State of European Union conference goes pan-European with Microsoft Lync Online

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The annual The State of the European Union conference brings together business leaders and top politicians to analyze the economic climate and discuss the future for businesses in Europe. For its third conference in June 2013, the organization hosted a so-called Virtual Town Hall that gave participants the opportunity to call in from six European cities: they were able to join a conference that was physically taking place in Brussels, but without travel costs, loss of time or climate impact.
Microsoft Lync Online 2013 provided the video streaming for the conference to and from all six cities, using the standard public Internet.

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State of European Union conference goes pan-European with Microsoft Lync Online

  1. 1. State of European Union conference goes pan-European with Microsoft Lync Online country: Belgium sector: Conferencing profile The annual State of the European Union conference brings together business leaders and top politicians to analyze the economic climate and discuss the future for businesses in Europe. For its third conference in June The State of the European Union annual confer- 2013, the organization hosted a so-called Virtual Town ence brings together Fortune 2000 business lead- Hall that gave participants the opportunity to call in from ers and top politicians to analyze the economic six European cities: they were able to join a conference climate and discuss the future for businesses in Europe. challenge Integreon, the organizer of the annual State of the European Union conference, wanted to host a socalled Virtual Town Hall that gave participants the opportunity to call in from six European cities and that was physically taking place in Brussels, but without travel costs, loss of time or climate impact. Microsoft Lync Online 2013 provided the video streaming for the conference to and from all six cities, using the standard public Internet. To enable the participants to interact, the conference organizer in Brussels used for the first time ever a Lync Room System, which consists of a join a conference that was physically taking place pre-configured PC with all the necessary software, a con- in Brussels. sole with touch control, an HD camera, specially engineered microphones and speakers, plus a couple of large solution Microsoft Lync Online 2013 provided the video streaming to and from all six cities, using public networks. Integreon just needed to activate the Lync Room System, which consisted of a preconfigured PC with all the necessary software, a displays. All the other users could switch on their PCs to join an audience of over 400, follow the conference on big displays and interact through HD real-time videoconferencing. Microsoft Lync Online showed how technology can encourage open and frank discussion across borders. Microsoft Lync Online
  2. 2. console with touch control, an HD camera, spe- The annual conference of the State of the European Union cially engineered microphones and speakers, plus a brings together Fortune 2000 business leaders and top couple of large displays. Users switched on their PCs with HD cameras and joined an audience of over 400, in Brussels. politicians to analyze the economic climate and discuss the future for businesses in Europe. For its third conference in early June 2013, the organization hosted a socalled Virtual Town Hall. This gave dozens of extra partici- benefits Û HD conferencing over public networks, at low cost Û Plug-and-play for both moderator and attendees pants the opportunity to call in from their corporate offices in London, Frankfurt, Warsaw, Paris and Milan and join the 400 participants present at a top conference physically taking place in Brussels. Û Easy access thanks to cloud model Virtual Town Hall discussion Û Attendees from six cities Microsoft Lync 2013 played a key role in expanding the Û No travel costs, loss of time or climate impact corporate representation at the conference by connecting Û Participants interact across Europe presentations and discussions between major European cities. Participants were able to interact with each other through live high-definition video that successfully trans- software&services Servers Developer Tools Windows mitted voice and images simultaneously, and more importantly, see the subtle gestures and body language that made it seem like a real meeting. Around 50 invitees called in from Paris alone, increasing the conference’s impact. “The two previous conferences were also organized in Desktop Applications Brussels and if you wanted to join in, you had no option Business Solutions tor-in-chief and Integreon’s CEO. “With the Internet but to travel in,” says Robert Gogel, the conference’s edichanging the business processes of all participants, we Online Services Lync Online Microsoft Services Microsoft Technologies Microsoft Security were looking at the possibilities of doing something similar with our conference. We believe the corporate voice needs to be heard across Europe, but obviously not everyone can be in Brussels on the same day. If people could join in online and we gave them a fantastic interactive experience, they would be able to attend without travel costs, loss of time or climate impact. We were able to gather input from all these locations abroad, and they were able to discuss live with speakers and guests in Brussels.” Live video streaming Robert Gogel first talked to Microsoft’s Ludo De Bock, after which it was decided to run a pilot with Microsoft Lync 2013, cloud software for live meetings and part of the
