viewing information by content type or key attributes. " Applicant Explorer is designed to provide employers with a more complete picture of an applicant, pulling information from a variety of sources to highlights skills, experience and accomplishments ," said Greg Brass,director of Profile Search at Careerbuilder. " Working with Microsoft gives us the ability to easily load, sort, filter and page data so recruiters can dynamically sift through large amounts of data quickly and easily. We expect the application will introduce a greater efficiency and depth of knowledge into the overall recruitment experience.” ."
  • Tata Motors is India’s largest automobile company, and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial vehicles. The company’s most recent passenger model, the Tata Nano, was announced in January 2008. Nicknamed “the world’s cheapest car,” the Nano was designed to make vehicle ownership affordable for average Indian citizens. To help manage the tremendous interest in the Nano, and to help facilitate its online booking process, Tata Motors used Windows® Presentation Foundation to build and deploy an interactive, in-store user experience, featuring detailed photographs and videos of the Nano. The company took that same experience and repurposed it for the Web using the Microsoft® Silverlight™ browser plug-in. These two solutions helped generate more than 200,000 bookings for the Nano and positioned Tata Motors as a company on the leading edge of technology . Situation: India’s Tata Motors has been in business since 1945, and it is now the country’s largest automobile company, as well as the world’s fourth-largest truck manufacturer and second-largest bus manufacturer. The Mumbai-based company had revenues of U.S.$8.8 billion in 2007–2008, and it has affiliate and associate companies in the United Kingdom, South Korea, Thailand, and Spain. There are more than 4 million Tata Motors vehicles on the roads in India. The 23,000 employees at Tata Motors are guided by a mission to deliver the best products and service possible. The company is also serious about its social responsibilities, and it engages in community and social initiatives on labor and environmental standards in compliance with the United Nations Global Compact. This includes taking an active role in community development projects in rural communities near its manufacturing locations. In January 2008, Tata Motors announced the forthcoming release of its new model, the Tata Nano. The four-door, subcompact Nano is small in size, and its equally small price tag—approximately $2,500—earned worldwide attention. In a country of 1.1 billion people where only seven out of every 1,000 people own a vehicle, Tata Motors designed the Nano to help make car ownership a possibility for millions of Indian citizens who previously could not afford one. The Nano is known around India as “The People’s Car,” and its closest competitor costs nearly twice as much .  From the moment it was announced, it was clear that the demand for the Nano would be very high and would easily outpace the number of cars which would be initially available. As a result, Tata Motors needed to develop a unique method for marketing the car and taking customer orders. The company’s first decision was to institute an online booking process that enabled anyone with Web access to reserve a spot in a random drawing for the first 100,000 cars.  To make the booking process successful, Tata Motors needed to provide prospective buyers with the ability to explore and learn about  the Nano on the Web without actually seeing one in person. In addition, Tata Motors has 450 showrooms around India where people could view the car during the booking period, but actual vehicles would not be available for test drives at that time. “We knew that we needed to have an interactive Nano experience in the showrooms and on the Web site so that customers could come in and learn as much about the car as possible without actually driving it,” says saysViratKhullar, Assistant General Manager of Marketing for the Passenger Car Business Unit at Tata Motors. “We wanted to make it as close to reality as possible.” Under a very tight deadline, Tata Motors began looking for the right technology and the right partner to help realize its vision of an immersive, interactive user experience for the Nano in both the showrooms and the Web. Solution:Tata Motors executives saw another automotive Web site , which used the Microsoft® Silverlight™ 2 browser plug-in to create a robust  user experience. Tata Motors felt that Silverlight, combined with  Windows® Presentation Foundation (WPF), could help produce an innovative user experience to introduce the Nano to prospective customers. “From the highest levels, our team felt that the technology would connect well with our product,” says Khullar. “And choosing Microsoft products as our technology platform gave us a lot of confidence that the final product would mirror the engineering innovation that has gone into the Nano.” Tata Motors chose Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Vectorform to develop the new site. With offices in the United States, Germany, and Hyderabad, India, Vectorform specializes in the creation of inspired  user experiences for emerging technologies and multimedia platforms. The initial focus on development  was the in-showroom experience, which was  based on Windows Presentation Foundation, a unified programming model for building rich user experiences that incorporate user interface, media, and documents.  The online version followed closely behind. “Our first objective was to develop a technology platform to assist the customer who comes to our showroom,” says Khullar. “But because we had an online booking program as well, we wanted to replicate the same experience on the Web. The only change we made was to slim down the media in the online version so it would work well for users with bandwidth limitations.” Both the in-store and online experiences offer customers the ability to explore the Nano’s features in great detail. Customers can zoom in and study all parts of the car, including a 360-degree interactive view of the car’s exterior. Visitors also have access to forms and brochures that they can examine using the Deep Zoom feature, which provides the ability to interactively view high-resolution images in Silverlight. The in-store version has an auto-play feature that continuously displays high-quality videos and slides on large LCD screens in the Tata Motors showrooms.  