Computer Business Review

Will Google’s Chromebox for Meetings succeed in the corporate video conferencing market?

by Amy-jo Crowley| 11 February 2014

The system is powered by an Intel Core processor and comes with a HP camera and a speaker with a microphone.

Google's latest video conferencing system may struggle to compete against Cisco, Polycom and other leading providers despite its numerous features aimed at business users, according to a leading analyst.

The search company last week teamed up with Asus, HP and Dell to offer a suite of video conferencing tools for businesses that hosts video meetings for up to 15 people in different locations.

However, Rich Costello, a senior research analyst at IDC who specialises in unified communications, told CBR that Google's lack of enterprise offerings will make it difficult to compete against leading providers including Cisco, Polycom, Avaya and Vidyo.

"Generally speaking, Google's enterprise offerings have their heritage in the consumer space and Google's approach is to take its consumer products and make them enterprise-grade," he said.

"While this gives Google competitively priced products, it can leave gaps in its suite of enterprise offerings (e.g., contact centre). 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.

He added: "Google needs to continue expanding its channel and step up its marketing efforts to better communicate its products and roadmap. Working with large system integrators (SI) will help Google penetrate enterprise accounts and move beyond point solutions (e.g. bundling SI offerings with Google offerings)."

Chromebox for Meetings is available in the US today for $999 and will be made available in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the UK later this year.

Users can also pay a $250 annual service and management fee, though the first year is included in the product's sales price.

"The price point is compelling and it delivers HD video and high-quality audio, so it is likely to get a look by a lot business organisations, especially the small to mid level (SMBs) who already use Google Apps," said Costello.

"It does seem to fill a need for existing and future Google business customers, otherwise I don't think Google would have gone in a room system direction."


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