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Forskningsnettet - FskNet : Danish NREN

Institutions currently using Adobe Connect:

8 universities in Denmark
17 other higher education and research institutions

Currently active users:

7300 user accounts with meeting host status
80 concurrent users per month (average peak load)
41.700 meeting hours a year

Adobe Connect license and installation

170 concurrent users license
2 server cluster
Load balancing and fail over
No shared storage: instead SAN-storage discs mapped directly to each local content-folders

HW/OS setup

Brand: HP Proliant, BL 460c Server blade (2 servers)
CPUs: 2 x Intel Xeon x5355 Quad Core 2,66 GHz (8 CPUs)
RAM: 2 x 2 GByte 333 MHz
Ethernet: 1 GB/s
MS Windows 2003 x64 standard Edition

Integration / Development

Federated access via [www.wayf.dk|http://www.wayf.dk/wayfweb/frontpage.html] established, based on SimpleSAML.

Federated login via [https://connect.forskningsnettet.dk|https://connect.forskningsnettet.dk]. Login supports federated login, as well as non-federated login. 

Federated login sets up user accounts automatically, and automatically creates the users first meeting room. 

We plan to support LMS-integration, supporting systems such as Blackboard, Moodle, Its Learning, Dokeos,  and others

Forskningsnettet Contacts

Thorkild Jensen

thorkild.jensen@uni-c.dk

+4535878967

+4523639824

List of feature requests and bug reports in working progress

Bugs version 8.1.2 (reported to Adobe) - priority listed

Windows 7 Add-in 9.4.80: Audio functions react slowly and can stall meeting room

Connect-addin does not detect audio devices correctly

Playback of recordings stutter, and audio is out of synch, when using speex codec

Enhanced Audio on Ubuntu cannot be used

Cannot activate: "Allow for distribution of local copies of recordings to end users" (Connect Central: Administration > Compliance and Control > Recordings and Notice).

Login page does not allow browsers to remember the password (autocomplete = no)

Adobe Connect Mac Add-in chrashes when sharing applications and windows

Slow handling of whiteboard writing on Win 7

Mismatch of keyboard characters sets between Windows/Mac/Linux when screen sharing

The webcam video feed sometimes stutters on the Mac platform (1 fps)

Not able to install the Connect 8.1 add-in on Ubuntu version 11.04

We cannot open meeting rooms in Adobe Connect version 8.1 on Ubuntu, in flash player via firefox.

Ubuntu add-in still uses a lot of CPU

Strange frame overlays when setting up a new meeting via Google Chrome on Mac

Feature requests version 8.1.2 (reported to Adobe) Priority listed

Improving and simplifying audio performance and configuration

  • 1. Disable the "Right click anywhere... > Setting" options. Give access to these options under Main menu > Meeting > Preferences. Some of these options may not be important or relevant. I.e we do not understand why it is important that the users have to accept sending audio/video to the server. This is not normal for other systems, and it confuses some users, as the small window for accepting this can be hidden. 
  • 2. Put the Audio Setup Wizard under Main menu > speaker icon AND Main menu > microphone icon. Next, make the Audio Setup Wizard window pop up automatically when Presenters and Hosts enter the meeting room. It is always a good idea to test audio before starting a meeting.
  • 3. Reduce the Audio Setup Wizard to three windows in stead of 6 windows today. The welcome screen is not necessary. Make it possible to select audio device and test audio out, and set volume, in the same windows. Make it possible to select recording device and  make test recording, and set recording volume, in the same window. Third window would be used for the silence test and general settings info. 
  • 4. Under Main menu > speaker icon: make it possible to select audio out device. 
  • 5. Under Main menu > microphone icon: make it possible to select recording device.
  • 6. Under Main menu > camera icon: make it possible to select camera device. 
  • 7. Remove the Main menu > Audio option for Hosts. Enable single speaker mode, can be put under Meeting > Preferences, and the Enable audio for participants can be put under the main menu > microphone option, just like Enable Webcams for participants, is put under the webcam icon. 
  • 8. Consider using the speex codec as default and as the only codec. We understand, and also experience ourselves, that it gives the best VoIP. The extra CPU requirements are small in our testing (5%), and that can be balanced out by using a different video resolution as default. Making the speex codec default would remove the option under Enhanced Audio and simplify the user interface. Only very few users know what this option should be used for today. As we understand it, speex codec is supported in flash as well. 
  • 9. Consider removing some of the options under Enhanced Audio. I.e. it is difficult for us to see a difference between Fast and Best Audio, performance-wise. And is it really necessary to have both the Full duplex option and the full duplex headphones option?
  • 10. Dynamic registration/update of new or removed audio (i.e. USB) devices in the Audio Setup Wizard interface. Often people play with their audio devices, when they run the Audio Setup Wizard, and they don't understand they need to restart the Wizard to get access to new devices, they have just plugged in. 

