I have followed the keynote by Gurdeep Singh Pall at the Lync Conference 2014 in Las Vegas through the video stream on the conference site. I have no insider news and I am not at the conference, so this list of news (and my comments) are simply based on my personal experience, on information available to the public and on what I have seen.
- Universal Communications: this one is the new buzzword you will hear a lot in the next months. The Microsoft’s Vision is to reach every person using the platform they prefer including Skype (obviously) but also solutions from other vendors (see points 2, 3 4 and 5 in the following list, especially support for Android tablets and the “videation” role)
- There will be a Lync app available in the Google Play store (by the end of June 2014), so Microsoft is adding Android tablets to the list of supported devices
- Lync-Skype video federation: will be in tested in the next two months and delivered in six-eight months. Note: please, don’t misunderstand this point. The Skype software will remain dedicated to personal or home use, while Lync will remain a software for business. Microsoft is keeping them separated also by limiting some interoperability features
- “Videation” Role: I use the aforementioned name to indicate something that sounds like the Lync Mediation but dedicated to the video-conferencing systems. Microsoft presented it as a way to integrate Lync with Cisco and Tandberg video teleconferencing systems. IMHO it looks like a software bridge that will replace a lot of hardware we see now on the market. Talking about a software, the capability to expand and update it in the future are really big. It will be available in the next release of Lync (I would bet on names like Lync 2013 R2 or Lync 2014)
- New features for Lync Online: there will be support for large conferences (up to 1,000 people) and for PSTN calls. The promise is that the aforementioned features are coming later this year. PSTN calls in the Cloud, as everybody knows, are really a game-changer. My opinion, here, is that the prevision is a bit optimistic. However, we will see what happens.