Two weeks ago, Adobe had its quarterly employee meeting. Because of our large employee base in San Jose, we hosted the all-hands meeting from a nearby auditorium that seats over 1500 people. We also have multiple other sites and countless remote employees, so Acrobat Connect Pro comes in very handy in order to reach these employees. Webcasting our employee meetings makes obvious sense, but it also comes with some challenges. These quarterly meetings often include live software demos, videos, and multiple presenters, all packed into a 1 1/2 hour production that has an audience of more than 5000 people.
Because we are working at a live event outside of our normal conference rooms, we need to work with the production crew that produces the event to get the camera and audio feeds. In order to broadcast these feeds out through Acrobat Connect, we set up a desktop PC backstage with a video/audio capture card. This works great to capture the live production cameras along with the PA audio. During the employee meetings, there are also many great live demos of up and coming products. To capture these, we simply have the live demo team login into the Acrobat Connect Meeting Room, and then share their desktop before their demo.
Because there are multiple agenda items and presenters, we create separate layouts for each agenda item, so we can stay organized and also follow the flow of the event. This works well, especially when we are switching from a layout that features a flash video to a layout that features a presenter going over some slides. No need to scramble when you can customize all of the layouts ahead of time with their own names and in the order of the agenda. After all the layouts are setup, we upload all the finished slides and converted videos into the content library for easy access.
As for the demos, we used the “screen sharing in prepare mode” trick I wrote about a few entries ago. This helps the event run flawlessly, because the last thing on a live demo presenter’s mind is to share the screen over Acrobat Connect when you are in front of more than 1500 people!
In addition to the production of the show, the way the event and meeting room is setup is equally important. Because this is a confidential employee meeting, security over Acrobat Connect is crucial. To address the need for security, we use the event module to invite our remote employees who need to view the event over Acrobat Connect. This way, we won’t have to worry about accepting any unregistered guests. If they weren’t invited, they won’t be let in to the meeting room. It is also very easy to add attendees on the fly using the enterprise manager. All they need is the link and their own personal login, so I don’t need to worry about being a gate-keeper, Acrobat Connect Pro does it for me.
With any large event, there are always some surprises involved. This particular meeting had a presenter change at the last minute and a live demo from a remote site. Easy enough. We just changed the name of the new presenter’s layout, and changed the title slide and reloaded it into the content library. For the remote demo presenter, we had him login to the meeting room and share his desktop. We had our PC send the VGA signal to the production crew so they could broadcast the Acrobat Connect Meeting to the live audience over the projector screens and used the Full screen toggle for a crisp, live demo experience. The remote demonstration looked great on the big screen in front of more than 1500 people!
A live broadcast of an employee meeting is very valuable, but even more valuable is the archive that we capture. Because we use multiple layouts, the archive can be divided into a table of contents, and easily navigated for later viewing. Also, we can set access permissions for these archives, so employees are required to login to Acrobat Connect Pro in order to view them. If we need to take the archive down at any time, we can just take away all the viewing permissions for that particular piece of content.
In summary, it’s easy to broadcast these large events using Acrobat Connect Pro. All you need is a PC with an internet connection and an A/V capture card, some content, and an A/V feed from the PA system or a production crew. Below is a screenshot from our last employee meeting.