The design work for the new solutions took place at the Vectorform U.S. office while implementation happened at the India office . And because Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation share a common Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) back end, and they both work with the Microsoft Visual Studio ® development system, Tata Motors was able to deliver multiple builds in a very short time. “Our U.S. office delivered the XAML for the interface, and we could easily incorporate it into both solutions. The reusability of the code was a key to our success,” says Vijay Madhira, Project Manager at Vectorform. Adds Imran Ahmed Shaik, Lead Developer at Vectorform, “The interoperability of Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation, and their integration with the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, made development very straightforward. We can use the same tools and technologies to deliver for multiple platforms.” The ease of developing simultaneously for Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation made it simple and cost effective to produce both the online and offline  versions of the Nano application. “The decision to deploy an identical experience online was assisted by the fact that it came at almost no extra cost,” notes Nitin Seth, Head of Car Product Group for the Passenger Car Business Unit at Tata Motors. “There was very little we needed to change to make the in-store experience into an online experience.” Development for both the in-store and online  application took only 15 days. “Our experience with Vectorform was very good,” says Khullar. “There were many changes made during the development period—I think we went through eight iterations in 10 days—and Vectorform was very responsive. The final product that was delivered to us was exactly what we expected.” Given the high interest in the Nano, Tata Motors needed to ensure that the interactive Web site would perform well during periods of extremely high traffic, and that traffic to the interactive microsite would not compromise the main Tata Motors Web site or the main Tata Nano site. The company enlisted the help of Netmagic , India’s leading managed service provider, to host the new site separately at http://experience.tatanano.com. Netmagic runs the site on a Windows-based server  with Microsoft SQL Server® data management software and an Internet Information Services (IIS) Web server. “Netmagic chose a Microsoft platform because they could configure it to scale up and scale down, depending on traffic, to keep costs under control,” says Tanmay Shah, Divisional Manager of Marketing for the Passenger Car Business Unit at Tata Motors. “The hosting budget was not high, and they absolutely delivered. They were able to upload and go live in a matter of a couple of hours. They kept things up and running, and that was great.” With development completed, Tata Motors needed to distribute the interactive application to all 450 dealerships and make sure that the dealers could easily manage it. The system was designed to be easy to use, and the company developed simple, straightforward documentation to accompany the installation CDs. “We were very nervous about the implementation and the actual installation of the in-store experience in towns and cities all across India,” says Khullar. “But there was no problem at all. It went very, very smoothly.” Overall, Tata Motors has been very pleased with the technologies it chose for the Nano project, and it plans to use them again. “Given the constraints we had, I think the product we delivered was phenomenal,” says Seth. “Microsoft gave us the right technology at the right time and the right cost. We definitely want to use this sort of experience to help market our existing cars and the new cars we’ll roll out in the future. It’s a great way to give customers an understanding of our products.” Benefits:Tata Motors made a promise to the Indian people to produce an affordable car and make it available throughout the country. The company was able to cost effectively reach millions of interested people through an innovative in-store display system and an immersive interactive Web site . By choosing flexible and easily integrated technologies for development, Tata Motors completed the project successfully under tight deadlines. “Our chairman made a promise to the Indian people that we would deliver this car at an affordable price,” says Khullar. “Keeping that promise challenged our engineers and challenged our manufacturing processes, but through innovation and creativity, we were able to deliver on that promise.”  Rapid and Cost-effective DevelopmentThe choice of two easily integrated technologies like  Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation made it possible for Tata Motors and Vectorform to complete the entire user experience project extremely quickly. “It would be hard to imagine a bigger challenge than we faced: to build the entire user experience for the Web and the showrooms, and then get it online and in the dealerships, all in two weeks,” says Khullar. “By using Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation, I believe we got the optimum result.” The technology platform made economic sense for Tata Motors as well. “It was very, very cost effective, there is no doubt about that,” says Rajiv Dubey, Chief Operating Officer for Tata Motors. “Cost was one of our major concerns when we entered the project, and working with Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation made it possible to deliver a superior result at a reasonable price. We will definitely use this platform again in the future.” Enhanced Brand Image Being the first automobile company to put this sort of experience online and in showrooms has not only helped Tata Motors successfully launch the Nano, it has also helped to enhance the company’s brand image. “The seamless user experience in the showrooms and on the Web has definitely enhanced the Tata Nano brand, and the overall Tata Motors brand as well,” says Khullar. “The feel of the user experience is very modern, and coupled with the innovative engineering of the Nano, it shows that Tata Motors is a creative company at the leading edge of technology.” Wide Audience ReachBy duplicating the in-showroom application on the Web, Tata Motors was able to bring the Nano to anyone with an Internet connection—not just in India, but worldwide. The Tata Nano Web site received more than 30 million hits between the March 23, 2009, launch date and the close of the booking period on April 25, 2009, and the company received more than 203,000 fully paid reservations during that period .  “We chose Microsoft technologies to provide our customers with an experience as close as possible to touching a real car,” says Seth. “For us, the key value proposition was the ability to deliver this highly unique experience with low investment and extremely short turnaround time. This has proven to be a highly cost-effective means of reaching out to a larger potential customer base and taking the Nano experience to the people.”   Increased Customer Interest Interest for the Nano exceeded the company’s initial expectations. “We had 1.5 million people walk into our showrooms during the 15 days of the booking program,” says Khullar. “That is at least 10 times our regular numbers. Not everyone wanted to book a car, but they all wanted to see it and experience it.” Having this kind of experience for customers who walked in to investigate the Nano was very well received across the country, by customers and dealers. “It solved the problem we had of cars not being available for test drives, and it gave the maximum number of people the opportunity to experience the car,” says Khullar. “The dealers have said it was an excellent tool to help explain the features of the Nano. Based on their feedback, having the interactive experience in place definitely enhanced the number of bookings.” Sidebar Information[Please note that the information in the following sections will be presented in sidebar format and have strict character count limitations.] Partner Details:VectorformPhone: (###) ### - #### www.vectorform.com Customer Details:Tata MotorsPhone: (###) ### - #### www.tatamotors.com Template Type:Silverlight CountryIndia IndustryManufacturing—Automotive, farm, and recreational vehicles Customer Profile (200 Character Limit – with spaces)Mumbai-based Tata Motors is India’s largest car company, with revenues of U.S.$8.8 billion in 2007–2008. The company has 23,000 employees and has sold more than 4 million cars in India. Business Situation (200 Character Limit – with spaces)To successfully introduce its new vehicle, the Tata Nano, to prospective buyers, Tata Motors wanted to create an immersive user experience for the Web and for dealerships. Solution (200 Character Limit – with spaces)In partnership with Vectorform, Tata Motors created an in-store application based on Windows® Presentation Foundation and an interactive Web site built with Microsoft® Silverlight™ browser plug-in. Benefits (Try to keep to one line): Rapid and Cost-effective DevelopmentEnhanced Brand Image Wide Audience ReachIncreased Customer Interest  PartnersVectorformNetmagic  Product Solution ItemsMicrosoft Visual StudioMicrosoft Server Product PortfolioWindows ServerMicrosoft SQL Server TechnologyMicrosoft Silverlight 2Windows Presentation FoundationMicrosoft .NET Framework 3.5Internet Information Services Introduction Quote (extracted from text – 200 Character Limit – with spaces)“Working with Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation made it possible to deliver a superior result at a reasonable price. We will definitely use this platform again in the future.” Introduction Quote CreditRajiv Dubey, Chief Operating Officer, Tata Motors Quote 2 (200 Character Limit – with spaces):“Choosing Microsoft products as our technology platform gave us a lot of confidence that the user experience would mirror the engineering innovation that has gone into the Nano.” Quote 2 CreditViratKhullar, Assistant General Manager of Marketing, Passenger Car Business Unit, Tata Motors  Quote 3 (200 Character Limit – with spaces):“This has proven to be a highly cost-effective means of reaching out to a larger potential customer base and taking the Nano experience to the people.” Quote 3 CreditNitin Seth, Head of Car Product Group, Passenger Car Business Unit, Tata Motors  Quote 4 (200 Character Limit – with spaces):“The interoperability of Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation, and their integration with the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, made development very straightforward. We can use the same tools and technologies to deliver for multiple platforms.” Quote 4 CreditImran Ahmed Shaik, Lead Developer, Vectorform  This seems like a passive way to describe what they did, like they just fell into doing it by accident. Talking to Gretchen it’s more joined up than that and leverages a joined up user experience continuum created starting from Silverlight on the Web and seamlessly through to the full-on experience with WPF at the dealership. Please can we talk about Silverlight & Web first and then lead into WPF/desktop – that’s our strategy going forward. I know they developed the WPF bit first but lets look at what they ended up with and the order of customer interaction The statistics in this section nare from   http://climate.weather.com/articles/cheapcar011108.html Need to use the word ‘experience’ here Can we say who – Renault? Wrong word. User experiences should be ‘compelling’ or ‘exciting’, ‘amazing’, ‘high quality’, ‘engrossing’, ‘attention-grabbing’etc Just say ‘and’ Inspiring or inspirational delete delete not our official messaging. delete Did Silverlight/WPF/Visual Studio help make this distributed development work easier/faster/better? REVIEW: Can we find out what version of Visual Studio that was used for this project? Vague – use ‘Web’ and ‘Desktop’ or ‘in-store’ Consistency…always use ‘Web’ and ‘in-store’ REVIEW: Is Netmagic a Microsoft Certified Partner? It wasn’t clear from their web site, and it makes a difference for how they are referenced in the case study.REVIEW:  Would it be possible to find out what version of Windows server, SQL Server, and IIS they used at Netmagic? Web experience Does this have anything to do with the technology? Delete. The are the actual technologies no just something ‘like’ them. These statistics from Tata press release May 4, 2009. JATIN: in our Tata interview, you said you’d be able to find out from Netmagic what the traffic to just the Silverlight portion of the site was during this time. Is that still possible? These stats need to pop right at the top of the case study. We need to show that a huge brand with massive Web reach is willing to use Silverlight on their public website without being concerned whether people already have the plug-in This quote from MS press release. This is key, why bury it at the end of the case study, it should pop at the top. Same comment, why do we bury the headline at the end of the case study? Most people wouldn’t read this far if they haven’t ‘got’ the benefit from the get-go  We need an appropriate phone number to use for the case study. We need an appropriate phone number to use for the case study. REVIEW: Note, Netmagic gets a mention in the sidebar only if they are an MS certified partner (see earlier comment).
