By Tim Woo, Technical Product Manager and Lync Demo Lead

Day One of Lync Conference 2014 is over and it has been exciting to see the enthusiasm around Lync from our customers and partners. For me, as the Lync Demo Lead, the end of day one also means I can relax a bit knowing the keynote demo went off without a hitch. If you are in Vegas with me or watched the keynote webcast live, I hope you enjoyed the show and the new product announcements we made.

Since most people have never had to put on a big stage demo like this, you may be wondering what goes on behind the scenes. So I thought it would be interesting to share with our blog readers a peak into what it takes to make the magic happen.

A lot of moving parts go into a keynote demo and it’s always amazing to watch all the pieces come together on show day. In general, the recipe for success is:

  • A captivating speaker – I was lucky to have Derek Burney, Corporate VP, return to do the demo this year. His flair and humor are always a hit with any audience.

  • Awesome technology – We don’t do fake demos (everything on stage was live code) so it’s great knowing I have a team of the best engineers behind me.

  • “Talent” – Luckily I can always pull photogenic people from Lync marketing and force them to be demo buddies.

  • A fantastic producer and production crew.

  • And of course, planning, planning, and more planning.

Saturday/Sunday:

When I arrived on site at the Aria Conference Center, this is what was waiting for me in an empty ballroom. Our demo equipment had left Redmond by truck two weeks prior and thankfully arrived at the Aria in one piece. Over the next two days, the production crew built out the stage, control room, and sets in the green room.


Monday:

The day before the keynote, we held rehearsals where Gurdeep Singh Pall and Derek Burney ran through their respective keynote sections. Here are Derek and Loy adjusting the KISS dolls to ensure they would be at the perfect height for the cameras from a variety of devices.


Tuesday, Day of keynote:

Here I am one minute before the start of the keynote demo preparing to be on the other end of the mobile phone meeting with Derek.


Our 70’s themed video teleconferencing set where Jacky, Jole, and Daniel sat with a Tandberg VTC waiting to be invited into an existing Lync meeting with me and Derek. It was a humorous way to show off the native Tandberg interoperability story of Lync even if none of them knew how to use an abacus.


Of course, our wrist/hand expert, doctor Sami, in his medical set which we used to demo the ability to embed rich communications into an existing webpage using Lync/Skype API technology.


Our “pawn store owner” Carl and Gleb getting the Skype client ready and thinking through just how much they’d pay Derek for a used Tandberg. With Lync/Skype video connectivity coming by June, the communication possibilities are endless when you have video access to hundreds of millions of Skype users worldwide right from a Lync client.


And as I mentioned earlier, a great production crew is key to a great show. Here is a shot of the control room and @nomorephones himself, Jamie Stark.


Derek and me right after another successful demo!


I hope you enjoyed a peak into what it looked like backstage at this year’s Lync Conference keynote demo and a big thank you to everyone who helped make it such a success. I look forward to seeing you all again next year!