Google Strikes While the Video Conferencing Iron is Hot

By mid-2013, the global enterprise video conferencing and telepresence market totaled $735 million—up six percent from the previous quarter and up eight percent from that time in 2012, according to Infonetics Research. Even more, the industry pundit states in a separate report that 87 percent of enterprises will have added video conferencing to their unified communications (UC) architecture by August of this year.

Needless to say, the video conferencing market is red-hot at the moment. As such, one of the world’s most well-known and renowned brands, Google, is looking to get a slice of the video conferencing pie with its latest innovation: Chromebox for Meetings, or what many are calling “Meeting-Room-In-A-Box.”

The development is being touted as the company’s first ever business video conferencing solution— complete with advanced features and functionalities such as high-definition (HD) teleconferencing and room for up to 15 people to speak at a time—at a shockingly low price point of only $999.

According to Google’s VP of Product Management Caesar Sengupta, this compact, low-cost system will be rivaling solutions that cost anywhere from $10,000 up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. “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, C.A., Forbes recently reported.

So, what can business users expect from this all-new solution? According to the solution’s official website, “Chromebox, plus everything you need for video meetings.” Forbes further reports that the system comes with a Chromebox computer with an Intel Core i7 processor, a camera, a speaker-microphone combo, a remote and software to run the system.

Additionally, its starting price of $999 (what the company is undoubtedly touting as its main differentiator) also includes the first year’s $250 management and support fee. This $250 fee will then be tacked on after the first year is up.

Google lists the top benefits of Chromebox for Meetings on its website, including:

  • Meetings with anyone, anywhere and on any device
  • Instant collaboration (“one click from your remote starts the conversation” the company explains)
  • Easy manageability

“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.”

What do you think of Google’s new Chromebox for Meetings? Whether you love it, hate it or feel indifferent about it, one thing is for sure: we have only just chipped away at the tip of a massive video conferencing iceberg. There is so much we have yet to explore in this ever-expanding space, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.


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