  • On October 27, 2008, New York Magazine (NYMag) announced the launch of the original Web-series "Where's Rogan?" ( http://nymag.com/rogan/ ), powered by Microsoft Silverlight. This innovative project was the first to harness the power of Silverlight to present an interactive video series featuring elegant, highly interactive product placement –a new model for online advertising and brand promotion. TRESemmé hair products, along with Continental Airlines and Olay, sponsored “Where’s Rogan”, and partners such as Hat Trick Media, EyeWonder and Akamai worked together to make this cutting edge experience a reality. “The “Where’s Rogan?” project incorporated a number of different advertising models, including time-coded product integration, video overlay and post-roll video.Rich media vendor EyeWonder integrated its Universal In-Stream Framework (UIF), an open standard platform that enables a “create once, play anywhere” ad solution to drive scale within the in-stream advertising industry, with Akamai’s open source code media player framework. This integration gave New York Magazine’s Silverlight-based video player the ability to seamlessly deliver the interactive in-stream advertising. Total interaction rates with the non-linear in-stream ad formats were 10 percent higher than those of banner ads in EyeWonder’s CPG vertical.“EyeWonder has always positioned itself as an innovator in the video space, so we were pleased with the opportunity to work with Microsoft Silverlight and Akamai to produce the first non-linear in-stream advertising over a Silverlight player,” said Ricky McClellen, CIO of EyeWonder. “This joint project produced a richer, more engaging ad experience for viewers and proved a great example of how sites can monetize their video content and create new advertising space.”

Silverlight 4 Briefing Silverlight 4 Briefing Presentation Transcript

  • Microsoft Silverlight
    David Chou
    david.chou@microsoft.com
    blogs.msdn.com/dachou
  • What is Silverlight?
    …a powerful development platform for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for Web, desktop, and mobile applications when online or offline
    … a free plug-in powered by the .NET framework that is compatible across multiple browsers, devices and operating systems to bring a new level of interactivity wherever the Web works.
    Silverlight helps create visually rich experiences with backend support for rapid development through the Microsoft Web Platform, Visual Studio and Expression Studio
  • Next-Generation Application Platform
    Cross-Platform
    Windows PC (XP, Vista, 7), Windows Phone 7 Series, Apple OS/X, Linux, Nokia S40/S60; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome
    .NET
    C#, VB, Ruby, Python, JavaScript/AJAX; WPF UI, LINQ, integrated data binding, WCF (WS-*/SOAP, REST/JSON/POX, RSS/ATOM), base class library (generics, collections, cryptography, threading, etc.), sockets, cross-domain access, etc.; managed extensibility framework (MEF), media framework, analytics framework, install framework, WCF RIA Services
    Rich Interactive Applications
    Out-of-browser, desktop integration, elevated trust (local file system access, toast notifications, native interop, etc.) printing, HTML hosting, SEO discoverability, enhanced graphics (GPU acceleration, bitmap API, improved text rendering, etc.)
    Rich Media Experiences
    1080p HD WMV/VC-1 & MP4/F4V H.264, native multicast, local recording, digital rights management, output protection, IIS Smooth Streaming, IIS Media Services
    Advanced Content
    DeepZoom, Photosynth, perspective and 3D, anaglyph & anachrome image rendering, augmented reality, etc.
  • Rich Media Delivery
    Highest Quality Media
    Up to 1080p, 60fps true HD-quality and DRM-protected video using H.264 MP4/F4V or WMV/VC-1
    Smooth Streaming
    Extend engagement times using HTTP adaptive streaming for live or on-demand video. Silverlight adjusts quality in real-time based upon changing bandwidth and CPU conditions
    Proven Scalability and Reliability
    Successful track record for massive audiences – NBC Olympics (2008 Beijing and 2010 Vancouver), Netflix, BlockBuster, CBS Sports, Wimbledon, NFL Sunday Night Football, etc.
    Sophisticated Viewing Experience
    1080p HD, multiple simultaneous video views, DVR, slow-motion, timeline markers, fast start-up & seek times, etc.
    Content Access and Protection
    PlayReady DRM, on/off-line support, persistent (multi-use based on time) and non-persistent (single-use) licenses, domain support, chained licenses
    Lower Delivery Costs
    Leverage existing HTTP infrastructure and improve delivery over proprietary streaming servers
    Multiple Playback Devices
    Windows Phone, desktop, and Xbox 360 leveraging IIS Smooth Streaming and IIS Media Services (frag. mp4/H.264)
    NBC 2008 Beijing Olympics
    50M unique visitors
    3.5PB, 70M videos delivered
    600M minutes content delivered
    130K peak streams
    1.3B page views
    27 minutes viewing / session
    CBS NCAA 2010 Tournament March Madness
    2009 tournament program stats:
    5.6M unique visitors in 1st 4 days
    6.5M hours of video delivered
    $30M in advertising revenue
    1-3M video streams / game
    MSN Videos
    +45M monthly unique visitors
    +5B streams delivered / year
    39 markets, 35 countries, 19 lang.
    300+ partners
    100+ advertisers
    Netflix
    France 24
    Obama Inaug.
    Rai.tv
    QQ Live
    Nos.nl
  • Engaging Consumer Experiences
    Deep Zoom
    Allows users to pan around and zoom in a large, high resolution image or a large collection of images. Reduces the time required for initial load by downloading only the region being viewed and/or only at the resolution it is displayed at. Subsequent regions are downloaded as the user pans to them
    Photosynth
    Analyzes digital photographs and generates a three-dimensional model of the photos and a point cloud of a photographed object. Pattern recognition components compare portions of images to create points, which are then compared to convert the image into the 3D model
    Beyond the Browser
    Build immersive experiences, local file access, friction-free deployment (silent install & zero-footprint run mode), on/off-line modes, 25MB isolated store, HTML hosting, chrome customization, toast notifications, offline DRM, native interop, trusted applications, XAP digital signing, Web cam & microphone & devices integration, etc.
