Google has announced it's Chromebox which offers low-cost room-based videoconferencing.
Google's Chromebooks are cheap, lightweight notebooks designed for web apps such as Google Docs. They are reasonably well known in Australia even if the actual products haven't proved hugely successful. But the Chromebox? So far, not so much.
That could be about to change. Chromeboxes are quite cheap (those sold at retail from Asus start at around $300), and someone at Google has twigged that they sufficiently low priced to be offered as the heart of special-purpose 'appliances'. Hence Chromebox for meetings.
Chromebox for meetings is a low-cost ($1,450) videoconferencing system. It comprises a Chromebox, 1080p camera, microphone/speaker, remote control (incorporating a QWERTY keypad). There's an annual 'management and support fee' of $300, but the first year is included in the purchase price.
Setup takes minutes, Google claims, and joining a meeting is a matter of clicking the remote.
Chromebox for meetings uses Google+ Hangouts, and allows up to 15 participants per meeting. Those participants can use Chromebox for meetings, or (with a Gmail account) their computer, tablet or smartphone.
Interoperability with traditional standards-based videoconferencing and VoIP systems is available via Vidyo's VidyoH2O for Google+ Hangouts, while UberConference integration means people can join your conference from a phone (audio only) by calling a Sydney number, providing you have a UberConference Pro or Business account, which costs from $US10 per month.