The very first sold-out Lync Conference 2013 was a run-away success! Partners, vendors, Microsoft staff, Lync MVPs and industry peers converged in sunny, wet and at times cold and rainy San Diego at the historical Hotel del Coronado.
For the intensive 2.5 conference days, there were business and hard-core level 300/400 technical dive-in content that appealed to just about everybody. Plenty of social networking opportunities abound during the Welcome Reception (Exhibition hall opened), Ask-The-Expert evening, daily Birds-of-Feature (Bof) breakfast meetup, by-invitation only side-events* and the grand finale - party at the famous San Diego Sea World with the spectacular killer whale Shamu show and “manta” coaster ride.
I had the pleasure to co-host as a speaker the Instructor Lead Lab “ILL001: Deploying and Configuring Lync Edge Server 2013″ on Wednesday 20 Feb 2013 (10:15-11:30am) with my good MVP colleague James Ooi. It was very encouraging to see so many interested delegates that joined us in the ILL class with excellent questions and feedback.
For the very first time at the packed keynote session launching Lync Server 2013 (day 1), the long-awaited Lync audio/video (AV) call over data networks feature was publicly demonstrated. In other words, no more cellular connection fees to make a voice call or join a Lync audio conference! This works on all supported platforms running Windows Phone, Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad) as well as Android devices with the updated Lync client App. Up to 5 active video streams simultaneously is possible via Lync 2013 client and Lync Web App (platform neutral).
Another eagerly anticipated feature demonstrated was that of Lync-to-Skype federation or Skype to Lync integration. Besides presence information, audio calls can be seamlessly initiated or received whereby each (Lync/Skype) client app continues to maintain its unique interface and identity aka B2X business to consumer integration. This feature is expected to be formally available in 2Q 2013, likely to coincide with the upcoming CU1 (cumulative update 1) in Lync Server/Client 2013 release which also updates the Lync 2013 Mobility functionality.
Another important first publicly shared information by Microsoft is that the next revision of Lync Server 2013 is scheduled for 1Q 2014 (along the lines of “R2″ release but no official naming yet). This strategic move is a commitment to Microsoft customers to help in the application life cycle planning and deployment rollout. Also, Office 365 will be updated with Lync 2013 in the next cycle with enterprise voice planned thereafter (in Lync Online).
The Lync Room System was also unveiled where an attendee can simply start (or join from remote by inviting the LRS conference room “contact”) a conference without having to fiddle around with complicated settings, computer cabling or hardware devices. Expect Polycom, SMART, LifeSize as well as Creston to bring the intelligent LRS conference room system into the market in the coming months.
Registered delegates and attendees can look forward to audio/video recordings of all conference sessions, including remote access to the Hands-on Labs (HOL) hosted out of the cloud for a limited time. Check out the official Lync Conference 2013 web site for more information (note: URL is correct; may need multiple tries to reach this official Lync external site).
Looking forward to see you again at the next Lync Conference 2014! In the meantime, free feel to contact me where my email coordinates can be found on the left hand pane at the main leedesmond’s blog page.