2-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 1/22/2014
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Active Fitness Developer Uses Cloud Solution to Create Scalable, Social, Interactive Mobile Sports Applications

Summit Data Corp. (SDC) develops mobile applications and other solutions. SDC wanted to expand its business by building new interactive, social, scalable mobile apps for the fitness market. Using Windows Azure Mobile Services, the company created new mobile apps for winter-sports and summer-sports enthusiasts. These new apps connect athletes with their friends and instructors and can easily scale to support hundreds of thousands of new users. Also, SDC was able to quickly and easily build the apps and create a new social network.


Business Needs

Summit Data Corp. (SDC) is a developer of mobile, social, and cloud solutions. A Microsoft certified partner, SDC develops mobile apps and games, specialized on the Windows platform.

SDC was interested in expanding its offerings by creating new mobile device applications geared to the growing fitness market. “We wanted to develop interactive mobile apps for both summer- and winter- sports enthusiasts,” says Olga Vigdorovich, Partner, Summit Data Corp. Specifically, SDC wanted to create highly interactive apps that runners, skiers, and other athletes could use to easily track their fitness progress and connect with others.

To create a new winter sports–focused app, SDC partnered with Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI). This nonprofit group has more than 31,000 members who teach downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding, as well as telemark and cross-country skiing and winter sports for people with disabilities. “There are a lot of apps that track your skiing performance or location, but we wanted to create something different,” says Mark Dorsey, Executive Director and CEO, PSIA-AASI. “We wanted to integrate training programs and video instruction into an app.”

As it prepared to design the new apps, SDC knew it needed development technology that would support high scalability. “We wanted the apps to easily grow to support thousands of users,” says Vigdorovich.

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* Winter-sports apps often target existing skiers, but with Windows Azure Mobile Services we were able to create apps that connect individual instructors with people interested in learning how to ski or snowboard for the first time. *

Mark Dorsey
Executive Director and CEO
PSIA-AASI

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Solution

SDC decided to use Windows Azure Mobile Services to develop its new mobile sports apps. The technology, based on node.js and the Microsoft cloud infrastructure, gives developers the ability to easily store data in the cloud using Windows Azure SQL Database, blob storage, table storage, or third-party data services. By having these options, developers can easily add global leaderboards to apps and help users maintain friends lists and store images and videos. Additionally, Windows Azure Mobile Services makes user authentication easy, connecting to Windows Azure Active Directory for mobile app authentication.

SDC used Windows Azure Mobile Services to create the Active Fitness Network, a social network and back-end system for mobile apps. SDC then created Active Fitness, a mobile app for Windows Phone 8 that helps users track activities such as running, walking, and cycling. Fitness enthusiasts use the app to share their activities with friends. SDC also worked with PSIA-AASI to develop Winter Ski & Ride, a Windows Phone 8 app, and Winter Sports, an app for Windows PCs and tablets. With these apps, users can track their skiing or snowboarding activities, check weather conditions, take advantage of professional instruction, and connect with friends.

Based on the highly scalable Windows Azure platform, the Active Fitness Network can support hundreds of thousands of users. People can also use the same login information to access all Active apps.

SDC worked with Microsoft to expand awareness of all apps at several special fitness events. In April 2013, SDC, Microsoft, and PSIA-AASI attended the PSIA-AASI National Academy, an annual gathering of ski and snowboard instructors in Snowbird, Utah. At the event, SDC and Microsoft demonstrated the Winter Sports and Ski & Ride apps to 200 ski and snowboard instructors. The instructors used the apps to track their skiing activities, upload photos and videos, and share information with their friends.

SDC and Microsoft then demonstrated the Active Fitness mobile app at the annual Stevens Creek Trailblazer running event in September 2013. Held on the Microsoft Campus in Silicon Valley, California, the run/walk attracted more than 1,000 athletes. All participants were given access to the Active Fitness app, tracking their running and walking times and communicating with friends. In less than two months after its early 2013 release, the Active Fitness Network grew to 200,000 users in 115 countries. There are now 250,000 users on the network.

Benefits

Using Windows Azure Mobile Services, SDC built interactive, scalable mobile apps that connect participants in sports with their friends and instructors. SDC used the technology to easily create the apps, as well as the new Active Fitness Network.

Connects Sports Enthusiasts with Friends and Instructors

The Active Fitness Network, powered by Windows Azure Mobile Services, connects thousands of summer-sports and winter-sports enthusiasts throughout the world, helping them track fitness levels and share their locations and other information. The National Academy ski and snowboard instructor event was a good testing ground for the network. “At the National Academy, we had instructors using devices running the new Winter Sports and Winter Ski & Ride apps,” says Dorsey. “They used the apps to show their friends which hills they were on, show off some teaching concepts, and upload pictures to Windows SkyDrive. It all worked flawlessly.”

With Windows Azure Mobile Services, PSIA-AASI, SDC, and Microsoft created apps that connect PSIA-AASI instructors with people new to winter sports. “Winter- sports apps often target existing skiers, but with Windows Azure Mobile Services, we were able to create apps that connect individual instructors with people interested in learning how to ski or snowboard for the first time,” says Dorsey.

Scales to Support Thousands of Users

With the scalability provided by Windows Azure Mobile Services, the capacity of the apps on the Active Fitness Network can easily expand to support new users. “We can support up to 20,000 simultaneously connected devices every second with Windows Azure Mobile Services,” says Kevin Ashley, founder of SDC and Architect Evangelist with Microsoft.

At the Trailblazer event, the number of Active Fitness app users grew rapidly. “Our peak usage at the Trailblazer race was about 18,000 app downloads in one day, and we were able to easily support those new users with the scalability of Windows Azure,” says Vigdorovich.

Simplifies Mobile-App Development

For SDC, creating the new apps on the Active Fitness Network was an easy process. “It is very easy to develop with Windows Azure Mobile Services, which provides simple provisioning and management of tables for storing data,” says Vigdorovich. “Microsoft takes care of the back end, so I can concentrate on design and development.”

Going forward, SDC expects to enhance the apps. “We’re looking forward to seeing how Windows Azure Mobile Services can make these apps even better,” says Dorsey. “It’s a very exciting technology.”

This case study is for informational purposes only.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 25 employees

Partner Profile

Summit Data Corp. develops mobile, social, and cloud-based products and apps for a range of customers.


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Azure Platform
  • Windows 8
  • Microsoft Azure Active Directory
  • Microsoft Azure SQL Database

Vertical Industries
IT Services

Country/Region
United States

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

IT Issue
  • Cloud Services
  • Digital Content Management

Languages
English

Partner(s)
PSIA-AASI

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