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Adobe Connect 8 Improves Accessibility, Expands Collaborative Tools

Adobe this week launched Connect 8, an update to the company's Web conferencing tool designed for online teaching, group collaboration, and remote meetings and presentations.

Adobe Connect is an interactive conferencing and collaboration tool available as both a hosted and on-premises solution. Running on Adobe's Flash platform, Connect is designed for wide compatibility and integrates with several major learning management systems, including Moodle, Blackboard Academic Suite/VIsta/Learn, Angel LMS, and Sakai.

Version 8 has gained several enhancements over the previous generation, including completely overhauled accessibility features, with access to all interface elements via keyboard commands (including several hot keys for commonly accessed features), as well as compatibility with JAWS and Window‐Eyes. It also offers a streamlined UI and an optional desktop client (delivered as an AIR app).

Other new features include:

  • Enhanced chat, including separate tabs for private and group discussions and customizable elements, such as color and text size;
  • New formatting capabilities for notes, as well as support for exporting to RTF;
  • Improved whiteboarding with new custom shapes and support for using the whiteboard as an overlay on documents;
  • Enhanced extensibility via a new SDK with more than 100 APIs, as well as support for Flex, Flash, and ActionScript 3;
  • Integration with existing SIP-compliant videoconferencing systems, including those from Tandberg;
  • Mobile support for Android- and iOS-based devices; and
  • Improved security with enhanced access control (and additional controls over desktop and application sharing) and password-protected rooms, among other new security features.

Adobe Connect 8 is available now through Adobe's volume licensing programs via annual subscriptions (hosted) or perpetual licenses with annual fees (for on-premises and managed services editions). Further information about Connect 8 can be found here. A free trial can be found here.

In related news, telepresence developer Vidyo said it's planning to support Connect 8 via a plugin developed using the Adobe Connect 8 Collaboration Builder SDK. The plugin will provide support for launching Vidyo-powered conferences directly within an Adobe Connect session. Further information can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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