Google Launches $999 Meeting-Room-In-A-Box

Feb 6 2014, 1:44pm CST | by

Google Launches $999 Meeting-Room-In-A-Box

Google today introduced what’s essentially a meeting room in a box, a $999 system that provides high-definition teleconferencing for up to 15 people at a time.

Chromebox for meetings will take on business videoconferencing systems costing $10,000 up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Caesar Sengupta, a Google vice president of product management. The goal, he says, is to provide the next best thing to face-to-face meetings to companies that could never afford pricier systems from the likes of Polycom and Cisco Systems that are used by large companies.

“We’re trying to improve collaboration by making face-to-face communications much more affordable,” Sengupta said in an interview after a press event at Google headquarters in Mountain View.

The system, which includes a Chromebox computer with an Intel Core i7 processor, a camera, a speaker-microphone combo, a remote, and software to run the system, is available in the U.S. starting today from Asus, with systems from HP and Dell and sales in other countries–Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the U.K.–coming in the next few months. Companies need to provide their own screen, broadband connections, and of course a room.

After the first year, the ongoing support will cost $250 a year per room for the cloud-based service. Users need to have a Gmail or Google+ account to sign in and use the system. The system uses Google Calendar to show scheduled meetings on the screen, though a business needn’t be a user of Google Apps to use the system.

Sengupta repeatedly emphasized the ease of use of the system, which uses the Google Hangouts consumer videoconferencing service on the back end. Users need only sign into a meeting by a simple name, rather than dial in using long access codes. Remote users who aren’t in an outfitted room can join using Hangouts.

The product grew out of Google’s own frustrations in setting up and conducting meetings at its farflung offices around the world. “Most of our meeting rooms have videoconferencing systems in them now,” Senguta said. “It’s had a transforming impact on our culture. People can meet face to face. It’s improved the openness of the culture. So now, it’s kind of strange to just call someone up.”

The core of the system’s hardware is a small, sandwich-sized Chromebox computer, less powerful versions of which were launched just days ago by several manufacturers such as Asus and Samsung.

Several companies have been trying out the system for the last few months, including Costco, Eventbrite, Gilt, Yelp, and Premier Foods.

The Chromebox for meetings rooms can connect to rooms outfitted with traditional video conferencing systems using a new tool from Vidyo. Participants available only from phones can join meetings with a conference call number from UberConference.

Google’s enterprise business has been mostly a footnote to its massive advertising business. Some observers even think it’s mostly aimed at undercutting Microsoft’s business model. But with this and other products, it’s clear that Google will continue to offer more business-class products when it sees an opportunity.

Source: Forbes Business


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Indian American scientist develops path to brighter LCD displays
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Researchers led by an Indian-American have developed a polarising filter that can result in mobile device displays that last much longer on a single battery charge and cameras that can shoot in dim light.
Xi Jinping-Peng Liyuan love story goes viral on internet
Beijing, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) A music video that tells the story of the deep love between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan has gone viral on the internet with more than 22 million views in a week, the People's Daily reported Monday.
Italian doctor contracts Ebola in Sierra Leone
Rome, Nov 24 (IANS) A doctor working for a voluntary organisation in Sierra Leone has become the first Italian to contract Ebola, media reported Monday.
Complete fossil of small dinosaur found
Seoul, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) South Korean paleontologists have found a complete fossil of a small dinosaur in rare condition, the first such discovery of its kind in the country, according to the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage in Seoul.

Latest from the Network

Turkey rejects easing relations with Egypt
Istanbul, Nov 24 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that he rejected the reconciliation efforts for friendly relations with Egypt. Turkey does not accept the legitimacy of Egyptian President...
Read more on Politics Balla
US defence chief Chuck Hagel forced out
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) In a surprise development, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned Monday reportedly under pressure amid criticism of President Barack Obama's national security team over how to deal with...
Read more on Politics Balla
Bette Midler slams 'silly' Ariana Grande
Bette Midler has slammed Ariana Grande's ''silly high voice''. The 68-year-old actress hit out at the 21-year-old star's sexy music videos for being ''silly beyond belief'', and insists the 'Bang Bang' hitmaker's...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Demi Lovato: Me and Miley have nothing in common
Demi Lovato insists she and Miley Cyrus won't be friends again because they have nothing in common. The 22-year-old singers were good pals during their rise to fame but the 'Heart Attack' hitmaker admits that while she...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Indian American scientist develops path to brighter LCD displays
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Researchers led by an Indian-American have developed a polarising filter that can result in mobile device displays that last much longer on a single battery charge and cameras that can shoot...
Read more on Politics Balla
Kohl's Black Friday Sale launched Online
The Kohl's Black Friday 2014 sale starts at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day in stores, but has launched now on Kohl's offers again the popular $15 Kohl's Cash on every $50 spent in this year's Black Friday sale. This...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
Brenton Thwaites for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Brenton Thwaites will star in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales'. The star will play the role of British soldier Henry, beating fellow actors such as Ansel Elgort of 'The Fault In Our Stars' and George...
Read more on Movie Balla
Josh Hutcherson 'moves on' from young adult movies
Josh Hutcherson wants to ''move on'' from young adult films like 'The Hunger Games'. The 22-year-old actor - who has starred in four films based on the dystopian 'Hunger Games' novels since 2011 - plans to explore other...
Read more on Movie Balla
33 IS militants killed in Iraq's Mosul, two towns retaken (Roundup)
Baghadad, Nov 24 (IANS) At least 33 militants of the Islamic State (IS) died Monday in the Iraqi city of Mosul and the surrounding area, including a leader who was responsible for the sale of kidnapped Yazidi women,...
Read more on Politics Balla
Jailbreak in Argentina, 32 inmates escape
Buenos Aires, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) Thirty-two inmates escaped over the weekend from a police jail in Rosario, a city in central Argentina, police said Monday. The inmates broke out of the jail Sunday by threatening the...
Read more on Politics Balla