Feeds

Google invades videoconferencing market with Chromebox for Meetings

Wants to put $1,000 device in every meeting room

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Google is making a play for the videoconferencing market – and hoping to get ChromeOS to be more widely used – with a special version of its Chromebox desktop computer designed specifically for remote meetings.

Chromebox for Meetings

$1,000 – display not included

"Meetings rooms haven't really changed that much for last 25 years. Even when you want to change one by adding videoconferencing it turns out to be incredibly expensive and very complicated," Google VP of product management Caesar Sengupta told The Register.

"Over the years we've learned a lot about video meeting systems because we put them in our rooms on campus, and based on that, we've built a complete video meeting system that runs on top of Chrome hardware, and that's what we've bought to market at a fairly disruptive price."

That price is $1,000 and a $250-per-year service charge, which gets you a Chromebox system using a Core i7 processor to handle the heavy codec load, plus HDMI and DisplayPort sockets, four USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, and 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless connections. Also included is a fixed HD 1080p camera, a remote control with a keyboard built onto its back, and an omnidirectional microphone/speaker unit.

The system can handle calls from up to 15 other participants, and outsiders without the hardware can dial in via a Gmail account, or use other videoconferencing systems running H.323/SIP protocols using a plugin from Vidyo. Laptop screens can be added for viewing wirelessly, and telephone users can also dial in for audio conferences.

Sengupta said setting up the device was "as far from complicated as you can get," and at that price he expected to see companies of all sizes adding videoconferencing to their meeting rooms. But, if the last few decades are anything to go by, he could be in for a long wait.

Back in 1994, PictureTel started selling videoconferencing kits, consisting of a circuit board for a PC, a camera, and an ISDN line. Since then, many manufacturers have tried to make videoconferencing popular, with a notable lack of success.

For many years call quality was the biggest issue – getting chips powerful enough so the units' codecs wouldn't introduce speech lag, and getting communications lines good enough for the video. But even with these issues largely fixed, there seems to be a human problem behind the lack of uptake in videoconferencing.

That said, Google's going all in with the Chromebox, and Dell and HP will ship their own versions in the next few months. Launched on Thursday in the US, Google's system will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, and the UK next year, and Sengupta said that channel sales would be a big route to market for the firm. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.