    Enhanced Performance
    GPU acceleration, cached native code generation, compiled managed code
    Multiple Screens
    Browser plug-in, Windows Phone 7 Series, Xbox 360
    Nike JumpMan Mosaic 23/25
    www.jumpman23mosaic.com
    5 gigapixel mosaic created from user-submitted photos
    Deep Zoom and multi-touch experience with rich search and navigation features
    MGM Stargate Universe Photosynth
    stargate.mgm.com/photosynth
    100’s of hi-res photos, “synthed” to create a 3-D panoramic view of the starship Destiny
    Enables fans to experience what it’s like to be on the set
    Photobucket Visual Search
    photobucket.com/visualsearch
    30M+ searches / day
    27M+ visitors/month US
    46M+ visitors/month worldwide
    7B+ images uploaded
    Line Rider
    Rockband
    NewEgg
    Kelley Blue Book
    McDonalds
    WW Telescope
  • Sophisticated Business Applications
    WCF RIA Services
    Introduces enterprise-class networking and data access for building n-tier applications, including transactions, paging of data, WCF and HTTP enhancements
    Forms Controls
    A complete set of forms controls with over 60 customizable and styleable components. New controls include: Rich Textbox with hyperlinks, images and editing, Masked textbox for complex field validation. Enhanced controls include: Data grid with sortable/resizeable columns and copy/paste rows
    Enhanced Data Binding
    Improvements increase flexibility and productivity through data grouping/editing and string formatting
    Internationalization
    Support for bi-directional text, complex scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew and Thai, and 31 new languages (41 total)
    User Interaction
    Drag & drop, Web cam & microphone integration, printing, clipboard, COM/native code integration, out-of-browser & desktop integration
    Managed Extensibility Framework
    Enables dynamic and incremental loading of application components via multiple XAP files
  • Personalized and Contextualized Mobility
    Silverlight 3+
    Input – touch & hardware buttons
    Media – digital media capture & playback; media library access
    Data – isolated storage, LINQ (obj/xml)
    WCF – SOAP/REST
    Device – integrated access to phone UI, sensors; picker for contacts & photos
    Application Hosting and Runtime
    Applications as Silverilght XAP packages
    System provides host process
    Sandbox based on declared capabilities and into separate security accounts
    Phone only runs apps with valid marketplace licenses
    Isolated, least-privilege host process
    All code is CLS-verifiable
    Frameworks support for interaction with app model, UI model, & device HW
    UI Model
    Application – provides UI represented as XAML pages connected into cross-app flows by URI’s
    Shell frame – requests pages, renders UI, and handles navigation across apps
    Sessions and history – groups together sequences of pages corresponding to a user’s activity across pages
    Application Frameworks
    Cloud services integration
    Location service (GPS, AGPS, Wi-Fi)
    Push notification service
    Gamer Services APIs for Xbox Live
    Software Architecture
    Application Framework
  • Silverlight 4
    Indic Languages
    Commanding
    XPath for XML
    IDataErrorInfo
    MP4 DRM
    Google Chrome
    Sockets Security
    Networking
    Text Trimming
    Offline DRM
    Fluid UI
    Cross-Domain Networking
    Right Click
    Protected Path Output
    Trusted Applications
    Full Keyboard Full Screen
    INotifyDataErrorInfo
    Silent Install
    Webcam
    Drag/Drop
    HTML
    BiDi & RTL
    RichTextBox
    Composite Transform
    COM Automation
    Printing
    StringFormat
    Private Mode Browsing
    Clipboard Access
    Custom Window Chrome
    Local File System
    Datagrid Enhancements
    Windowing controls
    Window Close Event
    MVVM
    UDP, WMS Multicast
    Extended Languages
    MEF
    Microphone
    XAP Signing
    Toast Notifications
    Mouse Wheel
    WCF RIA Services
    Full PNG Support
    GPU Acceleration
    Viewbox
  • Silverlight 4 Beta
    Out of Browser Applications
    Elevated Privileges Support (including Automation)
    HTML Hosting Support
    Notifications
    Media
    WMS Multicast Support
    MP4 Playback Protected by PlayReady DRM
    Offline DRM
    Output Protection
    WebCam/Mic Support (raw stream only)
    Printing
    Printing Support
    Text
    RichTextBox
    Arabic and Hebrew Text Support
    IME Improvements for TextBox
    UIElement.TextInput event
    Controls, Control Model, Layout
    Theming via Implicit Styles
    ViewBox
    RTL Layout
    DataGrid * Column Support
    ItemsControl support for Blend Fluid Layout
    MouseWheel Support on ScrollViewer, TextBox, ComboBox, Calendar, DatePicker
    VisualStateGroup.CurrentStateGroup property
    Command Property on ButtonBase & Hyperlink
    SelectedValue and SelectedValuePath Properties on Selector
    Navigation
    Navigation Loader Extensibility (Hook Frame Navigates)
    Databinding Improvements
    DataBinding Support for DependencyObjects
    StringFormat, TargetNullValue & FallBackValue Properties on Binding
    Binding to String Indexers
    IDataErrorInfo Support
    Asynchronous Data Validation (INotifyDataErrorInfo)
    ObservableCollection<T> IList/IEnumerable cstrs
    Graphics/Imaging
    Support for more PNG Formats
    Unseal Path
    CompositeTransform
    Networking
    UDP Listener
    Automatically Adding Referer Header
    Authentication Support on ClientHttpWebRequest
    Memory Usage Fix During Progressive Downloads
    Tools Support