Easy activation of camera and microphone

  • It should be easier be activate camera and microphone. Today three clicks are needed to activate the camera. One click should be enough. 

Video landscape support (This has disappeared in version 8)

Global configuration of meeting room preferences such as audio codec and video resolution used

Option to remove meetings from My Meetings under Adobe Connect Central

Bugs version 8.0.0 (reported to Adobe)

Mouse roll-over change the text menu color to white on white background

Playback of recordings are stuttering when using speex audio codec

Meeting rooms will not open in flash player via firefox on Ubuntu

Mismatch of character sets when using screen sharing between Windows and Mac

The add-in on Ubuntu is using a lot of CPU

The video is stuttering with only 1-2 fps when activated in the add-in on Ubuntu

When activating the advanced audio setting in Connect-addin on Ubuntu, the audio is muted

Stepping away does not turn off the microphone

Connect add-in crashes on Mac, when server restarts

Feature requests version 8.0.0 (reported to Adobe)

Improving and simplifying audio performance and configuration:

1. Disable the "Right click anywhere... > Setting" options. Give access to these options under Main menu > Meeting > Preferences. Some of these options may not be important or relevant. I.e we do not understand why it is important that the users have to accept sending audio/video to the server. This is not normal for other systems, and it confuses some users, as the small window for accepting this can be hidden. 

2. Put the Audio Setup Wizard under Main menu > speaker icon AND Main menu > microphone icon. Next, make the Audio Setup Wizard window pop up automatically when Presenters and Hosts enter the meeting room. It is always a good idea to test audio before starting a meeting.

3. Reduce the Audio Setup Wizard to three windows in stead of 6 windows today. The welcome screen is not necessary. Make it possible to select audio device and test audio out, and set volume, in the same windows. Make it possible to select recording device and  make test recording, and set recording volume, in the same window. Third window would be used for the silence test and general settings info. 

4. Under Main menu > speaker icon: make it possible to select audio out device. 

5. Under Main menu > microphone icon: make it possible to select recording device.

6. Under Main menu > camera icon: make it possible to select camera device. 

7. Remove the Main menu > Audio option for Hosts. Enable single speaker mode, can be put under Meeting > Preferences, and the Enable audio for participants can be put under the main menu > microphone option, just like Enable Webcams for participants, is put under the webcam icon. 

8. Consider using the speex codec as default and as the only codec. We understand, and also experience ourselves, that it gives the best VoIP. The extra CPU requirements are small in our testing (5%), and that can be balanced out by using a different video resolution as default. Making the speex codec default would remove the option under Enhanced Audio and simplify the user interface. Only very few users know what this option should be used for today. As we understand it, speex codec is supported in flash as well. 

9. Consider removing some of the options under Enhanced Audio. I.e. it is difficult for us to see a difference between Fast and Best Audio, performance-wise. And is it really necessary to have both the Full duplex option and the full duplex headphones option?

10. Dynamic registration/update of new or removed audio (i.e. USB) devices in the Audio Setup Wizard interface. Often people play with their audio devices, when they run the Audio Setup Wizard, and they don't understand they need to restart the Wizard to get access to new devices, they have just plugged in. 

Global configuration of meeting room preferences such as audio codec and video resolution used

Video landscape support (wide angel view) 

Error message if video (or audio) devices are used by another application

Feature Requests version 7.5
(Top 20)

1.a. Audio: Improvement of the Audio Setup Wizard to directly configure all sound preferences in a simple way:

A. First screen: Get rid of first Welcome screen: this it not necessary

B. Second screen: Make it possible to select audio out device, set volume of audio out device, and test audio out device

C: Third screen: Make it possible to select audio in device, set microphone volume / automatic gain control, and make a test recording in the same window (record/play)

D. Four screen: Advanced audio settings: Use Enhanced Audio (via Add-in), Use Flash Player audio, mode of echo cancellation. Quality setting.

