Today, I had the opportunity to present a demo during Jason Zander’s keynote at TechEd North America. Jason has a nice write-up of the ALM announcements that he made here. The demo I did was before the announcements and showed how you can extend an enterprise application to the cloud and enable new experiences on devices.
During the demo, we talked about Fabrikam Fiber, a fictional cable company with a big customer satisfaction problem. We’re all familiar with waiting at home for hours for the cable guy and he’s either late or never shows up. Fabrikam Fiber wants to solve this problem by enabling service technicians in the field to use their smartphones to get updates and also alert customers when they will be late.
Currently, Fabrikam Fiber uses a simple call center application to schedule technicians for appointments in the field. The problem today is that once scheduled, the technician isn’t going to get the update until he returns to the office and checks his schedule again. They want their field technicians to receive updates to their schedule on their smartphones as well as be more aware of when they’ll be late for appointments so they can warn customers.
We solved this problem by creating a Cloud + Devices solution. That allowed us to leverage the infrastructure available in Windows Azure and the rich platform of Windows Phone 7.
To make building the application easier, we used the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7. The toolkit includes Windows Azure and Windows Phone project templates as well as the class libraries and cloud services we needed to build the solution.
The toolkit supports storing data for your phone application in the cloud and sending push notifications from the cloud to the phone. Last week, the team released support for Apple Push Notifications. Today, we released support for integration with Access Control Service (Wade Wegner has a great write up on his blog). And later this summer, we’ll add support for Android Cloud to Device Messaging.
One of the services that we used was the Windows Azure Access Control service which makes is easy to work with multiple identity providers without knowing the specific implementation of each provider. With the support included in the toolkit, we were able to log on to our Windows Phone application using Windows Live ID and our Active Directory credentials (via ADFS).
Here are links to the resources we used in the demo:
- Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7
- Windows Azure
- Windows Azure Connect and Traffic Manager (Virtual Network)
- Access Control service
You can watch the TechEd keynote here.