Google has carried over its popular Google+ Hangouts feature to the office environment.
Google’s video conferencing solution was until now limited to the Cloud, but Chromebox for Meetings has been designed to be a standalone solution.
Google Enterprise A/NZ managing director, Kevin Ackhurst, said the company has had its own internal solution for several years and is now making it available to other companies in Australia.
“The experience is similar to video conferencing, but at a much lower price point and with some features that similar products don’t have,” he said.
Ackhurst said the solution is not targeting specific verticals in Australia, and it should appeal to any business that wants to host online meetings.
“Where it makes the most sense is not necessarily the people where the whole business is confined to a single building, but buildings or employees in multiple locations,” he said.
Chromebox for Meetings is also designed for environments where a PC may not be located and the can be dedicated to the video conferencing function.
eHealth is a sector where video conferencing is gaining support in Australia, and Ackhurst said Chromebox for Meetings is well positioned for it.
“A GP can use it to immediately speak to a specialist or contact someone else for advice,” he said.
The tendency for certain businesses has been to adopt Skype as a video conferencing solution, though Ackhurst said said the appeal of Chromebox for Meetings is the superior quality.
“It offers HD outcome if you have the right networking in place,” he said.
“Even if you don’t, the service has the ability to adjust to the available network bandwidth depending on whether you are using a phone, computer or Chromebox.”
Chromebox for Meetings has also been designed to enable six to eight people to simultaneously participate in meetings.
“A Skype call may not necessarily give you that experience unless all of the people are in the same room,” Ackhurst said.
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The price angle
There are already numerous video conferencing solutions on the market, particularly those catering to the office environment.
As for how Chromebox for Meetings aims to stand out from the competition, Ackhurst said the pricing is more competitive than those of other vendors.
“It falls in the $1500 range for a complete package suited for a single room, so it’s at a price point where you will consider whether to implement this type of solution,” he said.
The integration of collaboration tools is another aspect that Ackhurst expects the solution to stand out from the competition, as it “offers a better experience than those of other products.”
Google for the enterprise are distributed through the channel, and Ackhurst said the same approach applies for Chromebox for Meetings.
“The difference in this case is a distributor led model will be used, as there is hardware components associated with the solution,” he said.
Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.