Adobe Connect and Zoom are popular and effective web conferencing tools. In 2020 and 2021, such tools saw unprecedented use, with more and more people forced to work, collaborate, and communicate from home.
Even as our working lives start to return to some semblance of normality, many experts predict that working from home will become the new norm.
Below, I’m going to look at some of the similarities between Zoom and Adobe Connect, as well as the differences, allowing you to choose the best for your collaborative needs.
What Is Adobe Connect?
Adobe Connect is a virtual meeting and video-conferencing application. It is used to conduct online business meetings and can be used for webinars, online training, and collaboration thanks to its desktop sharing functionality.
It is compatible with Windows and Mac, mobile, Android, and iOS.
Connect officially launched in 2019, but Adobe had previously offered similar tools as part of its Acrobat family.
Adobe is well known for its video and photo editing software like Photoshop and Illustrator.
Connect brings some of the more advanced editing features of these tools to virtual meeting software to offer high-quality video calls and video meetings.
You can also expect a well-polished application, although that isn’t to say that Connect is perfect.
The software offers the host and attendees plenty of ways in which to customize the experience, and users of other Adobe software will be accustomed to the look and feel of the platform.
However, Connect does suffer from being overly complex, especially for users that are diving into the Adobe world for the first time.
It’s also quite expensive compared to other products on the market and is best suited to use for webinars and online classes and courses, although it is still a highly functional video meeting platform.
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What Is Zoom?
While many people have only heard of Zoom following the global lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, Zoom Video Communications Inc has existed since 2011 and its video conferencing software was launched back in 2013.
It was already enjoying strong growth before the Covid pandemic, but it has become synonymous with working from home especially during this period.
Ease of use is one of the software’s biggest selling points.
There are numerous videos of users struggling to remove filters or being caught out with unexpected backgrounds, but considering the many millions of users the platform has welcomed over the past year, the fact that there aren’t more of these videos is a testament to its intuitiveness.
The app is reliable and its connection is considered stable. The company has suffered some issues following its incredible and hugely unexpected rise in popularity, however.
Not only has Zoom struggled to maintain good customer services, often taking a long time to respond to queries, but it has faced scrutiny over its security.
For the most part, the company behind the software has reacted positively to criticism and taken action to remedy any wrongs.
Zoom is better suited to video calls and virtual meetings than most of its alternatives.
Though it may not be the best option for online education, it is perfectly serviceable as an educational platform, too.
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The thing about remote working is that businesses and colleges can rarely demand exactly what hardware their stakeholders use.
Some meeting attendees may want to access a meeting on their PC, some on a Mac, and others may only have access to an Android or iOS mobile device.
Connect offers both Mac and Windows downloads, as well as apps for Android and iOS mobile devices.
Adobe has recently added browser access to the software, too, which is very beneficial.
Being forced to download and install software is a friction point.
Some potential attendees will refuse to install new apps. Some may have problems with the installation and use of the software.
The need to install software can reduce the uptake of meetings and courses.
Web access is easier, takes less time than waiting for a download and installation, and it eliminates one potential obstacle to use.
Zoom has similar accessibility options. It has a desktop client, which may be preferred because it offers a greater range of more advanced features.
However, as well as being more accessible, online video conferencing, or Software as a System (SaaS) video conferencing offers other benefits.
Users do not need to install the software. While many PC users are comfortable downloading and installing new apps, some users are not.
This may necessitate phone calls between attendees and call hosts or IT departments.
Using the web-based application also negates the need to have to upgrade the software.
Upgrading is the responsibility of the company itself, so users do not need to check for recent updates or new features and won’t have to install the latest version.
Zoom also has dial-in numbers. If users cannot connect by computer, for example, because they do not have microphone capabilities, they can connect using a toll number.
Audio subscribers have access to toll-free numbers, enabling meetings to proceed even if some users do not have a Zoom account or access to the Zoom website.
Both platforms offer similar downloads and platforms, as well as web access, but Zoom has slightly more dial-in options available to users.
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Adobe Connect will look and feel familiar to users of other Adobe products. It has a very similar skin. However, if you’re new to the Adobe framework, the software can look confusing and even a little redundant.
This is because Adobe differentiates between training sessions, meetings, and seminars.
Some aspects of the process are also clunky. Setting up a meeting is simple, as long as attendees are already registered.
If this is the case, Adobe will deal with the invitations and ensure that your meeting members turn up and log in.
Not everybody has Adobe Connect, and you might still want to invite a non-user to a meeting. This is done by finding and copying the URL of the meeting and then manually sharing it via email, text, social media, or any other means.
It would be easier if Adobe created and sent email invitations for you.
Connect suffers from similar problems in other areas. In most cases, it has the features, but they feel like they’re one or two clicks further away than they ought to be.
