A few interesting news items came up today in the world of web conferencing. As always, full press releases and relevant articles are available on www.WebinarNews.info.
My first item is most relevant for what it does NOT signify. I saw a press release that Global Crossing has acquired Genesis Networks. For a moment, I thought this was a major consolidation story in the webinar industry. Then I settled down and realized that the web conferencing product is spelled “Genesys” and is already owned by InterCall. So stand down from alert. This acquisition is all about video services for a full range of broadcast applications – not just web conferencing (although the new capabilities won’t hurt Global Crossing as video becomes more important in webcasts and hybrid local/remote events).
The second item comes to us thanks to Curtiss Grymala, writing about a change in Adobe’s service terms that has not hit the official wires yet. Curtiss has a free ConnectNow account from Adobe, allowing three people to meet in the Adobe Connect conferencing service. He received a note from Adobe that as of November 4, the free service will allow only two people in a meeting room, not three. This affects all current account holders. Tough luck if you had already scheduled a meeting for the end of the week with two business partners or colleagues.
The official news from Adobe today is the announcement of Adobe Connect 8, the next major release of their full-featured large-audience webinar product. Availability will be on a staggered schedule for hosted and premise-installed accounts, starting in November for North American customers and February for the rest of the world.
Christopher Dawson used a ZDNet blog to write up a rather breathless love poem to the new release. I have also worked with the pre-release version and would temper my enthusiasm with some practical details that Christopher glosses over. I’ve provided feedback to Adobe and I know they are still working on last-minute refinements. A few things I didn’t like are already fixed, and there may be more changes still to come. So I will withhold my commentary until General Availability of the final release.
I’m not giving anything away, however, when I tell you that the cosmetics of the interface are significantly different from previous versions. You can see screen shot examples in the formal Adobe press release and in Christopher’s article. The general look has changed from smooth, rounded, and flowing to sharp rectangular divisions between content areas.
And finally, I’ll just remind you that www.WebinarDowntime.com continues to be available as a reporting tool and resource to track hosted web conferencing service interruptions. In less than two weeks since making it available, we have four reports of system access problems, split among Adobe, Citrix, and Microsoft. Interesting! If you happen to get hit with product downtime, make sure to report it so we can build up a database of reliability.
And that’s the news!