REDMOND, Wash., March 15, 2010 — Since Friday, Microsoft has transformed part of the fourth-floor corridor of the Austin Convention Center into a digital living room called the Silverlight Interactive Lounge. Microsoft is using the lounge at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival to highlight some of the most interesting work that its partners have created on the Silverlight platform.
A SXSW Interactive Festival attendee interacts with a Microsoft Silverlight experience at the Silverlight Interactive Lounge in the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, on Friday, March 12, 2010.
“Microsoft is a company that strongly values its partner community – if they don’t succeed, we don’t succeed,” says Chris Bernard, user experience evangelist at Microsoft. “SXSW is a global community event where everyone comes together to learn from each other. It’s a natural fit for us to showcase the efforts of our partners and how they can innovate with emerging technology from Microsoft.”
Today in the Silverlight Interactive Lounge, Cynergy Systems Inc., a rich Internet application design and development agency, will demonstrate an application it conceived, designed and built for eBay, according to Dave Wolf, vice president of strategy for Cynergy.
“It’s called the eBay Simple Lister Beta, and it’s a reimagining and rebuilding of what it is like to list products on eBay,” Wolf says. “We built out the concept of a very simple and engaging listing tool in Silverlight 4 that lets people list products on eBay.”
The eBay Simple Lister Beta is one of the first applications to use Silverlight 4, and solidifies Cynergy as a trailblazer when it comes to building interactive experiences on the Silverlight platform. Cynergy started using Silverlight about two years ago and has become very connected to the platform.
“In 2007 at MIX, when Microsoft announced Silverlight 1.0, Cynergy was the first company to create a Microsoft Silverlight practice within our agency,” Wolf says. “In the three years since that announcement, Silverlight has grown from 0 percent of our revenue to over 50 percent.”
Terralever LLC used Microsoft Silverlight to create the Red Bull Stratos Web experience.
Throughout the weekend, Terralever LLC, an interactive marketing and technology services firm, presented demonstrations of a variety of its client projects that use Silverlight technology. The Terralever demos — which show off work that Terralever has done for Red Bull, Bing and Hatclub.com — make use of the pixel-perfect streaming video and Deep Zoom capabilities of the platform. The demos also include examples of streamlined user experiences, creative e-commerce product displays and Facebook integration.
Scott McAndrew, strategy director at Terralever, is enthusiastic about the opportunity to highlight Terralever’s work and mingle with other marketers and creative minds in the Silverlight Interactive Lounge.
“As a company that embraces Microsoft technologies, we welcome the opportunity to showcase them to the diverse attendees at SXSW,” he says. “The opportunity to present alongside Microsoft in a conversational forum allows us to hear what business and marketing needs companies have, and how they look to agencies and Microsoft to fulfill those needs.”
Terralever is another company that got an early start with the Silverlight platform before version 1.0. Microsoft asked Terralever to build one of the first projects on the Silverlight platform, which turned out to be a game called Zero Gravity. In fact, it was the first game built entirely in Silverlight, according to Courtney Crane, marketing director for Terralever.
“When the 1.0 version was being built, Microsoft again came to us asking us to build a game within this brand new environment,” she says. “Zombomatic 3000 was written in Silverlight 1.0 and was the first Silverlight game to appear on Miniclip.com, the world’s largest casual gaming site.”
Tribal DDB Worldwide used Microsoft Silverlight to create the McNuggets Village Web experience for McDonald’s to coincide with the company’s Winter Olympics campaign.
Tribal DDB Worldwide, a digital marketing agency, has worked on several high-profile projects using Silverlight, the latest being for the McDonald’s Winter Olympics campaign. Tribal DDB created the Web experience McNuggets Village using several Microsoft technologies, according to Chip Aubry, lead technical architect at Tribal DDB.
Because the McDonald’s Olympics campaign was so short, Tribal DDB was glad to use the flexible Windows Azure platform. Azure made it easy to scale up the campaign during the Winter Olympics and get rid of it afterward.
“Another reason we utilized the Windows Azure platform for McDonald’s McNuggets Village was because we were already familiar with the Microsoft .NET Framework, so the development process was simple,” Aubry says. “Plus, the Windows Azure platform is the best choice for scalability and flexibility. In addition, Silverlight provided a rich and visually appealing experience for visitors and enabled us to deliver a solution faster than we could have with Flash.”
Terralever also sees huge benefits to using the Silverlight platform, including cross-browser and cross-platform capability, delay-free and buffer-free video streaming, and resource efficiency.
“In general, it makes everything easier and more efficient,” Crane says. “For example, you typically only need one developer to build out an entire project since the application is written entirely in one language. With other applications, you usually need one person to do the animation, another to do the action script, another to write the PHP, etc. From a business perspective, that makes it much more difficult and costly to complete a project.”
Razorfish has been showcasing its interactive Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator at several events at SXSW Interactive.
Emerging technologies — especially Windows Phone 7 Series — are a big part of what excites partners about Microsoft. The Razorfish emerging technologies team worked closely with Microsoft to build a demonstrative emulator that showcases the power and versatility of Windows Phone 7 Series.
Jonathan Hull, managing director of emerging experiences and technologies at Razorfish, says Window Phone 7 Series is a totally new and different game-changer and that just being able to partner with the team is a dream come true.
“The Microsoft team is very passionate about the user experience that it is bringing to market,” he says. “It’s a real challenge for us to make sure we’re demonstrating it in a way that upholds the coolness of the new phone. We’ve got to pay a lot of extra attention to detail to make sure all the nuances and interactions really come to life.”
In addition to the Windows Phone 7 Series emulator, Razorfish has made several other appearances at SXSW Interactive, including an introduction of the Razorfish Vision Framework, an evening event at Paradise on Saturday and a Microsoft partner party.
All the partner developers get to build creative, interactive — and often cutting-edge — experiences for end users in ways that are more economical and efficient than the competition. That combination helps ease the creation of remarkable end-user experiences.
“It’s been fantastic to work with these partners as a trusted advisor, and help them grow and innovate with Microsoft technology,” Bernard says. “It shows our commitment to the community that drives innovation across multiple consumer and enterprise touch points.”