Zoom does offer invitations and these include everything from the date and time of the meeting to its unique URL and even dial-in toll numbers.
Zoom is intuitive, and one of the reasons for its popularity in 2020, when people all over the world were forced to work from the kitchen table, was its simplicity.
Participants are really only required to click a link to participate.
The host may have requested that you fill in a survey, but this isn’t down to Zoom and, even if they have, it is easy to do. Connecting is quick and simple. Options like muting and turning your cam off, where available, are self-explanatory.
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There is a ton of options when setting up a meeting as the host: include a waiting room, mute or unmute attendees as they arrive, allow or disable chat between participants.
These are easily set. During the meeting, a toolbar appears at the bottom of the screen, is well laid out, and offers access to all of the options and features you require.
Overall, Zoom is intuitive and easy to use.
Not everybody is tech-savvy. Zoom seems to better understand this with a simple layout and easy access to features and options.
Most of us have decent Internet connections, but this isn’t always true. Attendees might be using a public WiFi connection or stuck with a restricted mobile Internet connection.
Adobe does very well at streaming even on limited connections, and the host has a variety of tweakable settings and some handy features that will minimize lag and improve connectivity performance.
Low bandwidth tips include:
- Upload videos before the meeting starts and avoid animations
- Disable cams, or limit the number that can stream at once
- Do not allow screen sharing
- Set the Optimized Room Bandwidth to Modem if you know that some of your meeting attendees have a poor connection
Zoom was established in 2011 with the promise of offering stable connections and lag-free, high-quality videos. It prospered in the following years because it did so, successfully.
But technology has changed a lot in 10 years, so does the software still meet the same high standards?
If you have low bandwidth or lag issues, fear not: Zoom offers a stable connection under most circumstances, as long as you can connect.
There are minimal lag issues, and there are steps to help improve Zoom performance if you have an especially poor performance.
- Disable video or, at least, turn HD video off
- Mute your audio when you’re not broadcasting
- Turn screen sharing off when not in use, and use collaborative documents instead
Both Zoom and Adobe Connect offer stable connections that are mostly lag-free and include options to minimize connection load.
Collaboration And Sharing
Collaboration is more than simply chatting and video calling.
At the very least, it requires brainstorming, planning, and working together on applications and files.
It needs to be an open collaboration and shouldn’t restrict any particular people, except where required by the host.
Adobe Connect has persistent meeting URLs.
Set up a collaborative team, share the URL with team members, and they can pop in and out of the collaborative pod to share new information, update whiteboards, and attend meetings.
The customization power of Adobe also benefits the collaborative team.
You can add a Q&A section, for example, alongside screen and app sharing pods.
A team can be broken down into smaller teams, each with its own pod while sharing an overall meeting space.
Whiteboards are especially useful. They allow users to add their own thoughts to a project, which are shared with others.
The host can enable or disable the ability for other users to annotate the whiteboard, so it can be used for collaboration or presentation.
Zoom offers some similar features, including a persistent meeting ID, and allows the sharing of video and audio clips. It also allows for screen sharing and app sharing.
Once you’ve shared a screen, you can hand over control of the screen to any participant, too, and the host can allow co-annotations, so that attendees can highlight, draw, write, and add their own notes to files, images, and more, as long as the host enables these features.
This is similar to Connect’s whiteboard feature but arguably not as advanced.
Adobe Connect’s collaboration features are more extensive and feel more advanced than Zoom’s, which are somewhat basic.
Reputation And Customer Service
Adobe is a large company that was founded in 1982 and has enjoyed considerable success over the years, especially thanks to its Flash Player, Acrobat Reader, and Photoshop photo editing software.
However, it has come under scrutiny for factors like its pricing. Acrobat Reader and Flash have been voted among the “top 10 most hated programs of all time” by Techradar, thanks to being ubiquitous to a web user experience and the software’s seemingly constant need for updates.
However, Adobe does offer an extensive knowledge bank of FAQs, where a lot of problems can be answered without even having to contact them. They also have online chat and real chat.
Zoom has, in some ways, been a casualty of its own success. They could not have predicted the events of 2020 so it is hardly surprising that they have suffered as a result of their popularity.
They went from being successful but niche to being found on laptops, desktops, and mobile phones across the world.
They were suddenly being used for government meetings, virtual court hearings, and to host classes when children were unable to attend school in person.
They were even used to broadcast interviews and news segments on TV.
It is not surprising, then, that they didn’t have the administrative capabilities to cope with their newfound popularity. But, that doesn’t matter to users.
Zoom came in with a lot of criticism for their lack of customer support.
That has improved of late, as they have employed additional call center staff and outsourced other elements of their customer service work.
However, problems do remain for some users, and there is still a surprising amount of unanswered controversy around the software.
