How productive was your last Google Hangouts experience?
Today, Google is taking the next step in their journey to deliver more comprehensive Unified Communications and Collaboration experiences to the corporate environment. The Search Engine and technology giant just unveiled their innovative new conferencing system, which comes packed with all the latest technology you need to create a fully-immersive meeting room.
The system comes with speakers, a camera, and the software required to integrate with “Google Hangouts Meet”, which is Google’s latest video conferencing solution. Basically, it’s an upgrade to the equipment that Google introduced back in 2014, but as you might expect, the era of digital transformation means that this new release is pretty impressive from a tech standpoint.
Introducing Your New Meeting Room
The new conference room equipment package is designed to make it easier for companies around the world to broadcast and conduct meetings in a range of settings. While it contains all the standard video conferencing tools you might expect, it also comes with a host of extras like a touch-screen tablet that automatically syncs up with your Google Calendar. That means that you can instantly set-up a follow-up call when you’re still in the middle of your meeting.
The system costs about $2,000 initially, plus a further $250 annually for the subscription, and it seems to be Google’s answer to some of the other meeting experiences that are being introduced by other major players around the world. After all, Cisco has their Spark lineup, Facebook has its Workplace software, Microsoft has Skype for Business, and now Google has a more fully-comprehensive experience with Hangouts Meet.
Upgrading Your Next Hangout
Up until now, companies have been able to access the Google Hangouts “Meet” strategy for conducting online video meetings without any need to invest in additional gear. Of course, you can continue to do that from this point onwards if you want to, too. However, Google believes that you can’t really get the full experience with the standard camera and microphone on your laptop.
According to the Google Product Management Director, Scott Johnston, the standard business setup might offer an inferior experience to companies who want a truly immersive experience from their meetings. On the other hand, Google’s new conference package comes complete with a wide-lens camera that can show everyone in your room – something that simply isn’t possible with a low-res laptop camera.
Google is hoping that their business customers will see the value of investing in their new gear when it comes to replacing old conferencing units and phones that are no longer delivering the next-level experience that so many companies crave in today’s digital-first era. It’s likely that the Google equipment will have a range of advantages to offer, based on the fact that it’s compatible with various Google apps, such as the Google Drive for storing past meetings.
A Team Effort for Google?
While Google is the brand 100% responsible for the new conferencing gear, several hardware companies have gotten involved designing the equipment available in the bundle. For instance, the Chromebox computer that powers the system was created by Asus, while the camera was built by Huddly, and the touchscreen came from Mimo, a display technology brand.
Google created the speaker themselves, which comes from technology made by Limes Audio, a Swedish startup that Google purchased this January. Apparently, the technology helps to eliminate ambient noise and echoes, but if you want to test the whole package out for yourself, then you’ll need to sign up as a G Suite subscriber first.
Right now, the equipment is only available through Google, though there may be hope that we’ll see the tech in retail stores one day. For now, it exists purely as a part of the G Suite collection of workplace hardware and software pitched alongside the Jamboard digital whiteboard.