    Dispatcher Support on the Tools Design Surface
    SDK
    ADO.NET Data Services 2.0 Support
    Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF)
    Better Transport for WCF (Socket Support)
    Other
    Support for C# & VB.NET 4.0 Features
    Expose Runtime Version to 3rd Party DLLs
    NGEN Support for Core Runtime Binaries
    Group Policy Hooks to Disable WebCam & Elevated Apps
  • Silverlight 4 RC
    Parser
    New architecture enables future innovation
    Performance and stability improvements
    XmlnsPrefix & XmlnsDefinition attributes
    Support setting order-dependent properties
    Input
    Pinned full-screen mode on secondary display
    HTML hosting accessibility
    Arabic, Hebrew and Thai input on Mac
    Rich Text
    Text position and selection APIs
    RichTextBox.Xamlproperty for serializing text content
    XAML clipboard format
    FlowDirection support on Runs
    “Format then type” support
    Thai & Vietnamese input support
    UI Automation Text pattern
    Networking
    UploadProgress support (client stack)
    Caching support (client stack)
    Sockets policy file retrieval via HTTP
    Accept-Language header
    Out of Browser / Elevated Trust
    XAP signing
    Silent install and emulation mode
    Custom window chrome
    Better support for Automation
    Cancelable shutdown event
    Updated security dialogs
    Sockets security restrictions removal
    Media
    Webcam/Mic configuration preview
    More descriptive MediaSourceStream errors
    Updates to H.264 content protection (ClearNAL)
    Digital Constraint Token
    CGMS-A
    Graphics card driver validation & revocation
    Graphics/Imaging
    Hardware-accelerated Perspective Transforms
    Ability to query page size and printable area
    Memory usage and perf improvements
    Data
    Entity-level validation support of INotifyDataErrorInfo for DataGrid
    XPath support for XML
    SDK
    System.Numerics.dll
    System.Xml.XPath.dll
    Dynamic XAP support (MEF)
    Frame/Navigation refresh support
    Other
    Support for 32 new languages (41 total)
    Update to Deep Zoom code base with HW acceleration
    Support for Private mode browsing
    Google Chrome support (Windows)
    FrameworkElement.Unloaded event
    IsoStore perf improvements
  • Thank you
    david.chou@microsoft.com
    blogs.msdn.com/dachou
    © 2010 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Vista and other product names are or may be registered trademarks and/or trademarks in the U.S. and/or other countries.
    The information herein is for informational purposes only and represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation as of the date of this presentation. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information provided after the date of this presentation. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PRESENTATION.
  • Silverlight MomentumBy the Numbers
    26 months
    since launch
    Silverlight first shipped in 2007…
  • Silverlight MomentumBy the Numbers
    26 months
    since launch
    500m+
    downloads
    500m+
  • Silverlight MomentumBy the Numbers
    26 months
    since launch
    500m+
    downloads
    500,000+
    Developers & Designers
    500,000+
    Source: Microsoft Developer Tracker 2008 Report
  • Silverlight MomentumBy the Numbers
    26 months
    since launch
    500m+
    downloads
    500,000+
    Developers & Designers
    350+ partners in
    30 countries
  • Silverlight MomentumBy the Numbers
    26 months
    since launch
    500m+
    downloads
    500,000+
    Developers & Designers
    350+ partners in
    30 countries
    350+
    Microsoft Products & Websites
  • Silverlight MomentumBy the Numbers
    26 months
    since launch
    500m+
    downloads
    500,000+
    Developers & Designers
    350+ partners in
    30 countries
    350+
    Microsoft Products & Websites
    Thousands of Apps across the world
    www.silverlight.net/showcase
  • Case Study – Media
    NFL Sunday Night Football
    nbcsports.msnbc.com
    • 3.5Mbps 720p Live smooth streaming with full DVR support
    • 5 simultaneous camera views
    • Instant Replay and Slow-Motion
    • Live Chat and Real-time Statistics
    "NBC Sports is committed to bringing our viewers premier sporting events such as the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) events, the Wimbledon Championships and the Olympic Games. NBC Sports has evaluated many different technologies for delivering high-quality experiences online, and none have delivered the video quality, scalability and business value that Microsoft Silverlight has consistently brought. As we look forward to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver as well as other major championships in 2010, we will be using Silverlight as the preferred technology to deliver the best in next-generation online high-definition video experiences.”
    Perkins Miller, SVP Digital Media, NBC Sports
  • Case Study – Media
    Roland Garros 2009
    Tennis Tournament
    • IIS Smooth Streaming of Tournament
    • First live test of Smooth Streaming using Beta code
    • 139,710 unique users
    • 290k hours of video delivered
    • Average daily visit 64 minutes
    • 80% of streams > 1Mpbs
    • 50% of streams @ 3Mbps
    “"The HD broadcast of Roland Garros shown on our websites (www.france2.fr and www.france3.fr) was successful, For two weeks, nearly 140 000 users have watched this HD broadcast with an amazing record time of 64 minutes on average viewing per user and per day for a total of 290 000 hours available in HD."
    Laurent Souloumiac, CEO of France Télévisions Interactive.
