Adobe Systems Inc. announced Tuesday, Nov. 3, a new version of its Web-conferencing solution, Connect Pro 7.5. The update integrates with any audio-conferencing provider, and has the capacity to include as many as 80,000 participants via a Web browser, among other improvements.
Built upon Adobe Flash, Connect Pro is used by various federal, state and local government agencies, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Miami-Dade Police Department. A lot of the improvements were made with government users in mind, said Bobby Caudill, a solutions architect for the company.
"The early days [of this product] were really focused around our government customers, and, in particular, it got most of its use early on through the military and Department of Defense because of its capability to deploy anyplace, anytime. Using it as a means to save lives on the battlefield was a major driver for us."
Caudill said the new version's ability to host thousands of people is a cost-effective solution for cost-conscious governments that want to host public meetings or internal communications.
"What has been more prevalent to date in the state and local environment has been leveraging Connect as a training tool," Caudill said. "It's been used to train police departments and first responders on how to deal with terrorist threats, to be able to collaborate and coordinate between organizations to make sure they're responding properly."
But with the federal government's interest in transparency and public participation, Caudill said his company is seeing more state and local agencies showing interest in using such Web-conferencing tools for citizen-facing functions, like public meetings.
Connect Pro version 7.5 also includes native support for sharing of PDFs, administrative control for desktop sharing, more integration with Adobe Acrobat, and a new "managed service" option that's a hybrid of the product's existing on-premise and hosted implementation models.
Adobe officials also said they're also working on a mobile client that will make the product functional on mobile devices, including iPhones. The application could be helpful for state and local government employees during a pandemic event, or for everyday use by caseworkers who travel in the field, Caudill said.