Adobe Connect 9.2 – continuing to improve the meeting experience

With a heavy emphasis on creating a better web conferencing experience for participants, Adobe Connect 9.2 introduces a new mode to display video conferencing.

The new “Filmstrip” mode allows individual users to focus on the main speaker of the session while still being able to see everyone else who is sharing their webcam feeds – consisting of a main video and strip video. A big benefit for this new mode is it reduces bandwidth and computing requirements for participants. Continue reading

Adobe Connect 9.1 – better control over your audio conferencing

Adobe Connect released over 20 new features in their latest version, 9.1. The majority of these new features focus on enhancing the users’ ability to better manage audio conferencing from within Connect, since technically the audio is provided from Adobe partners like Intercall, PGi, and MeetingOne.

In essence: they strive for a tight integration with audio conferencing services. However, compared to other vendors who have phone conferences seamlessly built into their online meeting platform (like Citrix), this won’t give them a competitive edge, but at most help them to make up leeway. Continue reading

HD video and our top-ranking online meeting solutions

Citrix, Adobe and Cisco: Three of the biggest online meeting solutions vendors have now integrated video functionality into their solutions. We checked them out and here is what we found:

All three tools offer not only video but rather HD video. And yes, the quality is very impressive. Citrix GoToMeeting limits the number of webcam participants to 6 unlike Cisco WebEx which allows up to 500 participants or Adobe Connect 8 where you have no restrictions at all. But as always bigger isn’t necessarily better. One downside of a video conference with let us say 20 participants is that you will need a lot of bandwidth to really get that HD quality. And with every new participant that joins the webcams on display just get smaller and smaller. Now we haven’t tried it with 20 participants ourselves but it probably is hard to see who is actually speaking.
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Adobe Connect 8 makes it to the top 5 of web conferencing solutions

There is a lot happening on the online meeting market, which is now noticeable in our ranking! There is quite some commotion among the top 5. With Netviewer removed and vacating rank 2, Adobe has launched a new version and itself to rank 2.

The keyword that summarizes Adobe Connect 8 best is complexity. Adobe masters this by providing a large amount of features which can be easily arranged on the user interface, which itself can be adapted for every meeting.

Other improvements are the handling of meetings directly from the desktop client (needs to be installed) and the enhancement of the invitation functionality. The invitation process can now easily be integrated into Outlook or Lotus Notes.

Before using the online meeting solution the meeting host needs to make a trade-off decision between two basic options:
1) Install a couple of plugins and handle everything from the desktop;
2) Handle meetings with the online portal, which is a bit more complicated.

Altogether Adobe Connect 8 offers many positive new features and has become a true allrounder that can be used in any web conferencing scenario. Read all the details on the solution here.

Alternative web conferencing solutions to Dimdim

With the acquisition of Dimdim and the termination of services by March 15, Salesforce.com pushes users to make a quick decision about which tool to select as a replacement for future web conferences.

When looking for a substitution you have to ask yourself which features of an online meeting solution are most important to you. We compared Dimdim to all its competitors we listed in our ranking taking into account the following three criteria users might look for:

- range of functionalities,
- similar user interface,
- browser based vs. desktop based.

Especially the last criterion is interesting in this case. Dimdim allowed you to access your meeting through your browser and upload data into a virtual room to share it with others. But sharing your entire desktop was also possible and only required the download and installation of an additional app.

So if you prefer the browser-based approach, the tools that are the closest to what Dimdim offered are Adobe Connect 8, Fuze Meeting, or spreed.com. If you prefer the desktop-based model, which we personally do, we suggest you have a look at the top 5 tools in our comparison.

Of course, users will not be able to get an identical tool and take over where they left off. So why not use this as an opportunity to perhaps select a completely different service.

And we’re not necessarily talking about higher cost as a given, although quality does have its price and free solutions seem to be struggling on the market as Dimdim and Yugma have impressively demonstrated. All pros and cons of the different online collaboration solutions available are included on our site.

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro ranks number 7

With Acrobat Connect Pro, Adobe offers a web conferencing solution that does not need to fear comparison with big players such as GoToMeeting or WebEx Meeting Center. The overall handling of this software is easy and intuitive. The drawback is that essential features, e.g. transferal of mouse or keyboard control during meetings, are not included. Without these features Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro only ranks number 7.

If you want to check out Adobe’s online collaboration tools you can start out with the free Adobe Connect Now.