Last year, we predicted Google would launch a GoToMeeting competitor in 2014. The company delivered this month with Chromebox for Meetings and we couldn’t be happier!
The system, which combines software and hardware to deliver one seamless web conferencing experience, takes the best of Google Hangouts and Chrome OS, and brings users all-cloud, always-on video meetings.
Here at BetterCloud, we’ve gradually phased out GoToMeeting as much as possible, favoring Hangouts, but sometimes technical aspects like attendee limits and disparate video and audio make Hangouts unwieldy. That’s why we’ve already pre-ordered Chromebox for Meetings for our New York and Atlanta offices. And here are three more reasons why we think the new video-conferencing system should be your next IT investment.
Create a Consistent Environment in the Cloud
Running your organization on Google Apps means your users are living and working in the suite every day – particularly why we’ve tried to transition to Google Hangouts as much as possible. Using Hangouts instead of a separate tool like GoToMeeting has provided a more seamless, integrated experience. With Hangouts, it’s so easy to add a video call to a calendar invitation, start a call right from your inbox and even add and edit Google Docs from within the call.
Chromebox for Meetings maintains this consistent experience, while also delivering a state-of-the-art web conferencing service. The entire process of planning, scheduling and conducting a conference with Chromebox for Meetings exists within the Google cloud.
Chromebox for Meetings is not only another natural extension of the Google Apps suite, but the devices can actually contribute to increased productivity in the workplace. Chromebox for Meetings is fully integrated with Google Calendar, allowing users to easily book and view conference room schedules, avoiding the time-consuming, tedious back-and-forth scheduling most meetings entail. And, if another meeting is about to start in the same conference room, Chromebox for Meetings will even remind participants in the previous call to wrap up their meeting – keeping everyone on track and on time.
To that point, Chromebox for Meetings also helps to ensure meetings start on time by eliminating cumbersome PINs and passcodes, instead encrypting the call on the back-end. And for users who’d still like to dial-in to the call, Google partnered with UberConference to provide just this service.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Chromebox for Meetings provides an affordable solution to its often out-of-budget traditional competitors – a common theme seen in most Google products. For just $999, Chromebox for Meetings includes an Intel i7-based Chromebox, a Logitech HD camera which automatically adjusts its resolution based on bandwidth, a microphone, a remote control with full QWERTY keyboard and the ability to manage all Chromebox for Meetings through a central Chrome OS management console. This price also includes the $250 first year management fee.
So, when compared to traditional services like GoToMeeting or Webex, $468 and $588 per year respectively, you can see that there are huge savings to be had over time (not to mention the staggering costs of video-conferencing hardware from companies like CISCO and Polycom, which run well into the thousands).
We’re extremely excited to receive our Chromebox for Meetings and will follow up then with an unboxing post! Stay tuned.