Reason: It does not make sense, that audio out selection is not possible, and that vital functions such as detailed volume control for the microphone is hidden away under Advanced Setting. Audio Setup Wizard should do it all in a very simple way.  (Feature request submitted: 22.3.10: version 7.5 : ER number is 258723)

1.b. Audio: Shortcut configuration of device for audio in/out and volume for audio in/out right next to the microphone button. 

Reason: This would solve maybe 50% of all support issues, and would make it very quick and easy to setup sound before a meeting. (Feature request submitted: 22.3.10: version 7.5 : ER number is 2587211)

1c. Audio: Better echo cancellation on Mac and Linux platforms
Reason: Good echo cancellation is so important in video and web conferencing. 

1d. Audio: Full detachment between the video pod and microphone functions
Reason: the relationship between the the video pod and the microphone is not logical. If you deactivate the video, you also deactivate the audio. Why? If you go to a different layout, that does not contain a video pod, you deactivate everybody´s audio. Why? 

1e. Audio: Better sound indicators in the meeting room
Reason: It is important to know when you are broadcasting audio and who is broadcasting audio / talking. Indicators in AC are not good enough in that respect. Often speakers do not notice that they have not activated their microphone, and you have to look carefully or know the voice of individuals well to know who is talking.

1.f. Audio: Allow hosts to modify the sound setup of participants, such as: turn volume on, up or down. A feature that 'Centra' has!
Reason: participants don't hear how they sound.

2. Better customization of user rights and roles for an AC installation, but also for each meeting room.
Reason: We would like to change user rights and roles universally for our AC installation, but also give each Host the possibility to change rights for a specific meeting room. For example we do not think that a Presenter should be able to switch off the sound of a meeting, deactivating all the cameras, closing down the meeting room, delete the chat/text (that cannot be undone) etc. This we believe is the role and rights of a Host. However, we would like the Presenter to be able to activate different layouts, which is not possible today, etc. (Feature request submitted: 6.4.10: version 7.5)

3. Automatic creation of standard meeting room, when the user is created (and get Meeting Host status). Via account and login information the user will get a URL to the first meeting room. Preferably, the administrator would be able to turn off this feature. 

Reason: This would get users started very quickly. Most users would not need to get acquainted with the Connect Central interface, and would get direct access to the Connect meeting application. 

(Feature request submitted: 19.5.10: version 7.5)

4. Adobe Connect Add-in for Linux
Reason: You can only cater for collaboration if you support all the major platforms. This also include Linux. Next, public institutions often choose systems based on broad public access to the systems used. Broad platform support and access therefore is very important. 

(Feature request submitted: 26.4.10: version 7.5)

5. Support for more file formats in Share Pod via direct upload to, and conversion on, the server
Reason: People need more flexibility and direct upload and conversion of file types such as Word, Excel, various picture formats, Open Office format, etc.

6. Built in QoS test of users internet connection

Reason: The present test only measures the connection speed and not the quality of the connection (i.e. jitter). The quality of the connection is very important 

7. Warning if user machine hits 90-100% CPU, and advice to pause or deactivate the video. 

Reason: Next to sound configuration, we find that proper CPU resources on the client machine is the biggest hurdle to high quality audio, video and screen sharing in meetings. Users should know when they have a CPU problem. The quickest way to solve the problem is often to pause the video. 

8. Subadministrator rights assigned to specific groups (admin interface)
Reason: Our users are assigned to a group for each institution and we would like to assign local administrator right to a person, or a number of individuals, from that group.

9. Better text editing features in Note Pod
Reason: The Note Pod is a fantastic collaboration tool. We would like to see an undo and redo function (if you delete text today, it is gone for good), and the ability for each a person to edit each a paragraph at the same time (as in Google Docs text editor).

10.  Better control of the Connect add-in installation process. I would like to control and manually specify the minimum version requirement of the Connect add-in, and to control the actual version installed, when the user is prompted to install the add-in. Today this is not possible, as version control is hard coded into a SWF-file.

