Adobe offers one of the most sophisticated web conferencing tools in the industry, Adobe Connect Pro, so it’s not surprising that they were one of the first vendors to release an app to allow iPhone and iTouch users to participate in a web conference: Adobe Connect Pro Mobile. You probably know that Adobe Connect Pro runs on Flash, and Flash doesn’t display on an iPhone or iTouch. If you’d like to know how Adobe worked around this barrier, read this article.
I held a web conference using Adobe Connect with participants who logged into my session via iPhone users last week. Below is a summary of how Connect works on an iPhone.
- What’s Visible: iPhone users can see the share pod, chat pod, attendee list and camera pod (requires 4G). The share pod and camera pod appear on different screens, while the chat pod and attendee list appear together.
- Share pod: iPhone users can watch your slides, but they cannot see annotation tools such as the pointer or any tools in the white board overlay. Because of this limitation with the white board overlay, it means that mobile participants will not see white board interaction. iPhone users cannot see any flash content in a share pod, such as Captivate or Presenter. When you switch to application sharing mode, mobile participants can see the screens that you share. Keep in mind that their screen is much smaller, but you can let them know that the pinch-zoom feature will work.
- Chat pod: iPhone users can see one chat pod, along with the attendee list. This feature works best if you hold the phone horizontally to make the attendee list and chat pod to appear side by side. Connect allows the host to display multiple chat pods, however, users can only see one chat pod.
- Limitations: iPhone users cannot see poll pods, file share pods, web links pods nor use instant feedback features (raise hand, agree, disagree, etc.).
Mobile web conferencing is still in its infancy, and I expect the tools and the market for these products to grow. It would certainly help for Apple to allow Flash content on Apple devices. Just think how fun mobile web conferencing will be when participants are on tablets, like an iPad!
Since iPhones don’t display Flash, now the heated fight that is boiling over between Adobe who develops Flash and Apple, whose products don’t run flash is another story and all I can say is that I hope the two can learn to play in the sandbox together.