Adobe Adds Web Conferencing

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Adobe released Acrobat 8, with web conferencing, a bonus gained from its acquisition of Macromedia. The product upgrade will launch a hosted service called Acrobat Connect, which allows individuals to click on a button in a PDF file to start a Web conference. This is only the first in a long line of collaborative-oriented features that will start to appear in Adobe products. In truth, Connect is only Maccromedia’s Breeze in a new wrapper. “The motion forward is around personal and project spaces where people can communicate around certain issues and topics,” said Ricky Liversidge, a product marketing manager at Adobe. “It’s like having my personal meeting room–a URL where you go forward and store documents.” A person can use Connect to let someone else view a document or a person’s entire desktop through a Web browser, much in the same way that ‘go to my PC works’, but it also lets the person start an instant message, send an invitation via e-mail, use chat, whiteboarding, video and audio conferencing. The ability to connect over the phone could be an invaluable tool, but we have yet to see if Adobe has worked out the international logistics of this feature. “Unlike other existing Web conferencing solutions, Acrobat Connect enables users to choose a simple and easy-to-remember Web address for their meeting room, with unlimited usage for up to 15 participants,” Slater said. The service will cost individuals a modest $39 a month, or $395 a year and was released January 16, 2006. Corporate clients will have their own on-premise edition. Advanced web conferencing and collaboration is a scalable solution that offers extensive meeting management ability, including a powerful reporting system. The online meetings and events platform will host up to 2,500 participants. time with interactive multimedia, integrated telephony, and Voice over Internet Protocol. Acrobat Connect Professional includes customizable meeting. Users can store and share content across meeting rooms and easily record meetings for later viewing. Acrobat Connect Professional can be deployed in either an on-premise, firewall configured, or through Adobe’s hosted service. This tool will offer far reaching benefits from personal web gatherings to online course conferencing, to the typical corporate practices. The tools will enable collaboration between individuals who are working on the same project, while keeping the project on a secured server. This is paramount for the publishing and programming industries who need to protect the copyright of their work. There is no ‘instant’ purchase option, unless you want to buy monthly. Conferencing is an individualistic service. “Casual web conferencing users have different needs than intensive users,” said Jeffrey Mann, Research Vice President for Gartner, Inc. “Lightweight collaboration requires easy-to-use tools in order to spread throughout an organization. Users participating in processes which require intensive use of collaborative functionality need more capabilities. Catering for both use cases will increase flexibility and enable richer interactions.” This is one more step toward opening up the office, and allowing a more diversified workplace. The blackboard platform style of online courses can be replaced by this ‘live’ program that will damatically reduce the training time needed in corporations and reduce the need for conferences and weekend workshops, saving the corporate world billions. The adobe corporation is offering a free seminar and trial from their website. While breeze is still offered, Adobe has gone to great lengths to convince businesses and training institutes to switch to Adobe Connect.

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