Lync Conference 2013 in retrospect

I just got home from the Conference, and apart from the 20 hour travel each way it has been nothing but a joyride! So, with a few hours to digest the experience I thought I would put down some words giving my take on the conference. Of course, all the big news have been blogged and tweeted heavily, so I wouldn’t expect any big surprises if I were you!

Networking. That is the number one key takeaway for me. Getting to meet MCM’s, MVP’s, Microsoft architects and so on, discussing topics with them. Invaluable. Thanks to all the great and competent people that invested their time there, you will be the biggest argument for my participation next year.

The Lync Room Systems. This was the big news in the conference, and man are those Things going to set a standard in the Meeting room. I am not going to do a technical review here, only give huge credit to Microsoft and partners that have done a great job at defining the end user experience when it comes to Meetings and Meeting room systems, and how to address the pain points we see in todays solutions.

The Lync 2013 Mobile Clients. Those are going to be great devices, with real good quality and a similar user experience across platforms. I am glad that Microsoft has honored the market by adding presentation capabilities (view) on the iPad, and not only the RT or full W8 tablets. A couple of things to bear in mind though:
– the client will not support handover between different networks (e.g. WiFi <-> 3G/4G). I did get to discuss it a bit with Brian Stucker after a session, and like he pointed out mobile users are somewhat used to have their calls drop out once in a while. And once signed in again on another network, you just hit conversation history and resume your call! Besides, would you rather have the conversation drop or just put on hold (like for instance Jabber does) and have the other end go “hello? hello?”.
– PSTN calls on the mobile Client will use G.711. That will put some more strain on your WiFi deployment.
– The only supported publishing, and signalling path, will have internal mobile Clients generate some hairpinning on your WAN connection as clients will register and signal through the Reverse Proxy. Media will flow P2P though.

New Enterprise Voice features. Thanks to Doug Lawty for his insight on both new and exisiting features, such as
– when applying the new inter-trunk feature of Lync Server 2013, don’t consider the number series that reside on an IP-PBX as a property of Lync, i.e. don’t set up an Unassigned Number range that would includes that of the IP-PBX. That would mess up routing. Also, when applying PSTN Usages to the inter-trunk – don’t automatically assume that the IP-PBX admin has taken the necessary steps regarding Class of Service etc.
– for Voice Routes, if you assign more than one gateway Lync will not prioritize in which order they are Applied. While this is good for load balancing it is not for least cost routing. Doug’s tip was to assign PSTN Usages in a preferred order, where one can have alternative routes/gateways further down the line.
– Location Based Routing is one of the new features soon to be released. This will mainly be a feature to comply with local legislation, where PSTN Calls will be forced to go through the local PSTN Gateway, preventing toll-bypass where this is prohibited by law.

High Availability and Disaster Recovery. Subbu Chandrasekaran did a good job demonstrating and describing the mechanisms in Lync Server 2013, and how they are easily controlled through PowerShell cmdlets. And now I even feel confident in the exact requirement for number of Front End servers in a HA pool as well; where Microsoft recommends a minimum of three, you CAN actually go with two according to (this has been heavily disputed among my colleagues)

I could of course mention a lot of other things, small tips and “a-ha’s” one get, but these are key to me anyway. For readers that are fluent in Norwegian (or know their way around translation Tools), also check out my colleagues and my own key takeaway bullets on coming up shortly!

Can’t wait till next LyncConf!