Boeing Uses Windows Azure to Build Virtual Aircraft in the Cloud
Sept. 06, 2011
Faced with the challenge of demonstrating the Boeing Next-Generation 737 in an innovative way, Boeing worked with Microsoft to build the 737 Explained.

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 6, 2011 — Boeing today introduced the 737 Explained, a virtual model of the Boeing 737 generated from thousands of high-resolution photographs that create an immersive 3-D-like model. Built on the Windows Azure platform, 737 Explained will provide prospective customers with an innovative, compelling way to view and understand the aircraft without standing next to one.

“We were looking for a new way to communicate the essence of the Boeing 737,” said Diana Klug, director of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “737 Explained is one of the best marketing tools I’ve seen because it allows us to show prospective customers the new features and improvements without bringing them to an airport.”

When Boeing launched the Next-Generation 737, the company was building on an already successful platform. The 737 is the world’s best-selling airplane and has benefited from continuous investment to incorporate the latest technology and performance improvements. The Boeing marketing team wanted an equally innovative way to demonstrate the airplane’s latest features.

Boeing turned to Microsoft Corp. and [wire] stone, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. 737 Explained is hosted on Windows Azure, which stores the project data — more than 20,000 high-resolution photographs combined into a 32-gigapixel image of the plane — on Microsoft’s cloud-based servers. This allows prospective customers and Boeing representatives to show the detail of the airplane virtually anytime, anywhere, and on many different devices.

In addition, 737 Explained uses Microsoft Silverlight Deep Zoom, which enables a rich user experience with 360-degree tours of the airplane and the ability to view every component of the plane down to the landing gear, engine components and individual rivets. Overall, 737 Explained has created a technologically impressive alternative to traditional marketing materials such as brochures or slide presentations.

To learn more about how Windows Azure and Silverlight helped Boeing create 737 Explained, readers can find the case study at http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?casestudyid=4000010723.

More info about Azure is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure.

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