Posts tagged "Cloud Computing"

Adobe Unveils Next Generation Acrobat XI with New Cloud Services

Powerful New PDF Solution Addresses Productivity Gap Across Devices and Platforms

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today unveiled Adobe® Acrobat® XI software with cloud services, a powerful new solution that rises to today’s complex document challenges. The industry standard for PDF software will now feature complete PDF editing and export to Microsoft PowerPoint; touch-friendly capabilities on tablets; and newly integrated cloud services, including sophisticated Web contracting with Adobe EchoSign® and forms creation, data collection and analysis with Adobe FormsCentral. Acrobat XI additionally supports IT departments with seamless Microsoft Office and SharePoint integration, easy deployment, applications virtualization and robust application security to help provide a low cost of ownership and sound return on investment.

“Acrobat XI now makes it even easier and faster to create PDF forms and to automatically distribute and collect information with new online forms services available within Acrobat XI.”

Products included in this release are: Acrobat XI Pro, Acrobat XI Standard, Adobe Reader® XI and newly integrated document services, Adobe FormsCentral and Adobe EchoSign.

“The compounding complexity of work has never been more pressing. As the number of mobile devices and the use of cloud services surge, information workers must be empowered to work more effectively with documents anywhere on any device,” said Melissa Webster, program vice president, IDC. “They need a solution that enables them to collaborate with others inside and outside the firewall while at the same time meeting IT and organizational requirements for streamlined management, application security, and secure delivery of information – all with a high ROI.”

The mounting productivity inefficiencies and cost of document-based challenges are highlighted in a recent global IDC white paper. A typical company with 1,000 employees has a productivity cost of US$15.9 million annually, the white paper calls out, and addressing these inefficiencies would be tantamount to hiring an additional 213 people.

With Adobe Acrobat XI, new and improved features and functionality for business professionals now include:

  • Edit PDF files, modify paragraphs, images, and objects by simply clicking and dragging using the new, intuitive Edit Text and Images tool. Arrange and visually merge select content and multiple documents into one organized PDF file, while retaining source file integrity.
  • Expedite document and Web contract approvals from weeks to hours with electronic signatures using the integrated Adobe EchoSign electronic signature service. Simplify forms creation, distribution and results analysis using the included Adobe FormsCentral desktop app.
  • Enhanced mobile capabilities. Work with PDF files across tablets and smartphones in touch-friendly Adobe Reader to annotate and add comments, as well as fill in, sign and save forms.
  • Save PDF documents as PowerPoint, Word or Excel files or reuse parts of or entire PDF files as Microsoft Office documents and Web pages without retyping or need to reformat.
  • Improved protection of all PDF files created from Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, and Excel to help prevent copying, editing, or printing without permission.

The new and improved IT features and functionality now enable IT professionals to:

  • Standardize on an easy to use, full-featured, consistent, trusted PDF Reader now with full support for iPads and Android tablets. Additionally, deliver Acrobat XI and Reader XI as a centrally managed, touch-friendly, virtual application with new support for Microsoft App-V via Citrix XenApp.
  • Integrate Adobe Acrobat XI more seamlessly with Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint, enabling users to do more with PDF in an Office or SharePoint environment.
  • Streamline deployment and maintenance with free Adobe tools to aid configuration and installation, as well as enhanced support for Microsoft SCCM/SCUP and Apple Remote Desktop.
  • Help mitigate risk and protect systems and data with industry-leading security technology, in addition to the Adobe PDF Whitelist Framework, allowing selective enablement of JavaScript for both Windows and Mac OS. Easily deliver multi-step PDF file preparation and security measures using the Action Wizard to help ensure organizational consistency.

Quotes

Kevin M. Lynch, SVP and GM of Acrobat and Document Services, Adobe

  • “More and more information is being generated, shared and consumed in documents than ever before. Working with online forms, collaborative PDF reviews and signatures are the everyday norm for business professionals who were once simply content creators. IT departments need to support these changes while maintaining and maximizing the use of existing infrastructures and systems, as well as provide support and services that enable their organizations to take advantage of new business opportunities, improve results, justify return on investment, and lower the total cost of ownership.”

