Computer Business Review

Five things you need to know about Google’s Chromebox for Meetings

by Amy-jo Crowley| 11 February 2014

The search engine company’s new video conferencing tool for business.


Google last week teamed up with Asus, HP and Dell to offer a suite of video conferencing tools for businesses called Chromebox for Meetings.

The system is based on the Intel Core i7 processor and includes a 1080p HD camera module, a microphone, a speaker unit and an RF remote control

CBR tells you five things you need to know about the new system.

1. The aim

Google's goal is to target the business market segment that it believes is in need of an easy to deploy and manageable video solution at an affordable price.

2. The business model

The system, which relies on the same technology as Google's free Hangouts feature for video chats within Google+, is available in the United States today for $999. It will be released in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the UK later this year.

Users must also pay a $250 annual service and management fee on top of that, though the first year is included in the product's sales price. In return, Google said it will provide an undisclosed level of SLA guarantees and software upgrades.

3. The competitors

The device puts the company into competition with Cisco, Logitech, PolyCom, Avaya and Vidyo and other up and coming video conferencing vendors.

4. The benefits

Google has taken a low-cost approach that is designed to integrate with Google apps including Hangouts, Google Calendar and Gmail.

The search engine company says you can set up your entire room in minutes and manage all meeting rooms from a browser-based management console.

The integration with apps makes it easy to invite others and add rooms to video meetings, while the display shows the schedule for the room and when a room is available. Sharing screens from different devices can also be done wirelessly, so there is no need for any cords or adapters.

Rich Costello, a senior research analyst at IDC who specialises in unified communications, said: "The price point is compelling and it delivers HD video and high-quality audio, so it is likely to get a look by business organisations, especially the small to mid level (SMBs) who already use Google Apps.

"Video at the desktop and on mobile devices is growing, but also being able to work together in a central location, with other locations, in an intuitive and collaborative way is still a requirement for many businesses, as part of their overall videoconferencing strategy."

5. The drawbacks

The lack of enterprise offerings could make it difficult to grab market share against the leading providers.

Costello added: "The lack of a Google business-grade voice platform means that organisations will need to maintain a separate voice system and integrate it via third-party solutions with Google collaborative applications.

"For enterprises looking for a single IT provider to deliver the whole range of products, Google is most likely not what they are looking for."



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