  • Screen shot here
    Case Study – Media
    NBCOlympics.com
    www.nbcolympics.com
    • Exclusive US online coverage of the 2008 Olympics
    • Live and on-demand video, multiple video streams
    • Rich Interactive Player
    • Average 27 Minutes spent on site (compare with 3 minutes average for other, non-Silverlight sites)
    • 1.3 Billion page views
    • 70 Million video streams
    • 600 Million minutes of video content
    “The Olympics are a massive project, an event with 34 sports, 304 medal events, and 10,000 athletes, all of which happens in just 17 days. So how do you take 2,000 hours of live video and 3,500 hours of on-demand video and put it on a digital platform? How do you deliver this content to the online audience, an audience that is becoming more and more important to us, in a way that will engage and entertain them? How do you manage all that while upholding obligations to exclusive advertisers on the Web, who have come to expect very high levels of production value? We looked around the spectrum of companies, all over the world, and there was really only one we felt could do this, and that was Microsoft.”
    Perkins Miller, SVP Digital Media, NBCSports
  • Screen shot here
    Case Study – Media
    Instant Streaming
    www.netflix.com
    • World’s largest online movie rental service
    • 10 Million Subscribers (Feb 2009)
    • 12,000 Movies and TV episodes
    • Instantly stream movies to PC and Mac
    • PlayReady DRM for content protection
    • Timeline navigation; rewind, fast-forward
    • Faster, more robust connection
    “Netflix chose Silverlight because it makes a faster and more agile development environment possible, allowing Netflix to quickly deliver a superior instant watching experience to our subscribers. When Netflix deployed Silverlight last fall, Netflix members realized a richer experience of access and quality to instantly watch movies and TV episodes from Netflix on their PCs and, for the first time, were able to instantly watch the same content on their Intel-based MacIntosh computers.” 
    Steve Swasey, Netflix VP of Corporate Communications
  • Screen shot here
    Case Study – Business App
    LabView – Web
    Virtual Instrumentation
    • Rich Internet Application for Scientists and Engineers
    • Web-based line of business applications
    • User base includes Windows, Macintosh and Linux
    • Streamlined development and accelerated time to market
    • Enabled company to capitalize on market opportunity
    “We researched a lot of different technologies for this project and we ultimately selected Silverlight over other technologies such as Adobe Flash and Ajax. We want to deliver an application that combines our domain expertise and uses the best of currently available technologies to deliver an outstanding solution to our customers. With Silverlight, our developers can use familiar tools, libraries and programming concepts to provide the means for scientists and engineers to create rich Web-based and desktop applications”
    Kamran Shah, Senior Group Manager, National Instruments
  • Case Study – Business App
    Investor Portal and tools
    www.zignals.com
    • Interactive investor portal
    • Powerful decision support tools
    • Novel collaborative features
    • Modular application based on Silverlight and .NET
    • Secure internal web services through Windows Communication Foundation.
    “We realized that we could do things with the technology that we couldn’t with any other interactive Web technology. It exactly fit our goal of creating uniquely rich and responsive Web interfaces. It has all the advantages of a desktop application without the complexity of deploying client software. Silverlight puts us two generations ahead of generic financial sites in terms of user experience.”
    Pat Brazel, CEO, Digital Minds Ltd
  • Case Study – Business App
    Screen shot here
    Workflow Designer
    www.snapflow.com
    • Software + Services solution
    • Originally selected Flash but switched to Silverlight after slow progress prototyping
    • Expression Blend
    • Windows Workflow Foundation and .NET
    “The combination of powerful client software—in this case, Silverlight—and a Web-based service provides a powerful new software development and distribution model. We can develop capabilities without concern for the back-end infrastructure required to run it because there is infinite processing power in the ‘cloud.’ But having powerful, locally installed software makes the user experience even better. We are now free to create solutions that take advantage of rich desktop software.”
    Samad Wahedi, CEO, Snapflow
  • Screen shot here
    Case Study – Business App
    Call Center Application
    Reservation System
    • Customers were able to get better results using the Web than call center agents inhouse
    • Reservation System was rewritten as a RIA
    • Call Center Agents can now provide better service
    • Browser based application reduced costs
    • Cross-platform, cross-browser capabillity reduces development, configuration and deployment costs
    “One of the things I truly enjoyed about working with Silverlight was being able to decouple the business logic from the user interface. We didn’t have to wait for the design to be done, and Infusion (the design agency) didn’t have to wait for us to be done.”  “Because Silverlight supports multiple languages, including C#, we could take advantage of our existing Microsoft investment and experience and easily extend it out to the Web. We can also give our application a richer feel and a stronger user experience.”
    Jeff Matthew, Senior Manager in Technology, Continental Airlines
  • Screen shot here
    Case Study – Business App
    K2 Blackpoint
    www.k2.com
    • RIA tooling
    • Creates process-driven Applications without code
    • Visually build Sharepoint workflow applications
    • Silverlight based tooling
    “Our investments in Silverlight allows us to go beyond anything we have managed to do before in a timeframe that continues to keep us in the leadership position for building workflow based applications on Microsoft’s platform. We plan to continue to invest in Silverlight moving forward and are really excited about the new features in Silverlight 3, particularly the new offline and out of browser capabilities"
    Adriaan van Wyk, CEO of K2
  • Case Study – Business App
    Syngo Dynamics
    www.siemens.com
    • Clinical Multi-Frame Imaging
    • Simple Web Access to imaging and completed reports allows remote diagnosis
    • Silverlight overcame bandwidth issues while delivering superior image quality with a low deployment footprint
    • Offering is now a full product release, in use by customers
    “Simply put, this application could not have been implemented using conventional web technologies. The flexibility of the user interface, the quality of the video, the excellent tool suite (Expression Blend in particular), and the integration with Visual Studio makes Silverlight a truly revolutionary web technology. From a medical perspective, syngo Dynamics Portal is providing access to medical images throughout major hospital systems in a fashion never seen before. One of our early customer installs described the Portal as “transformative.” Silver-light was the key to making this happen”
    Siemens whitepaper
  • Case Study – RIA
    MGM – Stargate SG1
    stargate.mgm.com
    • Immersive fan site for latest season of cult TV show
    • Photosynth and Deep Zoom enable
    • Interstitial advertising opportunity generates revenue
    • Potential opportunities for richer experiences using Silverlight on other MGM franchises
    “We knew the content had to be visually compelling, but we also wanted people to interact with and explore every detail of the images in front of them.”
