By Ludo De Bock, Senior Director EU/NATO, Microsoft
For the 3rd annual conference of The State of the European Union held on 6 June 2013, Lync Online has played a key role in expanding the corporate representation at the event by connecting presentations and conversations from across the European Union. Through Lync in the cloud, we were able to successfully create a virtual town hall across Europe.
Even though the conference has physically taken place in Brussels, dozens of participants have called-in from their corporate offices from London, Frankfurt, Warsaw, Paris and Milan. For example, around 50 invitees have called-in from Paris alone. Microsoft Lync 2013 has provided the online streaming from all 5 cities (plus Brussels) and facilitated discussions that have complemented the debate in Brussels.
The topics that have been discussed in each location are:
London: Future role as a financial centre – hosted by Microsoft
Paris: Competitive cluster policy – hosted by Ernst & Young
Milan: Maintaining creativity edge – hosted by 3M
Frankfurt: Model for export competitiveness – hosted by GE
Warsaw: Logistics and infrastructure – hosted by Procter & Gamble
For the ones of you that are not so familiar with Lync Online, it is a standalone service and is also part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite that includes Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Professional Plus, and Microsoft Office Web Apps.
Lync Online connects people everywhere, on devices running Windows 7&8 as well as other operating systems. It provides a consistent, single client experience for presence, instant messaging (IM), voice, video and a great meeting experience. And Lync got very exciting recently when we introduced the cross-platform Lync-Skype connectivity enabling IM and voice calling with the hundreds of millions of people who use these platforms around the world.
Lync Online is one of my favourite Microsoft services because of its great features including the ability to create, moderate, and join pre-planned and on-the-fly audio, video, and web meetings with people inside and outside the organization. It’s actually more than just facilitating online meetings, it’s about helping provide a flexible work style, enabling global collaboration and workforce mobility, as well as helping save money.
During the State of the European Union forum, Lync has also proved its potential to contribute to real-time political discussions and decision making. As Bob Gogel, CEO Integreon, said “The use of the Lync cloud technology at this 6 city conference on The State of the European Union conference held on June 6 in Brussels was a great example of democracy in action. A discussion and debate amongst various stakeholders across Europe, using public networks and readily available PCs with HD cameras showed the audience of over 400 how this new technology can encourage open and frank discussion across borders.”
Just as we have connected professionals from 6 remote cities and streamed the political debates, Lync is not entirely new to enabling the political scene. Presidential campaign Obama for America chose Microsoft Lync to keep staff and volunteers connected to supporters and each other in 2012.
This is the first time that Lync Online 2013 has been showcased in a conference of this dimension. As partners with The State of the European Union, Microsoft is honoured to contribute the technology that will shape the conference.