Reason: The newest version of the add-in is typically the most stabile version. Next, unstable versions of the add-in may exist, that you as an administrator would the users to avoid installing. This is important to the general quality experienced by the users. (Feature request submitted: 24.3.10: version 7.5)

11. Better whiteboard/annotation tools: ability to remember your configuration settings. Better standard settings: i.e. no fill-colors in circles and squares. Better Text-tool (Selection of text is not shown. Pasting text into a text box does not constrain to a page, and extend beyond the page margin etc.).

Reason: In many cases people end up sharing their screen and using a third party drawing tool as a whiteboard/annotation tool. With just a few improvements whiteboard/annotation tools in Connect would provide the right quality needed. 

12. Better user interface in Adobe Connect Central. Turn of menus that the user has not got the right to use. No more " you have not got the authorization ..." etc. 

Reason: Improving the usability of Connect Central is important. Users should not have menus, that are not relevant to them. 

13. Allow to retain a recording for public access should a user be deleted from the system with her or his agreement.
Reason: An organisation might want to provide access to  recorded Webinars even after a host has left that organisation and his rights and conferences in the system have been deleted.

14. Viewing of recordings directly in meeting rooms via Share Pod

15. Ability to download files from a file share pod in a recording

16. Ability to zoom windows/pods in a recording

17. Calculation (and show) of Agree and Disagree (feedback emoticons)

18. Allow to select, which presenters mouse movements can be seen and which not.

19. If a participants' computer creates trouble, or has a bad connection, indicate which one it is.

Issues/Bugs - version 7.5

1. If you activate a different layout during a meeting - a layout without the video pod - you will deactivate all the active microphones in the meeting
Expected behavior: microphones should only be deactivated if you do that yourself, or if a Host intensionally do this. (Bug report submitted: 22.3.10: version 7.5)

2. If you deactivate your video, you also deactivate your sound
Expected behavior: If people deactivate their camera on a meeting, it is usually because they don´t need to be seen, and not that they at the same time don´t want to be heard.

3. If you setup a meeting room and add participant to the meeting, you will need to set the role of the participants to presenters, for the participant to get direct access to the meeting room (access via login).
Expected behavior: If you add participants to a meeting room they will all get direct access to the meeting room as participants(access via login).

4. When deleting a user, the meetings and content of that user is not deleted
Expected behavior: You would expect that all meetings and all content of a user is deleted, when deleting a user.

5. When remote controlling a Mac from a Windows or visa versa, via screen sharing, special keyboard characters are not correct (i.e. special nordic characters in the alphabet).  

6. You can move a recording to the Content area for better access-control, but you cannot move the recording back to the meeting room.
Expected behavior: You always think you can reverse an action, unless you directly delete an item

7. On a Mac, if you try to open a recording, while a meeting is already open in the Add-in, you are asked to install the Add-in: Please install the Acrobat Connect Add-in for a better recording playback experience. Install - Cancel. (Bug report submitted: 3.5.10: version 7.5)

8. Regarding Text Tool in the Whiteboard Pod: 1. Resizing text is not possible and at best erratic. 2. Text elements (in fact also line elements of the Line Tool) do not show selection state when selected with the Selection Tool. 3. Text elements are not restricted/constrain to the Whiteboard page. You manually have to drag/limit the text box to a specific area within the page. (Bug reports submitted: 4.5.10: version 7.5)

Issues/Bugs version 7.0 (not tested in version 7.5)

1. http > https redirect only works for login to the applications server and not for login to the meetings

2. You are allowed to setup a meeting room with a URL that contains a dot (.), but you will get an error

3. If you make a recording public, and next make it private again, you cannot access the recording. Administrators can rectify the problem by making it public and private again.

4. If you configure AC for shared content storage, the content will be configured/compressed/arranged in way, which will not allow you to move or remigrate the content back to the local content folder. No migration tool or direct work around exist.
Expected behavior: I would expect AC to reconfigure and reorder all the content according to configuration settings or at least a separate tool/workaround to exist.

5. If you deactivate Advanced Settings under Step 5 in the Audio Setup Wizard, AC believes you have not installed the Connect Add-In, although it is installed. In Step 0 of the wizard, you are advised to install the Add-In.

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