Adobe’s Flash platform has been the delivery vehicle of choice over the past few years for new webinar and webcast products. The advantages are many… It allows quick entry to web meetings without requiring software download and install, it is largely agnostic to the type of web browser being used, and it offers good performance and flexibility for displaying images, video, slide animations, and interactive features within the conference rooms.
Unfortunately, Apple’s decision not to support the Flash Player on iOS devices means that people have been barred from attending many web conferences from their iPhone or iPad. Some Flash-oriented vendors have implemented special versions of their conferencing software specifically for Apple devices, but this means multiple development trees and support requirements.
Today Adobe announced new software designed to let Flash content be streamed to and viewed on iPads and iPhones. The new Flash Media Server 4.5 and Flash Access 3.0 releases will work with Flash Player 11 to support video streaming to the iOS world.
MediaPlatform is the first web event company to take advantage of the new capabilities. In a press release put out concurrently with Adobe’s announcement, MediaPlatform said that its WebCaster software is tested and working on the Apple iPad, taking advantage of HTTP Live Streaming support in Flash Media Server 4.5. The company has closely tied their development to Adobe’s Flash enhancements for the past year and a half, being the first to allow multicast fusion via cloud-based video streaming on a webcast delivery platform.
Hopefully other Flash-based webinar and webcast vendors will follow on in short order and announce their own full support for iPads. It seems inevitable, given the rapid adoption of those devices in the business community. Then the only remaining problem will be dealing with overzealous IT departments that prohibit the use of Flash Player on corporate assets due to security concerns.