Microsoft sneaked a notice onto the iammec.com site today to reveal that the next Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) will be held in April 2014. The announcement is a “teaser” similar to the way that the last MEC was revealed, with little other detail such as the exact dates or the location being provided. The intention is to inform people that the event is coming so that they can incorporate MEC into travel and training plans for 2014.
Scheduling MEC some nineteen months after the previous event might seem strange. However, it’s in line with the declaration that “the next MEC will be when we have something new to say” (or words to that effect) made in Orlando last September. Can we therefore conclude that by April 2014 something significant will happen in the Exchange world? Well, perhaps. Maybe. You never know.
What else can we say about the MEC announcement? The location perhaps? Well, I doubt that MEC will be run in Orlando, simply because so many events are held there and because Microsoft has a lot more flexibility in where they run an event the size of MEC (2,000 to 3,000 attendees including staff) than they do with the uber-conferences such as TechEd. San Francisco would be nice. Seattle would be awful (too much rain, just like Ireland). We’ll see.
Letting people know about the event well in advance is a good thing but the profusion of application-centric conferences makes you wonder whether the days of TechEd are coming to an end. Maybe it is just too big and attempts to cover too much ground and focused events such as the SharePoint conference, Lync conference, and MEC are the way forward. On the other hand, so many dependencies exist between these products without even considering other influences on the ecosystem like the Windows operating system that you can see a role for the larger, more encompassing events. Whether sufficient added value exists to warrant going to MEC in April 2014 and TechEd two months later is an interesting debate.
For now enough information exists to allow interested parties to put a note in their calendar and to consider whether they want to attend MEC. Expect more notes from the MEC organizers over the coming months to reveal more information. Truly a case of “watch this spot”.
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