I had the privilege to attend the Microsoft Lync Conference 2013 held at beautiful hotel del Coronado in San Diego!
It was good to learn that the product group sees Mobility as important as well as Reliability; if your first call with Lync fails chances are you will not try again, so work is definitely ongoing in these areas. It was also reassuring to hear that Lync is committed to multi-platforms. We saw demos of Lync VoIP and video on iOS and Android next to windows 8 and Windows Phone. These mobile clients will be available next month through the various "App Stores", so it seems as I can hang on to my Apple products for yet some time.
The Lync room based system / concept were also demonstrated on big touch sensitive screens to be used as whiteboards - looks really neat. The Lync room based system will be available through 4 vendors by this summer. The new Lync 2013 Meeting Gallery view with 4 simultaneous video feeds on a Windows 8 device were demoed as well as video in the Lync 2013 web app running on a Mac.
We also learnt that Enterprise voice will be coming in Office365 within 18 months from now and that the next Lync server version will be released in the second quarter of 2014. It seems as Microsoft is stepping up the pace of improvements and new features for Lync.
After the keynote, the different break-out sessions started, and we got the chance to check out the expo area and mingle with some nice people.
We also took several "deep dives" into stuff like Lync Resiliency, Voice Routing, Interoperability and related subjects.
It was good to meet several of my old students at the conference - here is Lars Ernerdahl - a Lync Enterprise Voice expert from Sigma in Sweden.
Some stuff I picked up which seemed new to me:
- A virtualization whitepaper for Lync 2013 is on its way.
- Announcements around Reverse Proxy planning / recommendations are coming on the UCOIP page.
- Better Boss/Secretary functionality with Lync 2013 and SNOM phones.
- SNOM phones can register towards two SIP registrars at the same time (like Lync 2013 / MX-ONE 5.0)
- Virtualizing SBA's will be possible in Lync 2013.
- SQL mirroring is supported in Lync 2013 - with or without a witness.
- SQL clustering is NOT supported in Lync 2013.
- Encrypted traffic might be an issue for QoS over WiFi - Aruba Networks has solutions for this.
- In Exchange 2013 all backend servers are UM servers.
- Call Admission Control is mutually exclusive to Media Bypass.
- Lync 2013 will detect gateway down and try another gateway much quicker than Lync 2010.
Cumulative Update 1 for Lync 2013 is coming now in February and seems to be a big thing. New features will be added to Lync along with updates as well and we got to hear about these three nice addons:
Location based routing for non-emergency calls
This means routing based on where a user is located in the network, and not only depending on what the user dials. Location-based routing will use the existing sites and regions already configured in CSCP, together with a new policy. All other configuration of this feature will be done with powershell commands.
Server support for Mobile clients
This is the needed backend changes to get voice and video going in the Mobile Clients.
Group call pickup
Roy Kuntz talked about the Group Call Pickup feature in his excellent “Deploying Voice” session. Group Call Pickup means that when you hear another phone ring (can be a drawback with the Lync client software and ring tones not being loud like regular phones) you simply dial the call pickup number assigned to that extension to pick it up.
And besides the technical stuff - we had a lot of fun!
Microsoft Sweden got all the Swedes together before the event even started – thanks guys!
And we got the best seats at the Sea World attendee party!
Magnus Algard and Ulf Trolle tried the hands-on-labs available for all delegates.
I tweeted a lot during the entire conference and was real happy to see two of my tweets promoted during the second keynote.
Matt Landis did a little "Takeaways" Interview video with me, and I had to take the chance to clown off a bit. Around 600 persons from 40 countries attended the conference, 300 partners, 40+ Swedish delegates (and we consumed 2000+ drinks in 2 hours during the welcome reception.) I really think that #lyncconf13 was the best event I attended so far! I loved the content, the people and the party! and I really hope this will become a recurring event.