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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Adobe Connect: The Swiss Army Knife of Web Communication

As a web communication consultancy, Fig Leaf Software has helped scores of clients communicate on the web.  We have deployed enterprise Content Management Solutions, user-friendly web applications, developed mobile apps and customized Google search implementations—all designed to help our clients communicate to their users on the web.

As one of Adobe’s top Adobe Connect resellers and integrators, Fig Leaf Software has also helped hundreds of clients use Adobe Connect.  Adobe Connect is a powerful web conferencing platform for web meetings, eLearning, and webinars. In helping clients with Adobe Connect, we have learned that there are a lot of different ways people and organizations need to communicate.

  • Instructors use Adobe Connect for virtual classrooms
  • Customer service reps use it for support
  • Marketers use it for informational webinars
  • Salespeople use it for online demos
  • Project managers use it to for status meetings
  • Knowledge workers use it to share ideas
  • Educators use it for distance learning
  • Teleworkers use it as a virtual office
  • Executives use it on mobile devices to attend and host meetings.

These are just a few ways Adobe Connect is being used in every industry and every segment of business from Fortune 500 corporations to small businesses around the world.  Organizations use Adobe Connect as the foundation for communication and training.  Adobe Connect can easily be deployed and used across the enterprise in different ways depending on the department, the employee, the event or the specific training goals.

For these reasons, we have dubbed Adobe Connect the Swiss Army Knife of Web Communications. This is because of the full set of features Adobe Connect has to allow users to communicate in a number of different ways.  Below are the top 12 features clients use Adobe Connect for:
1)      Persistent Meeting Rooms: From the beginning, Adobe Connect has allowed users to create a meeting room once, give it a custom url and RE-USE this meeting room over and over again.  This is ideal for virtual classrooms, regular or ad-hoc meetings.  At Fig Leaf Software, all our project managers and sales use a persistent Adobe Connect meeting room to meet regularly with clients.  This persistent factor, as we call it, makes it easy on all users because the URL is constant every time.
2)      Sharing Rich Content: Inside an Adobe Connect Meeting room, users can share PowerPoint, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, Pre-recorded Video, PDF documents, images, and interactive custom applications.  This flexibility allows different users to use the type of Content they need for THEIR specific use-case.
3)      Live Video:  Using Live Video inside an Adobe Connect Meeting simply personalizes the meeting and brings the host closer to the audience.  For collaborative meetings, users can see each other clearly like a face-to-face meeting.  For Webinars, the audience feels closer to the speaker.  For virtual classroom, the video can be used both ways to foster engagement.
4)      Whiteboard:  Adobe Connect users can make notes and annotations on a blank canvas or on content like PowerPoint or even video.  On mobile devices, like the iPad, users can use their fingers or a stylus to create custom annotations (if you have not lost your stylus, that is).  This allows instructors to visualize an abstract idea in a virtual classroom, gives project managers the ability to map out a complex process in a status meeting, or give users the ability to share ideas visually with each other.
5)      Screen Sharing:  Any user can share their desktop or specific applications with other users.  This is great for software demonstrations, online training and/or online support use.  Adobe Connect even allows users to pause and annotate while screen sharing. THEN, if need be could send that annotated image to the users via email.
6)      Polling Questions:  Webinars, virtual classrooms, whatever the use-case, polling questions can be used to engage and interact with your audience.  Meeting Hosts and Event coordinators can also use Polls to learn who the audience is as well.  Adobe Connect even supports short answer polling questions.
7)      Breakout Rooms:  Instructors that teach virtual classes and use the breakout room feature to allow students to break into virtual groups to collaborate and/or discuss specific topics separately.
8)      VoIP and/or Integrated Audio: Adobe Connect allows users to use mics for VoIP or use a conference bridge that can be integrated and managed inside the meeting room.  This flexibility allows different types of users enable the specific audio format they need.  Informational webinars can use a one-to-many model for audio, while collaborative meetings can enable everyone to talk.
9)      Custom Layouts:  Adobe Connect Meeting Hosts can customize the interface and features they need to use in a Meeting room.  Hosts can easily drag/drop and resize the Pods (Pods are the little windows/features inside a Connect Meeting Room) and/or display specific content on one layout.
10)   File Sharing:  Adobe Connect users can also share files of any kind with each other virtually.  This is great for virtual classrooms where students need to get additional documentation or information from instructors.  Sales and Marketing users can also share product literature with the audience.  Sharing of files is just another way to communicate.
11)   Chat and Q&A: Depending on how a client needs to use Chat within an Adobe Connect Meeting Room, or the specific use-case, hosts can enable all users to chat with each other.  Or, users can use a Q&A chat feature to organize a structured Q&A session.  This often overlooked feature can allow hosts of large webinars to easily manage questions and communication with the audience.
12)   Mobile Access: Users can attend or host a Connect Meeting with their iPad or Droid mobile device, which further enables user attendance and engagement.  For marketers who want to increase attendance to webinars, or companies that have a mobile workforce, the Mobile Access factor of Adobe Connect is truly valuable.

Some of these features are found in other web conferencing solutions, however, with Connect  users can tailor these features when, how and if they need to use it.  Just like a Swiss army knife, some of the features of Connect are not used until they are needed or are used, and mastered, regularly by different types of users.

To learn more about how to use Adobe Connect, please attend one of our online webinars where we go into detail when and how you should use these features:

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