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I’ve confirmed that we’ll have the complete suite of applications from the Hard Rock Cafe installed on one of the Microsoft Surface units at our PDC ‘09 booth next week. That means that if you’re in attendance, you’ll be able to check out the Memorabilia and other Hard Rock branded apps. Make sure to see our session as well and follow us on @MSurface.
Recently, I was down in Las Vegas at the grand opening of the NEW Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas strip. It’s an amazing location to shop, dine and take in a concert. While we were there, we shot a video interview with the team that brought the Surface experience into the venue. The resulting impact is brilliant when you walk in the doors at the Hard Rock Cafe.
For a video demo of the Memorabilia application, check out this previous post. For a little more background on what went into creating the application, here’s an interview I did with Paul Osburn, Touch Technologist at Vertigo. Vertigo is a Microsoft Surface Strategic Partner. The Memorabilia application was created in partnership with Hard Rock, designed by Duncan/Channon and built by Vertigo.
Eric Havir: Why did you choose to create the experience on Surface? Paul Osburn: All of us at Hard Rock, Duncan/Channon, and Vertigo wanted to create an experience that showcased Hard Rock’s music memorabilia collection. We didn’t want a traditional user interface to get in the way. With the Worldwide Memorabilia application, the content is the interface. Want to find where Hard Rock is located in Europe? Spin the 3D globe to Europe. Want to look at Bo Diddley’s guitar in more detail? Touch the guitar and use your fingers to zoom into it. Want to share what you find with a friend who is sitting next to you? Slide the guitar over to them. Using Surface allowed us to make the memorabilia the focus and create a social experience for the user.
EH: Can you describe the application? PO: The Worldwide Memorabilia application allows users to explore Hard Rock's memorabilia collection in detail, read the story that goes with each item, watch videos, and discover Hard Rock properties using the 3D globe. Users open collections of memorabilia that float around on Surface and then zoom into any item they’re interested in. Up to 5 five people can use the application at the same time, from any side of Surface. From John Lennon’s army jacket to Michael Jackson’s white glove to Buddy Holly’s iconic glasses, there are thousands of items to look at and more being added every day since the application is connected to Hard Rock’s digital asset management system.
EH: What was the process for creating this experience? Where did you start and what did you want to accomplish? PO: Our vision was to provide people at the cafes with a fun way to explore Hard Rock’s music memorabilia collection and properties. We started brainstorming what the application could be. We prototyped ideas and played around with them on Surface, continuing to refine those we liked and scrapping the rest. As the overall design matured we started building the application in earnest, using short iterations as checkpoints along the way.
We had several user-testing sessions, even going so far as setting up a mock Hard Rock Café in our offices: videos playing, loud music, Surface units, you name it. User testing ended up having a big impact on how we spent our time when it came to refining the application and adding the polish that makes it so engaging and fun to use. It really focused us.
EH: In general.. What other applications / experiences would you be interested in creating? PO: We’re interested in creating experiences where users forget they’re using a machine, where they become completely immersed in the content, and where that experience can be shared with others. The interaction that takes place between people as they use our applications on Surface are just as important and exciting to us as the application itself.
EH: All technicality aside, what would be your fantasy application and where would you want to see it deployed? PO: How cool would it be if an application on Surface allowed you or your group to connect with some of the musicians represented in the collection? Twitter, live video feeds, whatever … features that let you to get to know the artists by communicating with them directly from the Cafe.
Finally, it would be fantastic if there was an application for Surface that allowed you to create your own donut. You choose the style of donut, the flavors, toppings, etc. Then, touch something and BAM! Out comes a piping hot donut from the new deep fryer that’s built right into the Surface.
Please let me know if you have any questions about Surface here in the blog comments. - Eric
The Microsoft Surface SDK Workstation Edition is now available for MSDN subscribers.
If you’re an MSDN subscriber, make sure to get over there and download the Workstation Edition SDK. This will allow you to develop Surface applications using your PC. With less than a week to go before PDC, you might want to familiarize yourself with the toolset before our session and Ask the Experts for even more insight.
Microsoft Surface has really experienced positive momentum in the past year. At last year’s PDC we had 60 Microsoft Surface partners and in just one year that number has grown to more than 250 active partners. Our customer roster has expanded since PDC 2008 to include brands such as Hard Rock International, Barclays Bank and Vodafone, who have deployed units around the world. We also have a strong presence in the Microsoft retails stores which opened this fall.
Today at PDC 2009, we have a couple of exciting announcements.
Microsoft Surface SDK Workstation Edition We are announcing the broad availability of the Microsoft Surface SDK Workstation Edition. Now anyone interested in developing collaborative, engaging massive multi-touch, multi-user experiences for Surface can easily access the software at no cost through Surface.com. The Surface hardware is needed to deploy an application, and many use the Surface Developer units to create and test their applications directly on the device. The SDK Workstation Edition lets you use a PC to develop and a PC based simulator to test applications using multiple mice and tag simulation tools. We launched resources for developers, designers and IT Professionals.
Touch First Contest winner We are also pleased to announce the winner of the Touch First developer contest, with the grand prize being a Microsoft Surface Developer unit. We received nearly 40 contest entries from around the world and the judges had no easy task given all of the amazing applications submitted. Congratulations to the winner, User Interface Design GmbH in Ludwigsberg, Germany! You can see their winning application, UID Porfolio, below.
But wait, there’s more! Remember, our session at PDC is tomorrow at 11:30am in Petree Hall C. You’ll want to attend this session to see what our mystery demo is all about. More to come. :)
- Eric (Follow us on Twitter and Facebook)