Google on Thursday announced plans to take over your office meeting room with a low-cost solution dubbed Chromebox for Meetings. As the name implies, the initiative is comprised of a Chromebox powered by Intel’s fourth generation Core-i7 processor, a microphone / speaker combo, a remote control and a high-definition webcam.
Caesar Sengupta, the vice president of product management for Chromebooks, said Google came up with the idea as a solution to their own teleconferencing problems. Today's systems are too complicated for most regular users and it usually starts when trying to add additional remote users, he said.
What’s more, existing teleconferencing systems don’t offer any way of letting others know who has joined the conference, if someone is entering or leaving or if an individual is even paying attention. True enough, those random “beep beep” sounds you hear can be rather confusing, especially for someone not accustomed to such calls.
Such difficulties and annoyances are a thing of the past with Chromebox for Meetings thanks to some pretty common-sense features. For example, the system is able to highlight the video of the person that is currently speaking. Users can also share their screen during a meeting.
Up to 15 people can join a single session at any given time and only one user needs a Chromebox to set everything up. Others can participate in the call via a mobile device, notebook or a desktop. Even those using traditional conference call setups can participate with a special tool.
Pricing starts at $999 per meeting room and includes free service for one year. After that, businesses will need to fork over $250 per year. The search giant is partnering with Asus, Dell and Hewlett-Packard initially. We’re told that systems are available immediately.