(This entry is authored by Ruchi Kumar, a graduate student at the School of Information at UC Berkeley, working as a business systems analyst here at Adobe for a summer internship.)
So who does the Acrobat.com services benefit? One possible scenario is for students at grad schools (like me!). Many courses are project oriented with typical team sizes of 3-4 people. This brings up the scheduling issue – with everyone having their own busy schedules and priorities, it gets difficult to setup a time and space where all can physically meet. In the past, we were forced to juggle with a wide range of collaboration tools to solve these concerns.
Previous semester, for one of my school projects, my team decided to use Google Docs to collaborate on the project reports and to review it in real time. We also had to conduct several meetings using IM and phone. During these meetings, across the several documents we had, trying to get everyone looking over the exact same thing in the same document was quite a task! Further, for keeping track of different versions of the word document and the powerpoints, we created a wiki (pbwiki). All of this was still okay, but it was scattered over different places. The worst problem was when we had the content ready but had to spend hours formatting it all over again to make the camera-ready copy. As you know, Google Docs doesn’t take too well to printing its documents – one loses the formatting.
Now, with the Acrobat.com suite, the usage scenario is much simpler. Buzzword – an online word processor, allows us to write together and have it print exactly as it shows on the browser. One can add comments inline and drag and drop images to precise spots in the document! ConnectNow – a virtual meeting tool, allows us to conduct impromptu meetings and have synchronous VOIP/telephonic conversations. Screen sharing helps in maintaining reference to the context while video chat allows for an implicit transfer of more contextual cues. Share enables document sharing using URLs, thereby eliminating the numerous back and forth emails. No more scattered information as all of these services are accessible from one seamless account id!
Having now seen the Acrobat.com team from the inside, I’m further excited about the latest developments here. Having had sneak previews into some of the tools in the pipeline, I am looking forward to their release and integration into the acrobat.com suite! These set of tools together have a strong potential to facilitate the way we students work together while collaborating on school projects.