Thursday, August 16, 2007

The "Start Meeting" button

Don't overlook the "Start Meeting" button in the Favorites panel in Bridge CS3, or the File > Start Meeting command in Acrobat 8. Clicking this button or choosing this command launches Acrobat Connect. Acrobat Connect is a subscription service from Adobe for "virtual" collaboration and online meetings. Here is how it works:

1. You sign up for an Acrobat Connect account with Adobe. Service starts at $39/month, payable monthly with no long-term contract necessary. For this amount, you can hold an unlimited number of meetings per month with up to 14 other people  in each meeting. Each meeting may have different groups of attendees.

2. Once you are signed up, to hold a "meeting", choose Start Meeting in Bridge or Acrobat, and Acrobat Connect is launched. You are asked for the email address of the people you want to invite to the meeting. An email is automatically sent to each person, inviting them to the meeting and giving them a URL to click as well as dialing details for the phone conference (audio) portion of the meeting.

3. When the attendee clicks on the URL, the Flash Player is started on their system, and they are taken directly into the "meeting".

4. Once everyone is assembled for the meeting, they are able to see either your entire screen, just one application, or just a single window, depending on your preference. You can also give attendees control of your cursor, if you desired.

This is a fantastic way to collaborate "virtually", without everyone being in the same location. It blows simple phone conferencing away whenever you need to collaborate visually. I use this to deliver small group remote training sessions to clients, for individual technical support, and to collaborate with clients on design and layout issues.

Note that each attendee only has to have the Flash Player installed. It doesn't matter what operating system, browser version or Acrobat version they have installed.

1 comment:

Michael Fitzpatrick said...

Great post about the "Start Meeting" button. I wanted to mention that this functionality also works for Acrobat Connect Professional, which extends the Acrobat Connect capabilities to provide more workgroup-related features such as shared content, meetings, and groups.

Additionally, we just launched a beta of a free desktop application called MeetingPulse, which provides additional integration with Acrobat Connect meetings. You can download the app from:

http://labs.connectsolutions.com

The app is based on Adobe AIR, and works on both Windows and Macintosh.

Thanks again for calling out this great feature in CS3.