Mike Mann, release & deployment analyst, McGladrey

  • “Our client information is sensitive, so document security is critical. Acrobat XI offers advance document protection capabilities that are easier than ever for our staff to uniformly secure documents.”
  • “Microsoft SharePoint is one of our primary methods of sharing files internally. The seamless integration with Acrobat XI enables us to access, edit and save documents directly in SharePoint, eliminating the need to download and manage multiple files.”

Yvonne Willis, Enterprise Applications and Project Manager, Pillsbury Law

  • “Security is the talk of the town. All of our clients expect the highest level of security, from our documents through our applications and IT environment. Acrobat XI provides key security enhancements that support both users and IT professionals.”
  • “Being able to do complex things on the fly, like signing a document electronically or commenting on a document on an iPad, is very attractive to people. Acrobat XI makes that possible.”

Saul Morse, vice president of multichannel integration, Palio

  • “Acrobat XI now makes it even easier and faster to create PDF forms and to automatically distribute and collect information with new online forms services available within Acrobat XI.”

Helpful Links

Pricing and Availability

Acrobat XI and its associated products are scheduled to ship within 30 days, with availability through Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store, Adobe Direct Sales and Adobe Creative Cloud.

List price for:

  • Acrobat XI Standard is expected to be US$299 ($139 upgrade).
  • Acrobat XI Pro is expected to be US$449 ($199 upgrade).
  • Pricing for Education available through the Adobe Education Store.
  • Pricing for Government available through the Adobe Government Store.
  • A free 30-day trial of Acrobat Pro will be available upon product ship; cloud service trials are also available for Adobe EchoSign and Adobe FormsCentral.
  • A Reader XI free download will be available at Adobe.com upon product ship.
  • Adobe EchoSign starts at $14.95/month*.
  • The Adobe FormsCentral subscription pricing starts at $14.99/month†.

Adobe Unveils Creative Cloud

 

In recent years the education sector has led the adoption of cloud services. The Adobe® Creative Cloud is therefore a very significant development for institutions looking to put services in the cloud to reduce the complexity and cost of running their own infrastructure.

Company Radically Re-imagines Creative Software

LOS ANGELES — Oct. 3, 2011 At its MAX 2011 technology conference, Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced Adobe® Creative Cloud, a major new initiative from the company that radically redefines the content creation process. Adobe Creative Cloud will become the focal point for creativity, where millions can access desktop and tablet applications, essential creative services, and share their best work. Adobe Creative Cloud is being announced in parallel with a new set of Adobe Touch Apps for content creation on tablet devices (see separate release). These stunning new apps bring professional-level creativity to millions of tablet users – from consumers to creative professionals – and utilize hosted cloud-based services to share files, view them across devices or transfer work into Adobe Creative Suite® software for further refinement.

“Adobe Creative Cloud reinvents creative expression by enabling a new generation of services for creativity and publishing, that embrace touch interaction to re-imagine how individuals interact with creative tools and build deeper social connections between creatives around the world,” said Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer at Adobe. “The move to the Creative Cloud is a major component in the transformation of Adobe.”

Introducing Adobe Creative Cloud
The initial introduction of Adobe Creative Cloud is centered around an innovative collection of Adobe Touch Apps that re-imagine creative software for the mobile age and enable tablet devices to be an integral part of the creative process. Adobe Creative Cloud will become the hub for viewing, sharing and syncing of files created by Adobe Touch Apps and Adobe Creative Suite, and includes 20GB of cloud storage. It will quickly develop into a service that will deliver access to Adobe’s flagship creative applications and services and become an essential resource for anyone interested in creativity – all at a highly attractive price. By early 2012, Adobe Creative Cloud is expected to include the following:

  • Applications – Access to the portfolio of Adobe Creative Suite tools as well as the six Adobe Touch Apps announced today. The offering will include industry-leading desktop tools such as Photoshop®, InDesign®, Illustrator®, Dreamweaver®, Premiere® Pro, After Effects® and innovative new tools such as Adobe Edge and Muse.
  • Services – Key Adobe Digital Publishing Suite technologies, for delivering interactive publications on tablets; a tier of Adobe Business Catalyst, for building and managing websites; and new design services, such as the ability to use cloud-based fonts for website design, via technology acquired by Adobe through its acquisition today of Typekit Inc. (see separate release).
  • Community – Capabilities that encourage creatives to present and share their work and ideas with peers around the world and a forum for feedback and inspiration that will foster connections between creative people.  Adobe Creative Cloud will become a focal point for anyone creative.

