Avanade, a business technology services provider, creates business solutions based on Microsoft technologies. The organization sought to respond to customers who wanted user-friendly, richer mobile applications. Using integrated Windows Phone 7 development features, Avanade quickly and easily created a new mobile application that gives rail passengers real-time train travel information. Avanade can also help its global sales and development professionals better promote the company’s mobile solutions. Business Needs
Based in Seattle, Washington, Avanade provides business technology services that connect insight, innovation, and expertise in Microsoft technologies to help customers realize results. Since 2000, the Avanade mobility group has focused on developing Windows-based mobile applications that help customers work more productively and efficiently.
||Because of the development features in Windows Phone 7, we could quickly ... show the customer exactly what the application would ultimately look like. That impressed the customer and helped win the business.
Director, Global Technologies & Solutions
Recently, Avanade has worked with National Rail Enquiries in Great Britain to provide mobile solutions with richer user experiences and more intuitive interfaces. To meet these requirements, Avanade decided to develop applications for the new Windows Phone 7 operating system. “Windows Phone 7 has a superior user experience and design that perfectly fit our customers’ business needs,” says Steve Butcher, Director, Global Technologies & Solutions, Avanade.
For example, Windows Phone 7 features panoramic views called hubs that present information in an intuitive, connected way. The device also includes a start screen with large, interactive tiles that can be tapped to launch applications on a phone.
Avanade also wanted to build Windows Phone 7 applications to create brand awareness for the company’s
capabilities, particularly in light of growing competition. “It has been a challenge for us to talk to customers because of all the competitive products out there in the last few years,” says Butcher. “We needed to have a good-looking, usable application in place to promote our capabilities.” Solution
In early 2010, Avanade began creating a Windows Phone 7 mobile application for UK National Rail Enquiries, the journey-planning website that serves more than 1.3 million passengers each day. Avanade designers in Australia, India, and the United Kingdom collaborated to create Train Travel, a downloadable application that National Rail passengers with mobile devices can use to easily plan their trip or receive real-time updates about rail service. Using Train Travel, users can quickly search for the closest train station using Bing Maps and can use the application’s Journey Planner to view their location and choose the next available departure time. “Passengers can now plan their trips in advance, check live station departures, and get updated notifications of delays—all from their mobile device,” says Butcher.
Avanade developers used the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 development environment to build Train Travel and also took advantage of some key development features in Windows Phone 7. For instance, they used Microsoft Expression Blend 4 design software for Windows Phone to create the original panoramic views in the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in. The developers also used Silverlight to build a real-time visualization of a train’s journey as it approaches and leaves train stations.
Additionally, developers used Windows Phone 7 integrated cloud services capabilities, such as the Microsoft Location Service, which provides a single reference point for acquiring location information like global positioning system data. Developers also used the integrated Microsoft Push Notification Service, which sends updated information to a user’s phone. With this feature, notifications of train service delays, cancellations, or interruptions are automatically sent to phones.
With Train Travel, users can search multiple stations’ schedules, current location, and Bing Maps. In addition, the application shows departure and arrival times and provides live progress updates. Benefits
Using integrated Windows Phone 7 development features, Avanade developers designed a new mobile application in only days. The application gives rail passengers up-to-date information and an intuitive interface to help plan their journey. Avanade can now help its sales force promote mobile applications to global customers.
Designed Rich Application in Days
Avanade developers took advantage of the Windows Phone 7 panorama control feature to make application navigation intuitive and compelling for the user. They also used Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone to create the
initial panoramic views, so minimal development was required to create the actual phone screens. As a result, Avanade completed a rough design of the user interface in just three days. “Because of the ease of development with Windows Phone 7, we could quickly sketch out the application’s interface and show the customer exactly what the application would look like,” says Butcher. “That impressed the customer and helped win the business.”
Avanade also plans to develop more customer applications for Windows Phone 7. “It’s an easy transition for us from developing desktop applications to building mobile applications for Windows Phone 7, because the technology integrates so well with Silverlight and Visual Studio 2010, which are our core capabilities,” says Butcher.
Gives Customers Real-Time Travel Information
With Train Travel, National Rail customers can receive real-time train arrival and departure information on their mobile devices, using an easy-to-read interface. “Train Travel makes travel much easier for National Rail passengers,” says Butcher.
Provides a Powerful Marketing Tool
Because Avanade can quickly create Windows Phone 7 applications, the company can easily promote its mobile solutions to prospective customers. “Using the Windows Phone 7 development features, our developers can design applications and determine process flow before even starting the development process,” says Butcher. “As a result, our salespeople can show customers exactly what their application will look like and how it will work, and then quickly tweak the application to specifically suit the customer. Being able to showcase new mobile applications is a powerful marketing tool for us.” This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.