April 7, 2020

Aaron Wolf
Adobe Connect Product Specialist, Carahsoft

Organizations leverage Adobe Connect to collaborate from afar and provide rapid response.


When disaster strikes or pandemic sweeps the nation, the ability to virtually collaborate becomes vital to the national response. Rapid response and disaster recovery agencies best serve their communities when they can be at ground zero and communicate effectively with headquarters. But what does that look like when our trusted relief organizations cannot physically be together?

Adobe Connect is a robust web conferencing and collaboration tool that can be used for real-time, interagency virtual collaboration among officials in times of national emergencies, such as hurricane response and relief efforts, as well as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Adobe Connect features a variety of native applications that allow the user to view a common operational picture (COP), or a singular window containing all relevant information to the crisis at hand. Since the interface is constant and persistent, users will not lose the display by exiting the virtual console and will be able to standardize the viewing no matter where the viewer is located, allowing for real-time updates to and informed decision making.

Ensure data capture and monitoring from any location

Despite advancements in technology, it’s never guaranteed that the location of a relief site will have reliable wireless internet, especially in the event of a natural disaster. When you’re on the ground, you still need a dependable way to communicate with the decision-makers back at the office. Users of Adobe Connect have found that, despite the continuous display of vital information, when they use the platform for common operational picture, they can adjust the bandwidth out in the field, all while headquarters views a clear display. With Adobe Connect’s adjustable bandwidth sliders for screen sharing and video conferencing, users need only adjust screen quality from ‘HD’ to ‘High’ to begin experiencing drastically increased wireless connection speeds, allowing workers to trust their hotspots or public networks without fear of losing the feed. Additionally, users can increase the size of any application, also referred to as pods, to full screen without affecting the display of others. By selecting the full-screen option for real-time weather maps or infection charts, field workers can monitor conditions even from their smallest mobile devices, allowing for further increased connectivity.

Collaborate from the epicenter

In addition to the bandwidth and mobility features of Adobe Connect, the collaboration tools enable users to share information via chat, visualize each other with the use of webcams, share files for upload or download, and link to key web resources, informing other responders in real-time.

One of the many benefits of Adobe Connect is using multiple chat and notes function for each topic. Collaborators can discuss critical decisions and next steps in real-time, while also sharing minute-by-minute updates on the ground in the same window, but a different chat thread. Similarly, the notes application allows users to continuously add critical information, such as contact information, a timeline of key events, or directions and instructions to additional equipment, all in a central place, accessible to all users. As a web conferencing platform, Adobe Connect is also able to host webcam sharing and integrated audio to allow users to collaborate face-to-face. Important command center meetings can be recorded and shared throughout and outside of your organization, allowing organizations to catalog and disseminate information quickly. Furthermore, all real=time chats can be exported as well for storage on the agency’s servers or website for on-demand viewing. Additionally, users can share document files and informative weblinks using the file share and weblinks pods natively available in Adobe Connect. Instead of sharing something in a chat, making it difficult to find quickly as the conversation continues, key reference materials in one of these share pods can be opened and downloaded repeatedly by all members of the organization directly on their device, meaning field workers don’t need to be connected to the main server to access crucial information.

Protect your data and users while web conferencing

When compiling incredibly sensitive and life-saving data, the security of users and information is of the utmost importance. Adobe Connect Hosts have the ultimate control over access to all of their rooms. Specific login credentials such as a username and password could be required, or it could as simple as entering your name to gain access to the room. Regardless of access type, hosts can remove any user from their room at any time for any reason. Additionally, by default and unless otherwise specified before the meeting, all participants in a room start with limited rights and cannot change the room in any way without a host granting them permission.

While the host can track who joined the meeting, data captured in the room is the sole property of the license owner. Furthermore, the only data able to be collected from participants of an Adobe Connect room is the data they consent to provide. Adobe Connect does not track or collect IP addresses.

Use Adobe Connect as a Common Operational Picture (COP) Tool

Response organizations can put together a COP and provide access to organization personnel, government officials, and even civilian personnel such as local businesses and community leaders to provide them the most up to date resources and information. In the example below, the fictional Hometown Disaster Recovery Agency is meeting remotely in response to a flood in the local area. Each pod in their Adobe Connect room provides different pieces of relevant information, composing the entire COP. These pods include:

  • A notes pod with contact information for local civilian officials
  • An attendee pod to see who is in the room at any point in time
  • A second notes pod that offers a timeline of events as captured/recorded by the host(s)
  • A chat pod for everyone to communicate non-verbally in the room
  • A file transfer pod that allows attendees to download key resources
  • A share pod with a map, annotated to show the current state of affairs in the city as the flood fight continues
  • A share pod showing the current weather projections as provided by the local weather service
  • A share pod showing the hydrologic report of the river updated in real-time by the host(s) of the room


Aaron FEMA Recreate 2.png


For more information on using Adobe Connect for disaster recovery and rapid response, please read the New User's Guide to Common Operational Picture.

If you need any immediate assistance or information, we are here 24x7. Feel free to visit our website or give us a call!


Aaron Wolf