Lync Conference 2014 Keynote
The Lync Conference 2014 Keynote was held on Tuesday 18th February in Las Vegas.
The keynote was given by Gurdeep Singh Pall (Corporate Vice President for Skype and Lync at Microsoft Corp, responsible for Skype and Lync Product Engineering and Operations) with Derek Burney (corporate vice president for Microsoft Lync & Skype Strategic Relations and Solutions within Microsoft’s Applications and Services group) showing us product demonstrations and exhibiting a loud shirt :).
Firstly, apologies for not managing to live blog the keynote. There were primarily two reasons for this:
- Network Connectivity. Generally, WiFi access has been really good, given the number of people here. However, an event like a keynote with so many people packed into one place, was always going to cause problems.
- We were packed in! There was hardly any room to move as the seats were packed right in. There definately wasn’t enough room to wield a laptop. Given this, out of courtesy to my neighbours, I decided not to attempt to live blog.
Gurdeep started by highlighting how far Unified Communications has come since Microsoft first got involved. 38 quarters of double-digit revenue growth, $1B+ annual revenue, now #1 UC Voice Market leader.
Fun Fact: one third of all long-distance world calls happen on Skype.
Gurdeep has returned to Lync after (in his own words) a “sabbatical”. Whilst away, he worked on Artificial Intelligence solutions, and he hinted that there were things from his work in AI that could be brought to the UC space. He demonstrated a Siri-like feature built into the Lync mobile client used to list and join meetings. He described it as being provided by the “Open Speech API” – but I can’t find any reference to this anywhere – I’m guessing though that it’s the Speech Recognition API. He also hinted at more built-in intelligence coming to the Lync ecosystem to make actions more intuitive. The example he gave was of looking at “Joe’s” details on a desktop PC, then walking away and searching for “Joe” on a phone. Rather than showing all “Joe’s”, the phone should be aware of what you’ve been looking at on the desktop PC, and bring that particular contact to the top of the list.
The Android tablet Lync client was also announced, and is scheduled to hit the Google Play Store at the end of June.
Anonymous join is coming to the iPad and iPhone, as is PowerPoint sharing.
Video is coming to Lync-Skype integration … in the next few months!
PSTN calling from Lync Online is coming, as are Large Meetings in Lync Online.
There were also some Infrastructure announcements, including Interop support for Cisco/Tandberg video teleconferencing systems.
UCWA Audio/Video Support
Derek provided us with some interesting demos, involving a variety of different clients joining a meeting and collaborating on a PowerPoint. However, what was more interesting (to me anyway) was a Healthcare demo, showing the changes coming in UCWA. The long-awaited AudioVideo support appears to be coming to UCWA: the demo showed a webpage making a video call to a healthcare professional within the browser.
Whilst summerising, Gurdeep suggested that we’ve reached a new milestone in the history of communications. He suggested that instead of Unified Communications we should now to striving to achieve Universal Communications – with applications becoming communication-enabled endpoints in their own right, communicating with each other.