Adobe Systems beefed up its Connect web conferencing system Monday primarily by making it easier to set up and use. The release, Connect 8, is based on the company’s Flash Player software.
A new intuitive user interface, for instance, gives meeting participants, hosts and presenters easy access to the system, and a new two-way Universal Voice capability means users can bridge audio among participants while providing two-way communication.
Meeting hosts can bring live audio and video broadcast streams directly into an Adobe Connect room through the integration of the system with existing videoconferencing systems. A "personal telepresence" plug-in developed by Vidyo will let users launch a telepresence-quality Vidyo conference within an Adobe Connect session. Vidyo's offerings have been popular because of the company's leading-edge use of the new H.264 standard for video compression and other video enhancements. Adobe is hoping that a new SDK will spur developers to create custom software for Adobe Connect.
"Adobe Connect 8 is a transformative release," said Arun Anantharaman, vice president and general manager of Adobe Connect, in a statement. "It enables organizations to standardize 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. In addition, the product is highly extensible, enabling organizations to leverage third-party pods, as well as integrate with existing systems."
Connect 8 also allows users to download sessions for offline viewing in a feature based on Adobe AIR, which also permits users to establish and manage meetings from their desktops. And, in a feature that beards the Apple lion in his den, Adobe Connect Mobile operates on Apple iPhones and iPads. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has criticized Adobe Flash technology. The Flash product also operates on Google Android phone platforms.