Last week a bunch of us MVPs had the pleasure of flying the Lync flag at TechEd North America 2014 in Houston, Texas. I’d successfully landed a session in the Office Servers and Services track and was accompanied by a slew of fellow Lync MVPs from Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, UK, USA and Canada in delivering content in the track. This was my second TechEd North America after last year in New Orleans and I was pumped to visit Texas, eat some great food and see both new and familiar faces again.
Day one consisted of the keynote, which was packed full of Microsoft Azure announcements. Notably ExpressRoute, which allows an organisation to establish an MPLS tail directly into Azure to extend their infrastructure even further into the cloud. In the Microsoft Solutions Experience, Lync and Exchange MVPs manned the Office Servers and Services, helping attendees with any questions they had around Unified Communications. I also caught a glimpse of Codename Oslo, which leverages the Office Graph to bring together conversations and content in Exchange, SharePoint, Yammer, Lync and more into a Pinterest style user interface. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Oslo as it matures and (hopefully) becomes a fully-fledged product.
Exchange MVP Bhargav Shukla, Microsoft Lync Product Group PM Ken Ewert and I also assisted fellow Lync MVP Paul Robichaux on day 1 in his session demoing Lync 2013 mobile clients. We demonstrated how Windows Phone, iPad and Android devices can all enjoy a rich Lync 2013 meeting experience, along with demoing Lync 2013 on an Android tablet for the very first time.
The TechExpo saw a huge turnout of vendors from across the Microsoft product spectrum, including Lync partners Jabra, Plantronics, Sonus, Snom and Audiocodes. The Welcome Reception on Monday night was a prime opportunity to network with vendors and get a feel for how they’re adding value to Microsoft solutions.
Tuesday night saw speakers participate in Ask the Experts. An informal way for attendees to ask questions to Microsoft folks and MVPs over a few beers and food. On the Lync tables, we had some great conversations with customers regarding their experiences with the product and provided some insight into solving business and technical problems they had.
My session on how Lync Server 2013 integrates with the entire Microsoft infrastructure ecosystem took place on Wednesday afternoon. With a turnout of 125 attendees, it was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the cost savings Lync 2013 provides and cover all the integration points Lync has with Microsoft software. I always enjoy speaking at conferences, but this one was particularly awesome with some great questions from attendees afterwards.
Once again TechEd puts on a huge show for IT Pros and developers across North America, with 4 days of rich content and boundless networking opportunities to be had. As an MVP, it’s a fantastic chance to meet the community in person, share our passion for technology and help people get more out of their investments in Microsoft.