Microsoft Has Developed a SaaS App for Conferences and Events

Microsoft Has Developed a SaaS App for Conferences and Events

A recent Word doc uploaded to the Microsoft Download Center shows signs that Microsoft may be working to turn a successful internal app into a public service.

The doc, entitled, Cloud offering provides modern, mobile conference experience, tells the tale of Microsoft offices in India and China that put in requests for a good conference management app. Microsoft sponsors many internal conferences and events, but also external events such as TechEd, BUILD, and WPC. After providing events such as these for years, one would think that a packaged solution would be available. I know, working with Microsoft on events for the past decade, the company would consistently farm-out app development and I always wondered why a standard event experience hadn't been yet been realized. Each event had its own custom app, redeveloped each year, sometimes by different vendors.

Microsoft's app, called Meeting Companion, contains the following architecture and features:

  • An Admin site running on an Azure Virtual Machine:
    • Used for configuration and setup. Enter agenda, maps, floor plans, etc.
    • Provides for customizable backgrounds and logos.
    • Delivers live push notifications.
    • Supports multiple languages.
    • Live feedback dashboard.
    • Real-time information for event polls and surveys.
  • REST API web role for pulling information from the content database.
  • Storage using Tables, Blogs, and Queues.
  • Windows Phone Application.
    • Push notifications.
    • Real-time polls and surveys.
    • Lync numbers for local hotels and restaurants.

So, it's interesting to see that Microsoft has leveraged the Cloud and created an app for internal events. But, digging further into the document, you'll read that the intent could be further reaching. Steady enhancements have been applied since development started over a year ago and Microsoft seems dedicated to continue to improve it. Who knows? We may see this provided as an Azure service soon. Or, at the very least, maybe we'll get to see this app in action next year when Microsoft kicks-off its revamped, consolidated technology event for IT Pros.

Grab the full doc here: Cloud offering provides modern, mobile conference experience

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