  3. 3. Robert Gogel: “The use of the Lync cloud technology at this six-city conference was a great example of democracy in action.” Office 365 suite. Ludo De Bock, Senior Director at International, real-time political debating Microsoft: “Lync Online is one of my favorite “The cloud service is not entirely new to enabling Microsoft services because of its features, including the political scene. US presidential campaign the ability to create, moderate and join web meet- Obama for America chose Microsoft Lync to keep ings with people inside and outside organizations. staff and volunteers connected to supporters and It’s more than just facilitating online meetings, it’s each other in 2012,” adds Ludo De Bock. “But this is about helping provide a flexible way of working, the first time that Lync Online was showcased at a enabling global collaboration and workforce mobil- conference of this dimension. Being a partner of The ity, as well as helping save money.” State of the European Union, we were really honored to provide the technology that shaped part of the Microsoft Lync Online provided the video streaming conference.” for the The State of the European Union conference to and from all six cities. It facilitated the discussions In the conferencing set-up, people at the different complementing the debate in Brussels. During the locations were able to look at two big screens with conference, Lync also proved its potential to con- live HD video. On one screen they could see the tribute to real-time political discussions and deci- presentation from Brussels. On the other they could sion-making. see the conference’s participants in multi-party mode, meaning that everyone could see everyone Robert Gogel: “The use of the Lync cloud technol- else. ogy at this six-city conference 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.” Conference room preparation “The person normally taking care of the AV equipment in conference centers, company meeting rooms and other venues is the person who can easily handle this equipment too,” says Ludo De Bock. “Running a test upfront is essential to check lighting, echo cancelation and available bandwidth. As far as hardware is concerned, an up-to-date stan-
  4. 4. dard PC with an HD webcam and a special echo canceling USB microphone should be sufficient.” For conference organizers and frequently used company meeting rooms, the Lync Room System is available from different hardware vendors such as Crestron, Polycom and SMART Technologies. The system consists of a preconfigured PC with all the necessary software, a console with touch control, an HD camera, specially engineered microphones and speakers, plus a couple of large displays. It all fits on a handcart, so you can tow the kit around a building and install it anywhere that has electricity and an Internet connection. Robert Gogel “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.” Low-cost standard equipment For the State of the European Union conference, the central meeting was organized at the Brussels Egmont Palace, a popular conference location that was already fully AV equipped with traditional sound and video systems. Ludo De Bock: “With the use of a so-called AV bridge, we could transmit the signal from the existing AV equipment to our PC via a USB cable. Together with an HD webcam with motorized panning and zooming, plus a quality sound system, this brought us a one-time extra cost of about 3,000 euros. That’s all you need for live, full HD videoconferencing over a standard Internet connection. It’s only a fraction of the price for fixed systems. What’s more, conference organizers can continue to use their existing equipment.” As with any physical conference, virtual conferences over the Internet also need people to orchestrate all the inter- for more information For more information about the Microsoft products and services described, call +32 (0)2 503 31 13 or visit http://www.microsoft.be/cases. There you will actions. That moderator could operate the camera, switch the sound on and off, decide what appears on the screens, add people to the conference on the fly by sending them an email with a link to click and join, chat with moderators find other companies that use similar applications. at other locations, broadcast the whole conference For more information about the Lync Room Sys- essary edit the documents being discussed in real-time. tem, call +32 2 503 31 13 or visit http:// www.crestron.com/rl, http://www.polycom.com or http://smarttech.com/smartroom. For more information about the State of the EU conference, visit http://www.stateoftheeu.eu. through an external streaming service provider and if nec-

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