Pricing and Availability
Pricing details regarding Adobe Creative Cloud and its expanded capabilities around applications, services and community will be announced in November 2011. For more information, visit http://www.adobe.com/go/creativecloud. Adobe will continue to offer all its creative products as standalone offerings, including Adobe Creative Suite editions and flagship individual products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver.

Adobe Acquires EchoSign

Here’s another valuable aquisition to the Adobe solution portfolio. EchoSign adds to Adobe’s online services by providing electronic signatures and signature automation. This is important in the world of Education where data security and data protection are critical for each and every educational institution. EchoSign will streamline document process, saving money and improving data security. Here’s the full announcement:

Leading Web-based Signature Solution Joins Document Exchange Services Platform

SAN JOSE, Calif. — July 18, 2011 Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced that it has acquired EchoSign, a leading Web-based provider of electronic signatures and signature automation. EchoSign’s pioneering electronic signature solution will be a key component of Adobe’s document exchange services platform for reliably exchanging documents for universal access, review and approval.

EchoSign’s solution, which currently supports more than three million users worldwide, will be offered as part of Adobe’s online document exchange services platform. The EchoSign solution will be integrated with other Adobe® document services including SendNow for managed file transfer, FormsCentral for form creation and CreatePDF for online PDF creation. By reducing the time and costs of having documents signed with traditional methods, such as fax and overnight envelopes, the EchoSign solution can enable customers to significantly accelerate sales cycles, improve tracking and centralize the management of signed agreements through a simple to use cloud service.

“Adobe’s document solutions help organizations turn inefficient, paper-based workflows into streamlined electronic ones,” said Kevin M. Lynch, vice president and general manager of Acrobat® Solutions, Digital Enterprise Solutions, Adobe. “By adding electronic signature capabilities to Adobe’s document exchange services platform, we will be addressing the need to provide better customer experiences by significantly reducing the time, cost and complexity associated with having a document signed.”

With just one click, the EchoSign electronic signature solution automates the entire signature process from the request for signature to the distribution and execution of the form or agreement. The EchoSign solution provides a secure subscription-based service to individuals, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and enterprise customers, enabling real-time visibility into the signature process and automatically storing and managing all signed documents.

The EchoSign service includes a rich set of APIs for incorporation with company-specific solutions to improve the process of sending, tracking and signing digital documents. Used by thousands of companies around the globe, the EchoSign service also integrates with partner solutions, such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite, and has been named “Best of Salesforce AppExchange” by the Salesforce.com customer community for the past three years.

“Bringing together EchoSign’s ease of use for contracting on the Web with Adobe’s brand, reach and trust in the document space, I fully expect that electronic signatures will soon become the common way for people to sign documents,” said Jason Lemkin, chief executive officer, EchoSign. “With nothing to download, learn or install, there is simply no faster or more secure way for organizations to sign, track or file contracts – and close more business quickly.”

EchoSign is based in Palo Alto, Calif. with a sales presence in the U.K. and Germany. The founders of EchoSign and all full-time employees will join Adobe, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience in electronic signature solutions.

6 Technologies that will change Education

Predicting the future is an impossible task, but it is fun to look as some of the emerging trends and speculate on their potential impact on Education. Inevitably, the further out you look the less likely the prediction will come true. This article looks at two trends in each of the short, medium and long term; and makes interesting reading.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/05/17/6-technologies-that-will-change-education.aspx

Over the next five years, six technologies will have a profound impact on teaching and learning, according to a new report released Tuesday by the New Media Consortium (NMC) in collaboration with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), “2011 Horizon Report K-12 Edition.”

The annual Horizon Report focuses on the key technology areas that researchers identify as likely to have a major impact on educational institutions and other learning-focused organizations within the next five years, broken down into the technologies that will have an impact in the near term, those that are in the early stages of adoption (two to three years out), and those that are a bit further out (four to five years). The report also identifies trends and “critical” challenges facing education in the near future.

Researchers and analysts this year identified six technologies that they indicated have the potential to expand the classroom toolset without increasing costs, that will extend learning into the home, that will inform decision making, and that will increase student engagement.

