You'll see a serious bent toward Lync/Skype related activities because that is the area I'll be focused on and have the most connections to... but regardless of what discipline your event is focused on you can leave feedback or reach me on twitter if you want to have your event or contest listed. I'll also try to update this while at the conference as well in case there are any last minute things I come across. So check back often
The 8th Annual UC Roundtable at Microsoft Ignite has been announced. Can't say it is a "Party", but get enough of the #ucoms crowd in a room together and things are never boring. Billed as a free-flowing discussion about issues, questions, and experiences related to Exchange, Office 365, and Lync (Skype for Business) Server. Pretty much anyone that works with the above technologies is welcome to RSVP. No date, time, or location has been set yet. Click the link for more details.
There is an MCT day on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 12:30 to 9:30 pm for MCTs and MCT Alumni will be full of informative round tables, presentations and will culminate with a party in the evening. Registration to Ignite is not required to attend, but you do have to hold or have held an MCT certification. via @vladcatrinescu
Official Microsoft Ignite Welcome Reception by Microsoft in the expo hall. 6:15pm - 8:15pm
Event Zero has a Unified Communications professionals party again this year (sponsored by UC Architects last year). Last year it was like the who's who of the Lync #ucoms world and we could all just mingle and chat. No loud music... no flashing lights... plenty of drinks.... and fun party games. It was by far my favorite party. The party will be held Monday the 4th of May, starting at 9:00PM (after the Microsoft welcome reception). Word is Ken Lasko will be MC this year. I think this might be the entire reason they hired him...
SPR Consulting is hosting a complimentary evening of appetizers, cocktails, and big thinkers starting at 7pm on Monday. Will be held on the 99th floor of Willis Tower where you’ll get an opportunity to network with like-minds, gain insight from our partners at their “ask the expert” cocktail tables, and take in wonderful views of the city. Each guest will receive a pass to stand 1,353 feet in the air on The Ledge. via @vladcatrinescu
Worlds Largest SharePint: And the legendary SharePint tradition will continue at Ignite with what no doubt will be the biggest SharePint ever. Virgin Hotel Chicago Manor Room 7:00 P.M (If you're a SharePoint person, do not miss this one) via @vladcatrinescu
Ignite Rocks is the reborn Jam Sessions from TechEd. All Ignite attendees are invited and if you’re a musician or a singer or just enjoy good music performed by your fellow attendees, stop by the House of Blues starting at 9 PM Monday night.
scheduledMaintenance party by eNow had the coolest venue last year at the GhostBar in Las Vegas. I had some great conversations with people that I don't necessarily run into in my normal circle of friends. Being we have multiple disciplines of products going to this Ignite event... I expect this will be one that will have lots of new people for you to get to know. The party this year is at Vertigo Sky Lounge - 2 West Erie St and is on Tuesday May 5th. Get your request in early... and it doesn't hurt to impress @SchdMaintenance
Microsoft Learning is doing an MCP Party on Tuesday from 7-10PM at The Museum of Science and Industry. There is no details on any registration (details in April), but at some point I imagine you'll need to prove you are an MCP, which is not hard to obtain.
AvePoint is throwing a RED party at the Chicago Union Station. This one is geared toward SharePoint attendees they have things you need to do to get VIP access otherwise you might have to beg for a ticket at their booth. From the pictures on the page this party looks pretty epic.
Metalogix Best of Breed Party at the House of Blues on Tuesday at 9pm! Best of Breed Awards honor the efforts of individuals or teams who have significantly increased the value of SharePoint, Office 365 and hybrid solutions in their organization, advancing collaboration, productivity, and security through best practices and innovation. Get the details here.
Bootlegger's Bash party by Thycotic has my interest piqued sufficiently. I am a sucker for good jazz (played bari sax in High School) and they plan to have specially crafted vintage cocktails. Sounds like a great place to mingle and meet new people to me. The party is on May 6th from 7pm to 11pm at 19 East 21st Street.
Microsoft Ignite Celebration is on Thursday May 7th and everyone is already invited. Microsoft always puts together a top notch party for its attendees... last years Lync Conference party was at Hakkassan in Las Vegas... some pictures are on a my conference report. If you have someone joining you that isn't an attendee you can purchase a companion pass just for the party.
Several vendors and organizations (AudioCodes, Jabra, Intelepeer, Lync Users Group, Pexip, and ScanSource so far) are co-sponsoring a party at The Field Museum Tuesday evening. This party will be by invitation only and you will need to talk with your favorite person at one of the sponsoring vendors or wait for the "Request an Invitation and RSVP" link when it is available and posted here. Last year this was the "Vintage Vegas Nights" party and was a very popular event. When so many vendors and organizations pool their money you know a good time will be had by all.
Contests and Giveaways
In general, you should make sure you bring a decent amount of business cards. The large majority of contests and giveaways will collect those as a way to enter. It's also highly likely we will see some contests via twitter. So signing up and getting your account established before the conference is a good idea. It is also a great way to keep tabs on what is happening at Microsoft Ignite. You can search hashtag #MSIgnite to see the majority of what is going on. If you want to follow me, you can find me here: @ucomsgeek I will be doing a lot of tweeting during the event and the #ucoms #skype4b crowd I hang out with is never boring
The Contests and Giveaways
GSX is giving away a Microsoft Band. To enter the contest fill out the form on this page. You can also follow @GSX_Solutions to see some comics featuring #RobotUser every week up until the conference.
conceptSearching is giving away a free conference pass to Ignite. All you have to do is take a survey on how you use SharePoint, Office365, or OneDrive for Business and any challenges. Contest ends March 31st...
Looks like The UC Architects are going to have another giveaway this year. In the past there has been A LOT of prizes in this giveaway. I'll update with more information as I find it. But typically you just need to get your business card to a guy wearing a UC Architects t-shirt. While you are waiting for ignite... go listen to some of their podcasts. They are awesome for anyone that works with Lync, Exchange, O365 or practically anything else connected to the Microsoft universe.
Australians... here is your chance to go to Microsoft Ignite. Fancy joining the world’s brightest minds at Microsoft’s Ignite conference to talk cloud infrastructure, management, productivity, big data, coding and more? Sign up to the Microsoft Virtual Academy today and you could be in with a chance to win a trip there. This phenomenal prize includes return flights, accommodation, a full conference pass plus spending money.