Friday, July 15, 2011

Boeing 737 Tour Site with Deep Zoom on Windows Azure

Sharon Pian Chan posted Boeing built a "rivet level" 737 website on Microsoft Azure cloud to The Seattle Times Business/Technology blog on 7/15/2011:

image Boeing built a new website to market the 737 airplane on Microsoft's cloud platform Azure.

Microsoft showed the site, called 737 Explained, at its Worldwide Partners Conference in Los Angeles this week.

imageThe site has high resolution photos of a United Airlines 737 that lets you zoom in to the plane to fine details -- "rivet level," as Anthony Ponton, Boeing's 737 brand manager said. For instance, if you keep zooming in on the nose equipment, you can see a blurry stamp where it says the plane is made in "Seattle, WA, U.S.A."

image The 20,000 images of the 737 are stitched together using Microsoft's animation software, so you can zoom in fluidly, rather than clicking on different images.

image"We wanted marketing tools which were reflective of the technology that we're investing on the aircraft itself," Ponton said. He considers it the next best thing to seeing the plane in person.

Here are my screenshots of the website:


Zoom to #2 engine with cowling open:


Boeing has been showing the website in marketing meetings on the computer, on large touchscreens and on displays where the company uses the Kinect motion sensor to navigate around the aircraft. The company has also started building a version to run on Windows Phone.

Developer partner Wire Stone built the site for Boeing and it is running in Microsoft's cloud, which means the content is stored and served from Microsoft's data centers.

"There will be periods of spike traffic where we will have to up the potential bandwidth of the site," said Jon Baker, chief technology officer for Wire Stone. Putting it in an elastic environment like the cloud means Boeing doesn't have to worry about provisioning new servers when the website will get a lot of visits, such as during the Paris Air Show, Baker said.

Boeing is speeding up 737 production, from its current rate of 31.5 per month to 42 per month by mid-2014, the company said.

Here is where you can check out the 737 Explained website.

Always wanted to fly one of these but never had the opportunity.