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Adobe Connect (formerly known as Acrobat Connect) is a very easy to use and intuitive web conferencing application. Adobe is renowned for producing high quality, industry standard software and Adobe Connect is no exception. The standard version will be enough for most people but if you opt for the professional version, a whole host of extra features are available to make web conferencing more dynamic and interesting.
Even with the most standard version of Adobe Connect, an array of useful features is provided which make setting up an online meeting very easy. The main function of the application is to allow you to host an online conference with multiple participants viewing your desktop and communicating simultaneously. The software makes it easy to choose whether to share your whole desktop with the meeting or just one application - ideal if you want to present in PowerPoint for example. It is also possible for your guests to view the application you are sharing in full screen while you do something else on the desktop.
Participants in the meeting communicate using the teleconferencing facility that is provided with a subscription to Adobe Connect. To use it you simply start a meeting and share the meeting ID and phone number with your attendees. They can then call the number from any telephone to instantly join in the meeting. This service itself is free, but long distance call charges will likely apply to the call. It would have been nice to include VOIP support, but the teleconferencing service is more reliable than an internet based call. As an extra visual communication aid Adobe Connect provides a whiteboard facility that allows you and your guests to annotate the screen.
As you would expect Adobe Connect integrates with other Adobe products and even some Microsoft ones. If you have Adobe Reader or Acrobat it is easy to start a meeting from within the application in just one click. The same goes for most of the Microsoft Office products like Word and Excel. You then just have to share a web address with the people who you want to invite to the meeting. Unlike many web conferencing tools, the address of your meeting room can be made permanent so that you don't have to give out a new address for each new meeting. This can come in really handy and means you can even put the address on your business card.
Security and reliability are both important to Adobe Connect. All meeting communications are encrypted using SSL technology and it is possible to apply a password to any meeting. The application also proved to be very reliable during our tests and didn't cause any problems even when testing the cross platform PC to Mac functionality. Not all web conferencing tools support the Mac OS so this could be a deal clincher if you are a Mac user.
Adobe Connect is a very good web conferencing application and is fast gaining widespread popularity. While not quite yet the industry standard like other Adobe products, it is well on its way and deserves to be on your shortlist of web conferencing solutions. The Professional version is even better and provides much more functionality than we have time to talk about here. Adobe Connect comes highly recommended by No1Reviews.com.
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