The City of Miami created a Web application that would complement its non-emergency phone service and help recruit citizens to identify needs within the community.
3M developed a prototype Web-based application called "Visual Attention Service (VAS)" that enabled designers to test the effectiveness of their content. Users could upload images to the VAS, and the application's processing engine would evaluate and return a map of the image, which indicated the areas most likely to attract a viewer's attention.
To be a viable business offering, 3M knew that the VAS had to be available to customers in real time, be capable of processing images and returning near-immediate results, and of rapidly scaling its capacity during peak design times.
By leveraging the Windows Azure platform, 3M is providing users with near-immediate response times -- even during peak load times when the app is inundated with high traffic. Most importantly, 3M is delivering a new technology that could change the design process paradigm, especially in areas where success hinges on a viewer's response to a particular scene.