As a small business CIO, video conferencing has traditionally been split into 2 extremes:
- Expensive solutions of enterprise vendors like Polycom and Cisco
- Consumer experience of using the webcam in your laptop with something like Skype or Google Hangouts
I’m excited to see that some technologies are starting to popup in between these — things like:
- High-quality, affordable cameras like the $250 Logitech BCC950 (nice solution for small conference room, http://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/conferencecam?crid=1545) and the $1,000 PTZ from VDO360 that has impressive video quality (great solution for a 20-person conference room, http://vdo360.net/p/vptzh-01/)
- Small computers like the Lenovo M73-Tiny (http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/desktops/thinkcentre/m-series-tiny/) and the Google Chromebox, which can be mounted behind a wall-mounted TV to connect to a video-conferencing solution like GoToMeeting or WebEx
- Back in Feb 2014, Google announced their Chromebox for Meetings, which is impressive — it includes hardware (except a TV) for video and audio conferencing, and is $250/year for service (which is cheaper than GoToMeeting or WebEx)
I’d like to see solutions that better integrate with Microsoft (MS) Exchange/Outlook — perhaps Lync will add integrated audio conferencing and the ability to run on Chrome OS. Chromebox for Meetings looks like a great solution, but small businesses who use Microsoft Exchange would struggle to use Chromebox for Meetings without having users connect with their personal gmail accounts, which isn’t a professional experience.
The problem is that Microsoft and Google are trying to increase the value of their ecosystem, so integration isn’t a top priority.