    “This experience is going to offer Stargate fans just what they want to see in just the kind of detail that they like. It’s a unique opportunity for people to walk around the ship, virtually, on their computer. It’s phenomenal.”
    Thomas Hughes, VP of Digital Marketing, MGM Studios
  • Case Study – RIA
    eBay Sidebar
    Ie8.ebay.com/sidebar
    • Internet Explorer 8 Sidebar in Silverlight
    • Displays eBay activity even when away from eBay website
    • Prototyped by one engineer, half time for a week
    • Rich interactive experience packs a lot of content into a small space
    “Because of its highly dynamic nature, we figured that Silverlight could help us make transitions easily, present highly contextual information without having to worry about AJAX workarounds, and pack a lot of information into a very small space. We also figured that with Silverlight, if we could imagine it, we could do it, without the technical limitations of working in HTML.”
    Jonathan Gabbai, Global Innovations Manager, Internet Marketing for eBay
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    Case Study – RIA
    Hardrock International
    http://memorabilia.hardrock.com
    • Online access to the cream of 70,000 item rock memorabilia collection
    • Silverlight Deep Zoom allows inspection of minute detail and intuitive navigation
    • Metadata provides facts about the image being browsed
    • Built in just 30 days
    “Once we saw Deep Zoom in action, there was no longer a debate about which technology we would use. Deep Zoom doesn’t just approximate the real-life experience people have at Hard Rock, it goes even further so that fans can get closer and interact with pieces in ways they couldn’t in person.”
    Michael Lemme, Creative Director at Duncan/Channon
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    Case Study – RIA
    Digital Archive Publishing
    www.playboyarchive.com
    • Playboy and Rolling Stone archives online
    • A new model for monetizing printed content archives
    • Deep Zoom and text search featured
    • Rolling Stone Archive launches Summer 2009
    “Silverlight gave us the tools we need to effectively monetize archival publishing content and deliver a compelling user experience”.
    Marat Aktar, Co-founder, Bondi Digital Publishing
  • Case Study – RIA
    Perfect Car Finder
    www.kbb.com/KBB/PerfectCarFinder/PhotoEdition.aspx
    • Trusted resource for Auto industry pricing
    • 12 Million website visits per month
    • RIA enables customers to find perfect car
    • Rich Silverlight Controls
    • DeepZoom photo explorer
    • 2 months, 1 developer
    • ASP.NET Ajax, Visual Studio, 64-bit Windows Server and IIS, SQL Server
    “Although the customer experience delivered by our Silverlight client is entirely new, the technology we used to deliver that experience was already familiar… a C# developer who had never used Silverlight before was able to deliver a mockup in just two days without learning any new skills or tools and complete the project in less than two months. Some people believe that Silverlight is just the Microsoft version of Adobe Flash, but we could never have used Flash to deliver what we did in only eight weeks.“
    Andy Lapin, Director or Architecture
  • Case Study – RIA
    Applicant Explorer
    www.careerbuilder.com
    • 1.6 Million jobs posted
    • 23 Million Users/month
    • Rich Internet Application
    • Integrates Silverlight and Live Search
    • Searching 30 million resumes
    • Integration with Social Networking sites
    • Rapidly narrows candidate search
    • Dynamically sort by content type
    • Scheduled for release in 2009
    " Applicant Explorer is designed to provide employers with a more complete picture of an applicant, pulling information from a variety of sources to highlights skills, experience and accomplishments . Working with Microsoft Silverlight gives us the ability to easily load, sort, filter and page data so recruiters can dynamically sift through large amounts of data quickly and easily. We expect the application will introduce a greater efficiency and depth of knowledge into the overall recruitment experience.”
    Greg Brass, Director, Profile Search, Careerbuilder.com
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    Case Study – Digital Marketing
    Tata Nano
    experience.tatanano.com
    • New car online booking & in-showroom experience
    • Demonstrated car to potential customers via the Web as no showroom models available
    • Showroom and Web experience built in 15 days
    • Distributed to 450 showrooms and millions of online visitors
    “Given the constraints we had, I think the product we delivered was phenomenal, Microsoft gave us the right technology at the right time and the right cost. We definitely want to use this sort of experience to help market our existing cars and the new cars we’ll roll out in the future. It’s a great way to give customers an understanding of our products.”
    Nitin Seth, Head of Car Product Group (Passenger Car Business Unit), Tata Motors
  • Case Study – Digital Marketing
    Where’s Rogan? Campaign
    nymag.com/rogan
    • Interactive video series
    • New model for advertising/brand promo
    • Eyewonder in-stream ad platform
    • Akamai media player framework
    • Interaction rates 10% higher
    “This joint project produced a richer, more engaging ad experience for viewers and proved a great example of how sites can monetize their video content and create new advertising space.”
    Ricky McClellen, CIO of EyeWonder