24 August 2011

Intergen builds Rugby-flavoured demo for Tech•Ed New Zealand’s opening keynote

AUCKLAND, August 24, 2011 - A technology demo featuring Australian Rugby Union (ARU) starred in the opening keynote of Microsoft’s annual Tech·Ed event this morning.

A prototype Media Assets Library which allows videographers, ARU officials and accredited journalists to quickly and accurately share content about Rugby games and players was built to showcase the Microsoft Cloud platform.  The Windows Azure cloud-based service will allow the application to scale dramatically, for instance to potentially cope with the influx of international journalists taking an interest in the Wallabies during the bumper 2011 season.

The technology demo also showcased integration with Office 365, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync.

The top-secret demo was built over the last few months for Microsoft Corporation by Australasian Microsoft partner, Intergen, and will also be shown at global Microsoft events in coming months.

“It’s putting Rugby and down under technical skills on the world stage,” says Intergen chief technology officer, Chris Auld.  “We had an existing relationship with Australian Rugby Union, and thought of them when Microsoft approached Intergen to build a keynote-level cloud-focused demo.

“Intergen has become the go-to company for Microsoft’s keynotes globally,” says Auld.  “Keynote demos are huge creative productions, similar in scale and drama to a short movie.  We develop creative scenarios and really push the technologies to show them at their greatest potential.  We’re in the privileged position of having access to many of Microsoft’s products well before they are in the market.

“Delivering the demo to a New Zealand audience was a little nerve-wracking. I had to get up on stage and say: ‘Look at this amazing piece of technology we’ve built for one the All Blacks’ biggest competitors at the World Cup this year!’”

The prototype Media Assets Library is a flexible but automated system, showing the integration points between SharePoint, the internet, the cloud and multiple customer roles.  For example, a photographer at a match can upload high resolution photos to ARU’s media portal. These are fed into a SharePoint workflow where ARU staff can view and approve images and add relevant metadata, such as names and venues.  Accredited journalists can download content, with the appropriate licences, along with HTML readymade for them to embed video clips and images into a media outlet’s website.

ARU Head of Online Business and IT Services, Paul Templeman, said he was pleased Australian Rugby could play a part in helping to showcase Microsoft’s new cloud services. 

“With more and more people getting their news from social media and online outlets in real time it is imperative we have a system that allows us to distribute content to media in a timely fashion,” Mr Templeman said.

“The prototype Media Assets Library meets that need in a simple yet effective way and once complete will allow ARU to effectively manage and distribute our photographic and video content.”

The demo provides a real-world case of why an organisation would move from an on-premise scenario to the cloud.  Windows Azure’s ability to scale quickly and its online connectivity with many stakeholders made it the ideal tool for ARU’s Media Library.


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