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Adobe Connect 9.3: The Future of Collaboration

August 07, 2014

Since 1982, San Jose-based Adobe (News - Alert) has been producing cutting-edge and innovative products that improve user experience.  The company’s aim today is use digital experience to shape the world by reinventing customer interaction across every screen and digital channel as well as the creation of stunning and powerful images, apps and videos.

Today, Adobe announced the arrival of Adobe Connect 9.3, to be available by fall 2014. The team at Adobe put their heads together to provide a complete customer solution with continued enhancements.  Their focus was on improving workflows by not adding functions, but only including the functions that benefit workflow and making them better. 

The upgrades enhance the functions people use, making them more intuitive, customizable and user-friendly.  With three key uses in mind—webinars, e-learning, Web meetings—the adobe team hit the mark, making a more social, more realistic and more productive experience.  Let’s take a look at the some of the upgrades Adobe made to its solution.

Screen sharing has seen a facelift.  In the Adobe Connect room one of the most common practices is screen sharing—it’s a great way to engage all in the meeting taking place.  Adobe’s new offering introduces a Screen Share Control Panel (invisible to all except the host) offering someone sharing the ability to manage participants, a full size preview of share materials, control the video and audio in the meeting as well as chat, see and respond to any notifications.  People no longer have to ask, “can you see my screen” because the host already knows exactly what he/she is sharing through the preview function—no more disturbing workflow.

Connect 9.3 has greater integration with Microsfot Lync 2013 that affords users with an instant messaging presence, offering avenues for greater collaboration and more productive conferencing.  Previous iterations were integrated with Lync 2010, but not its 2013 counterpart.

Adobe Connect 9.3 also offers guided hints to make learning very user friendly.  It is such a feature rich offering the guided hints help to optimize your experience and improve functionality.  Unlike other software offerings that can be overwhelming and lack ease of use, everything Adobe has done with Connect9.3 is with user experience in mind.      

A function added to improve webinar success for Connect 9.3 is lead qualification.  Many people use Salesforce to manage leads, the new integration allows companies to qualify more leads through webinars and events—with one click.  And, improved email reporting allows for companies to see any data from the meeting necessary for lead generation or analytics.

One key upgrade to the offering is greater social media interaction.  Events are customizable to include Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter and with The Social Stream pod, a conversation from social media can join the meeting—hashtagging included.  Social plugins allow events to be crowd sourced via social media—For example, an events microsite can contain a Facebook “like” button so that event information or even interesting conversation from the webinar can be carried over.   

An exciting innovation for e-learning is Connect’s Life-like Whiteboard.  It’s no secret Adobe has always had amazing drawing tools for mobile apps and desktops; why not integrate more of that into its offerings?  Its virtual whiteboard can be used the same way an actual whiteboard functions, with upgrades allowing a mouse, stylus or finger to write/draw/diagram on the board as well as a new color picker and an easier way to arrange layers.  The writing utensils in the offering are extremely life-like and simulate the experience of writing on a physical whiteboard astonishingly well.  Whether you are in a meeting or a virtual classroom, this whiteboard experience is like no other.

Other additions for e-learning include Adobe’s live virtual training as well as on-demand learning—offering any html or flash-based volume to be run through the white board.

Adobe Connect Mobile 2.3 offers virtually the same functionality of its desktop counterpart. It is the only mobile platform offering true mobile-to-mobile conferencing—no need for anybody to be using desktop version. All conversions of files are done on a server, not the device so there is not any image or file distortion.

Sr. Enablement Manager for Adobe Connect, Alistair Lee, told TMC (News - Alert) “We’re not adding features that don’t relate to how our customers are using the product’s really looking at what our customers are doing today and how can we help them do that better and more efficiently.” 

Adobe is committed to improving workflows and collaboration across multiple landscapes; the more people get to use this new solution, the more they will see the team has cleared the bar.  Only time will tell what other innovations Adobe has to offer, but based on its track record I would keep the bar high.  

Edited by Adam Brandt

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