Chromebox for meetings

A simpler and less expensive solution for video conferencing 

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.

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.

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.

Source: Google Chrome Blog; Google

 
There are 18 comments

dovlek says:

Shut up and take my money!

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Jay Holm says:

Good! Spread the Chromecast!!!

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Zig261 says:

And just like with Chromebooks. Nobody except a couple hundred thousand people will buy them. You're wasting your time Google.

and $999 for the system sounds quite expensive for "low-cost".

This will easily go into Spring Cleaning by 2015.

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If you think that $999 including the cost of 1 year of 24/7 support is expensive, you haven't priced out video conferencing systems recently.

Elite1085 says:

Being in the Enterprise Video conferencing industry this is a fantastic price. Game changer.

eahinrichsen says:

I'm not in the video conferencing industry, but I know what my company (global pharma research) spends just on audio conferencing for my team alone, and $999 is a damn steal.

jakemyster84 says:

Go to cdw.com and search for "video conferencing kit" and then you will see that $999 is one hell of a deal. At more then half the cost of the least expensive solution they have available and including support for a year this is a steal. Companies can and will easily spend over $10,000 for video conferencing equipment in just one room without any support.

AidanCheddar says:

If there was ever an example of "did not do research", this would be it.

Hilarious: "couple hundred thousand" = "nobody", huh? Besides, your numbers are off...
Jan-Nov 2013 (11mo): 14.4 million PCs of all sorts sold, 923,000 being Chromebooks. That's a 6.4% market share for a gadget that didn't exist in retail a year before that period.
http://www.zdnet.com/new-u-s-sales-figures-show-the-changing-face-of-pcs...

I am what most people would consider as a power user, but I love my new Chromebook. So do the handful of "average" people I know who have gotten them. Near-instant boot to the desktop lets me get online, do what I need to do, and get out fast. When "average" people rather than just early adopters are getting onboard, that is a pretty good indicator that ChromeOS has gone mainstream and isn't likely to go away anytime soon.

I find myself cursing my Windows laptop now because it makes me wait, update, install, restart, and repeat so often just to do the 10% of my tasks that I can't yet do in the cloud. Note that I said "yet". (And I'm not even fighting that POS known as Windows 8 on that laptop.)

TomW093 says:

In all honesty, I could probably ditch my laptop for a Chromebook if not for two things. One, I need software to rip DVD's (and a large hard drive to store them, but I have an external drive anyway). Two, I have a 17" laptop because the larger keyboard makes typing papers for school a lot easier. When those two features come to Chromebooks, I may give them a serious look.

ACADM says:

I love my Chromebook that I've had since last weekend, however the downside is the inability for it to stream media from another device on the network.

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rvirga says:

Not true. One word for you: Plex.

The big corporate video conferencing services are gasping in fear right now. A friend of mine sells conferencing services for 'the' company and this stuff could mean the end of her corporate group, if not an extreme downsizing.

TomW093 says:

Any word on the level of security or encryption? I'm nowhere close to being in the market for this, just genuinely curious.

It looks like it'd be a pretty good setup. I think the Chrome ecosystem may be enough for some (certainly not all, yet) businesses.

Jas00555 says:

Why wouldn't you just buy an Xbox One? Microsoft has already said that they can be used for meetings and it'll already have integrated Skype with a 1080p camera for half the price.

scottyhifi says:

#1 is probably that this is focused on business users. It is an alternative to a Tandberg type system that could cost tens of thousands of dollars. An xbox is a gaming system and has very little use in a corporate environment.

Jas00555 says:

I would accept that argument if one of the executives at Microsoft didn't say "you could be seeing these in business meetings soon".