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Adobe Revamps Web Conferencing Tool

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

Adobe Connect 8 allows web conferencing across platforms and devices, according to the company

Adobe Systems has announced Adobe Connect 8, a new version of the company’s web conferencing solution.

Adobe officials said Adobe Connect 8 represents a significant update to the company’s web conferencing solution for powering effective and engaging web meetings, online training and webinars.

Arun Anantharaman, vice president and general manager for Adobe Connect, said, “Adobe Connect 8 is a transformative release. It enables organisations to standardise on a single web conferencing platform to support a variety of use cases. Presenters can completely tailor their meeting environments prior to and during meetings, thereby dramatically improving collaboration.”

Multiple devices

Adobe Connect 8 is based on the Adobe Flash Player and enables enterprises and governments to deliver rich experiences across multiple devices, while maintaining easy, reliable meeting entry, Adobe said.

“We’re seeing the adoption of web conferencing as a core collaboration technology for everyday use accelerate rapidly,” said Andy Nilssen, a senior analyst at Wainhouse Research.

Key new features of Adobe Connect 8 include a simplified interface for greater usability, expanded and more flexible collaboration capabilities for sharing ideas more freely, and enhanced audio and video integration for richer multimedia experiences. In addition, Adobe Connect 8 offers a software development kit (SDK) for greater extensibility, a new, optional desktop client based on the Adobe AIR runtime for easier meeting management, and support for a range of mobile devices to extend reach and enhance productivity.

Adobe Connect 8 features a more intuitive user interface that provides meeting hosts, presenters, and participants with even easier access to capabilities; allowing presenters, for example, to quickly and flexibly adjust meeting room layouts in real-time, as needed.

Functionality ‘pods’

There are enhancements to sharing, chat, video, notes, Q&A, whiteboard, and other functionality “pods” to facilitate collaboration. And Adobe has added two-way Universal Voice that allows customers to bridge audio from any conferencing provider into an Adobe Connect room and provide two-way communication between participants on both VoIP and telephone audio.

Adobe also has integrated Adobe Connect1with existing video conferencing systems, enabling meeting hosts to bring live audio and video broadcast streams directly into an Adobe Connect room.

The enhanced collaboration SDK provides support for Adobe Flex, Adobe Flash and Adobe ActionScript 3, which allows developers to create custom pods or integrate Adobe Connect with other systems.

The Adobe Connect Desktop, based on Adobe AIR, lets users set up and manage meetings right from the desktop. The optional application also allows users to download recorded sessions for offline viewing.

And Adobe Connect Mobile enables participants to view meetings on mobile devices. Adobe Connect Mobile works on Apple iPhone and iPad, as well as Google Android and other mobile devices enabled with Adobe Flash technology.

Adobe Connect 8 is expected to be available worldwide on an on-premise basis by the end of November 2010. It is expected to be available on a hosted basis in North America starting in November 2010 (phased rollout), and on a hosted basis in other parts of the world starting in February 2011 (phased rollout). Pricing is determined by solution configuration.