Adobe Connect 8 streamlines online conferencing

Adobe Connect 8 adds a variety of features and functions aimed at making online meetings more intuitive and productive.

Have you ever participated in an online meeting or video conference where you've logged in at the correct time -- or ten minutes early as directed by the meeting invite -- and then sat through thirty minutes or more of frustration and troubleshooting as the meeting leader tries to get everyone connected and get the presentation working right? Adobe introduces a variety of new features and capabilities in Adobe Connect 8 designed to make the entire online meeting process smoother and more intuitive.

If you have ever participated in an online meeting, the scenario described above is probably a familiar one. It is not uncommon for a 15 or 30 minute meeting to take an hour or more as the technical glitches and hurdles are worked out.

Adobe has worked to make the Adobe Connect 8 interface streamlined and intuitive. The drag-and-drop interface lets the meeting leader grant meeting attendees video, audio, or on-screen sharing capabilities, or shift attendee roles on the fly while the meeting is in progress. The more flexible the platform is, the more productive the meeting can be -- enabling all participants to actively contribute and collaborate rather than simply watching and listening.

Adobe Connect 8 also includes a robust platform for whiteboarding and taking notes during an online meeting. Notes include rich formatting such as bold, italics, underlined, and bulleted text. Adobe Connect 8 also allows enhanced whiteboard features to mark up Microsoft PowerPoint slides, PNG or JPG images, PDF documents, or even streaming video content.

Two of the best elements of Adobe Connect 8, though, are the desktop client, and the cross-platform capabilities. The Adobe Connect Desktop is a separate application from the Adobe Connect meeting client software. It is built on Adobe AIR, and it can enhance the performance and efficiency of Adobe Connect while in meetings. The Adobe Connect Desktop also enables searching and playback of archived meetings online or offline.

Adobe Connect 8 supports Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Citrix XenApp6, and other operating system environments. Virtually any device that can run Adobe Flash Player can engage with Adobe Connect meetings. For the Apple iPhone and iPad mobile devices that conspicuously lack Adobe Flash capabilities, Adobe has developed the Adobe Connect Mobile client.

Adobe Connect 8 faces formidable rivals. Cisco Webex, Microsoft Live Meeting, and Citrix GoToMeeting are all established players in the online collaboration market, and there are a plethora of smaller players as well. It's a tough market, but the features and functions of Adobe Connect 8 make a compelling case for taking a closer look at what Adobe is bringing to the table before selecting an online meeting platform.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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