Upgraded Chromebox for Meetings brings bigger presence to larger conference rooms

Chromebox for Meetings

If your team is growing, and you need a better video conferencing solution to collaborate with external clients and remote workers, Google's updated Chromebox for Meetings promises better audio, camera and display support than the original version.

Priced at $1,999 (£1,272, AU$2,594), the new hardware package costs twice as much as the original solution Google unveiled earlier this year. The new package includes a Chromebox, two USB microphones, support for dual displays and an camera with tilt, pan and zoom support.

Chromebox for Meetings

Even though the cost may sound steep, especially for small businesses, Google is also throwing in the first year of support and management fees into the price.

Going big

Google says that the secondary microphone and the new cameras will be a great addition for larger conference spaces, allowing everyone to be seen and heard.

"Chromebox for meetings now supports larger meeting rooms, so groups of up to twenty can seamlessly sync with colleagues around the world and still feel like they're in the same place," Google said in a statement.

Additionally, with a full screen mode, presentations can take center stage with Chromebox for Meeting. With dual displays, you can have the presentation take up one entire screen. This eliminates the problem of having participants' Hangouts icons obscuring the view of the bottom of a presentation slide.

IT administrators can also delegate administration duties and remotely monitor the health of Chrome devices.

Small meeting spaces become big battleground

Small conference rooms are becoming lucrative markets for video conferencing solutions. While Google's solution uses Chrome OS on the Chromebox, HP recently unveiled a similar package with a Windows-powered mini Collaboration PC and the appropriate audio and video hardware required to get a conference call started.

Microsoft is another big name in the field. The company recently launched the all-in-one Surface Hub, which comes with its own stylus, display and conferencing peripherals built into an 84-inch screen. Powered by Windows 10, the Surface Hub is priced at $19,999 (£12,733, AU$25,959). Microsoft also has a smaller 55-inch version of the Surface Hub that costs $6,999 (about £4,600, AU$5,350).

There are also smaller players, such as Aver and Logitech, which builds integrated cameras, speakers and microphones, but don't include the Chromebox or mini PC or NUC boxes. These solutions are more affordable alternatives, starting at $500 (£449, AUD$633).