Near-Term Technologies
In the near term–one year or less–those technologies include cloud computing and mobile devices.

For education, the relevance of cloud computing this year–as opposed to last year, when cloud computing was focused more heavily on data systems–will be in allowing schools to expand the tools available for learning and teaching in ways that desktop software, with its restrictive licensing and often high costs, cannot.

“Schools are increasingly taking advantage of ready-made applications hosted on a dynamic, ever-expanding cloud that enables end users to perform tasks that have traditionally required site licensing, installation, and maintenance of individual software packages,” according to the authors. “E-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, collaboration, media editing, and more can all be done inside a Web browser, while the software and files are housed in the cloud.”

Mobile devices, of course, are already having an impact, but their potential, according to the report, has increased considerably with the launch of Apple’s iPad, as well as the new and upcoming slate of Android- and webOS-based tablets that will help solidify the mobile/handheld device class as a well rounded and feature-rich technology category.

“With always-on Internet, mobiles embody the convergence of several technologies that lend themselves to educational use, including electronic book readers, annotation tools, applications for creation and composition, and social networking tools,” the report said.

Mid-Term Technologies
Technologies whose impact will be felt in education a little further out–in two to three years–include game-based learning and open resources, according to the report.

Analysts said that will educational gaming has been around for year, game-based learning has recently made strides in K-12 adoption through the “proliferation of gaming platforms and the evolution of games on mobile devices.” Game-based learning is still a few years out though owing in part to the “scarcity of quality educational games” and the inability of education developers to keep up with the technology used in consumer games.

“This year, there has also been a great deal of traction surrounding online games and game apps for mobile devices,” the report said. “Schools are beginning the transition from blocking Web-based games to integrating them into their classrooms and curriculum.”

Open content is also a few years out, largely owing to restrictions on textbook adoption imposed on schools by some states. But the benefits of open materials are numerous, including cost savings over traditional textbooks, agility for tackling new information, convenience when delivered digitally, interactivity, and potential for collaborative learning.

“While universities ultimately paved the way for open content as an instrumental classroom tool, its recent entrance in the K-12 sector is partly rooted in the financial benefits,” the report said. “For example, launched in South Africa, Free High School Science Textbooks serves disadvantaged schools by providing royalty-free, open source books written by volunteer experts.”

Longer-Term Technologies
On the four- to five-year horizon are two technologies new to the Horizon Report: learning analytics and personal learning environments.

Personal learning environments are similar to traditional learning management systems but focus less on the “ephemera” of learning (calendars, assignments, and such) and more on the learning itself and “experiences at an individual level.”

“In concept, personal learning environments would encourage students to approach learning in ways best suited to their individual needs. Visual learners, for example, might be able to obtain material from a different source than auditory learners. Students using PLEs may further benefit from the practice of keeping track of, and curating, their own resource collections. Personal learning environments are seen as a way to shift the control over learning–particularly its pace, style, and direction–to the learner.”

The technologies for constructing PLEs are available now; but PLEs are identified as longer-term technologies for schools owing to the dearth of documentation and the fact that they’re still fairly conceptual in nature and lack a solid body of case studies.

The phrase “learning analytics” refers to a combination of technologies for monitoring and responding to student academic performance, including technologies that can be used to trigger interventions for students at risk or even before they reach that stage–for example, by monitoring time away from a course management system that might imply problems down the road.

According to the report, “Currently, most of the research into learning analytics has taken place in the higher education sector. While it has centered primarily on identifying at-risk students who can then receive attention to avoid failure in a particular course, it is increasingly being utilized to determine the most effective pedagogical approaches for specific learning styles, which makes the topic very interesting to K-12 stakeholders. The growing interest in learning analytics goes beyond the data mining technology itself; the potential applications of the information the analytics provide are now being explored in different capacities, from the impact on vocabulary acquisition to career readiness.”

The report’s authors also indicated that the greatest promise for learning analytics will be in differentiating instruction by helping to determine individual student needs.

The 2011 report, available today, also provides examples of technologies and their use in K-12 educational settings. A toolkit will also be available in June, along with a printed version of the report, to help facilitate conversations among education leaders on the issues discussed in the report. A complete copy of the new 2011 Horizon Report K-12 Edition is freely available now via a Creative Commons Attribution License and can be downloaded in PDF form here.