White Paper, "The Global Conference Is Real: The Success of the PDC10 Player and Application", Now Available

A new white paper, “The Global Conference is Real:  The Success of the PDC10 Player and Application”, is now available for download.  This white paper outlines how Microsoft transformed its Professional Developer Conference (PDC) into an unprecedented virtual conference built on the Windows Azure platform to engage a record number of virtual attendees and deliver a compelling and engaging web experience. 

PDC is a developer-focused Microsoft event that is attended by 5,000 to 7,000 developers, mostly from the United States. Thousands more developers would like to attend this event in person, but they face the obstacle of high travel costs, particularly in a difficult economy. For PDC10, Microsoft decided to address these concerns by taking the conference to the Internet.

While an onsite conference limited to a 1,000 attendees took place in 2010, the focus was on the online conference. This online setup allowed developers from all over the world to attend the conference for the price of an Internet connection. Beyond providing traditional linear video that replicated a traditional conference experience, Microsoft delivered a virtual conference built on multiple Microsoft technologies, including the Windows Azure platform, to enrich and surpass that experience with:

  • High-quality integration of multiple high-definition video streams, content streams, and parallel video tracks
  • Multiple simultaneous audio translations from English into French, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese, plus live closed-captioning in English
  • Unprecedented online interaction via an integrated Twitter client, live global question and answer, real-time polling, and dynamic scheduling
  • The ability for anyone, anywhere to access conference content anonymously, and to interact with that content in real time

The results were impressive:

  • In contrast to the 5,000 to 7,000 attendees of the traditional Microsoft developer conference, PDC10 attracted more than 100,000 developers and 300,000 individual video views during its two-day span. Throughout the month of November 2010, viewers requested archived and on-demand content more than 338 million times.
  • Audiences visited the site from more than 150 countries over the two-day conference period. About 10 percent of the online audience used the simultaneous-translation feature, further demonstrating the success of the solution in extending the PDC’s reach to non-native English speakers.
  • The solution supported more than 5,000 concurrent connections with an average response time to requests of less than one-tenth of a second (0.07 seconds).
  • Attendees viewed more than 500,000 hours of conference content and the average video satisfaction rating for PDC content was 3.75 out of 4 (where 4 was “very satisfied”), and the average value rating was 3.9 out of 5 (where 5 was extremely valuable).

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