Google is making another step towards the enterprise today with its announcement of “Chromebox for meetings,” an integrated and simple solution for getting businesses into video conferencing. At launch, Chromebox for meetings is simply a pre-configured set of hardware that all works together, along with support and a simple interface for Google Apps and Hangouts.
A simpler and less expensive solution for video conferencing
The hardware consists of a standard-issue ASUS Chromebox, a 1080p webcam (what looks to be from Logitech), a wireless speakerphone / microphone combo and a wireless remote. You’ll need to provide a display, but choosing what size you need on your own is probably for the best. Chromebox for meetings is being positioned as a cheaper alternative to clunky video conferencing systems — $999 gets you the hardware setup, along with a year of 24/7 management and support (a $250 value).
Once you purchase and set things up, you’ll simply be able to start a video call with the push of a button on your remote. Colleagues with Chromeboxes can join instantly, and those with traditional video conference systems can call in to your Hangout with a tool from Vidyo or even dial in on the phone with UberConference.
Here are a few highlights:
- Instant meeting room. Chromebox for meetings comes with a blazing-fast Intel Core i7-based Chromebox, a high-definition camera, a combined microphone and speaker unit and a remote control. Set up your entire room in minutes and easily manage all meeting rooms from a web-based management console. All you need is the display in your room, and you’re good to go.
- Simpler and faster meetings. Walk into the room, click the remote once and you’re instantly in the meeting. No more complex dial-in codes, passcodes or leader PINs. Share your laptop screen wirelessly, no need for any cords and adaptors. Integration with Google Apps makes it easy to invite others and add rooms to video meetings, directly from Google Calendar.
- Meetings with anyone, anywhere. Up to 15 participants can join the video meeting from other conference rooms, their laptops, tablets or smartphones. Need to meet with a customer who doesn’t use Chromebox for meetings? That’s easy too—all they need is a Gmail account. You can also connect to rooms that have traditional video conferencing systems using a new tool from Vidyo, and participants who prefer phones can join your meeting with a conference call number from UberConference.
Being an enterprise product you’ll have to contact a sales representative directly for the opportunity to buy one of these new setups, but Google says that both CDW and SYNNEX are helping with distribution. Although ASUS is the first Chromebox maker to be on board with the new program, HP and Dell are expected to join the party later this year.