There was controversy surrounding encryption keys. Initially, these were created in China, and this practice raised alarm bells with a lot of users.
The company addressed the issue with a detailed response and they now allow their users the opportunity to choose the country that video calls are routed through.
Zoom-bombing is another issue that has largely been resolved. Some hosts were unaware that they had to enable certain security settings when establishing a meeting.
This enabled people to hijack meetings. Zoom changed the default settings to prevent this.
The company faces a lawsuit brought by users who claim that the app shares user data with Facebook and that this contravenes its data policy.
They have changed this since, however.
There has also been the question of whether messages and data are encrypted.
The company initially claimed that its software used E2EE encryption.
Then, they said that this was only available when using the app, rather than web-based meetings.
They also went on to say that E2EE would not be available for free customers, before partially making a U-turn on this. Users still have to complete phone verification, however, and some groups have questioned whether Zoom is acting in its customers’ best interests.
Adobe Connect takes it. Adobe may not have the best customer service, but the amount of controversy surrounding Zoom is concerning, although they have positively rectified a lot of the problems.
Connect enables the integration of interactive content like polls and questionnaires.
You can record meetings and then send the content to absentees or others, and it allows participation in the content. Similarly, annotated whiteboards can be forwarded to attendees.
You can also alter the background of your meetings, although you need to have uploaded images to be able to select them.
Adobe does offer apps and extensions that can be incorporated into a meeting, via custom pods.
Add an analog clock so that attendees can spend the meeting staring at it. Randomizer lets you select a random participant to pick on.
There’s even a Roshambo app so that you can settle disputes with a game of rock, paper, scissors.
Zoom has become well-known for some of its features. Filters enable users to change the background, or to blur a real background.
Filters can also be used to improve your own appearance, getting rid of blemishes or removing red-eye and shadows.
In fact, there have been multiple videos of managers and participants that have accidentally applied potato and cat filters and haven’t been able to remove them, subsequently being forced to spend the rest of the meeting as the aforementioned item.
Zoom also has its own app marketplace. This offers everything from Hubspot and G Suite integration to card games and live yoga sessions.
Although Adobe does have some decent features and apps, Zoom has more and makes them more easily accessible.
Pricing And Accounts
Adobe Connect offers a seriously limited free plan. It allows for three meeting participants but does allow for customized pods and the rest of the experience.
The Meeting plan allows for 25 participants and 4 hosts while the Learning plan provides for up to four hosts and up to 1,500 participants.
For additional hosts or extra participant numbers, it is possible to have a custom account created but you will have to speak to Adobe directly.
Prices are dependent on the number of hosts, so if you have four people hosting a meeting, even if you only have ten participants, the costs quickly become very steep indeed.
- Free Account: Limited
- Free Trial: 30 day
- Paid Account Costs: $50/month/host – $130/month/host
While Connect is expensive, Zoom has a very generous free package, and its paid plans are relatively inexpensive too.
The free account allows up to 100 participants to partake in a call of up to 40 minutes.
Paid plans range from a small business plan for up to 100 participants and an enterprise plan for up to 300 attendees.
Zoom also has add-ons that enable you to increase the maximum number of participants, and there’s an add-on that includes 3TB of storage per month.
- Free Account: Generous
- Free Trial: No
- Paid Account Costs: $14.99/month/host – $19.99/month/host
Zoom offers a generous free account and its paid plans are a fraction of the cost of competitors including Adobe Connect.
- Adobe Connect and Zoom are video conferencing and webinar tools.
- Both offer monthly fees and charge per host.
- With Zoom or Adobe Connect, you can customize meetings and incorporate additional content.
- Hosts can determine features like muting and unmuting in Adobe Connect or Zoom.
- Zoom offers a generous free plan while Connect’s is restricted.
- Zoom has more customization and template features than Connect.
- Adobe Connect is better suited to education and classes, Zoom is preferred for business meetings.
Adobe Connect Pros
- Allows interactive recordings that can be shared
- 30-day free trial
- It no longer requires Adobe Flash Player
- Customizable pods allow personalized meetings
Adobe Connect Cons
- Expensive paid plans
- The free account offers very little
- Dial-in options are limited
- Complex dashboard and menus
- Generous free account
- Cheaper than competitors
- Various customization options
- Stable connection
- Customer service is lacking
- Various security and privacy controversies
- Accounts, though cheap, require add-ons
- The app needs installing for the best features
Conclusion: Zoom vs Adobe Connect
When it comes to Adobe Connect vs Zoom, it is Zoom’s ease of use, lower cost, and additional features that make it the preferred choice.
It’s also the reason that it has become so popular in the changing work and education landscape that we live in.
Adobe Connect is no slouch, and it does have some beneficial features, but its free account is severely limited and its paid accounts are too expensive.