The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is a combat support agency that plans, engineers, and maintains global net-centric solutions serving a diverse group of autonomously managed United States Department of Defense (DoD) enterprises.
In June 2007, DISA awarded Defense Connect Online (DCO), a two-part Adobe Connect solution for collaboration and engagement across DoD global operations. Two different systems comprise the Adobe Connect implementation, one for the unclassified network, and one for the classified network. A pre-release version of DCO was tested over a five-month period and went live in April 2008, enabling deployed troops, supporting personnel, and military leaders to collaborate effortlessly across locations worldwide.
The scope of this project is enormous, supporting 5.3 million users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week around the globe, including airborne pilots and ship personnel. After 12 months, on average, there are 800 concurrent users at any time. Since full implementation of DCO, more than 90,000 unclassified and 25,000 classified users in 40 countries have registered. The number of registered users continues to grow, with approximately 1,200 new users registering every week.
Encourage, not hinder collaboration
In addition to deploying Adobe Connect for web conferencing, DCO implemented chat with presence and awareness technology to provide DoD staff with an XMPP-based, always-on IM client to engage immediately with authorized personnel around the globe. The Adobe solution is integrated via a web interface that combines common tasks for web conferencing and IM, as well as for fulfilling registration, authentication, and PKI requirements.
DISA uses the VoIP feature in Adobe Connect to conduct communications among more than two parties. DCO also is used for small meetings among workgroups of 5 to 50 DoD personnel, as well as larger meetings with hundreds of simultaneous connections.
Notably, Adobe Connect holds the record for the largest live web meeting ever held in the DoD. “The meeting was scheduled to run on IBM Sametime, but last minute issues with the IBM solution convinced DISA to move to Adobe Connect,” says Lieutenant Colonel Kurz. “We peaked out at 1,325 participants.”
The wide range of activities that DCO supports includes operations worldwide, from tactical war fighting to day-to-day office use. Users engage with the system for briefings, mission rehearsals, one-to-one and group on-the-spot collaboration, training, eLearning, and dozens of other functions. “Adobe Connect enables us to accomplish more work in less time. Smaller groups, featuring subject matter experts, can more quickly analyze a problem, arrive at a solution, and recommend a plan of action to the larger group,” says Kurz.
On-demand eLearning modules are available via Adobe Connect for users to learn the system and to participate in ongoing training. “Adobe Connect now enables us to reach more people with consistent, targeted training content,” says Kurz.
Competitive, secure solution
When the DoD tasked DISA to provide an enterprise collaboration service, DISA purchased two competing web-based collaboration solutions, each with a one-year contract with two option years. This short contract strategy is designed to keep pressure on the vendor community to compete.
What sets the DCO Adobe Connect web-conferencing solution apart is that it is based on Adobe Flash technology and it only requires a single port through the network to operate. This means that users can instantly collaborate with anybody, anywhere, without any complicated set-up or downloads. From initial log-in to a DCO meeting in Adobe Connect, users can participate in application and screen sharing; whiteboarding; and persistent and non-persistent meeting rooms while easily
customizing layouts, switching presenters, polling, using VoIP, and more. Kurz notes that the streamlined administration features in Adobe Connect enable faster delegation of administrative tasks, such as the ability to easily invite others and efficiently manage access to different Adobe Connect rooms.
DCO enables front-line units in less than optimal field conditions anywhere in the world to collaborate in extremely low bandwidth environments that may experience intermittent connectivity. According to Lieutenant Colonel Kurz, “Adobe Connect shows that Adobe is listening to its user base and is evolving its solution to better meet the requirements of all groups that need to collaborate to accomplish goals.”
At Dreamtek we are an Accredited European Adobe Connect Solutions Partner and we are experienced in on-premise and custom installations, we also develop bespoke pods for Adobe Connect including our HQ Video pod and we have implemented sophisticated elearning solutions into the training academies at both Peugeot Citroen and Jaguar Landrover. Get in touch to find out how we can help you with your Adobe Connect solution.