In the next few weeks, Google is about to launch its Chromebox service, a range of products using the tech giant’s web browser to act as a hub for conference calling. In production, Google extolled the virtues of its latest innovation, promising that it would be fast, easy to use and efficient, but what does it involve and cost?
For customers in the UK, the Chromebox package includes a HD web camera, puck-shaped speaker, microphone, remote control and other pieces of hardware to help boost storage space. While all of that sounds incredibly useful, the cost of this package is an eye-watering $999, coming in at close to £600. For larger firms, this represents just a drop in the ocean, but SMEs might see it differently.
Value For Money?
Although conference calling is fast becoming integral to the inner workings of most businesses, paying through the nose for it is something a huge number of smaller businesses feel they cannot afford. A survey recently conducted by Conference Genie found that 54% of SMEs in the UK with no more than 10 employees said that £600 amounted to more than their annual IT budget.
In addition to that, just 23% of those companies taking part said they would even consider spending money on conference calling, as part of an overall bid to improve their efficiency and remote working practices. This may lead you to ask the question of whether Chromebox is actually worth forking out for. The $999 fee only covers a year’s subscription, rather than just being a one-off payment, perhaps making it look even less like value-for-money.
The Cost Of Big Data
Market researchers like Gartner found that spending on anything related to big data is likely to go through the roof. Businesses worldwide are expected to increase spending on IT in general by £2.3tn, with a lot of that on tech which could be considered to be data-heavy. With Chromebox seeming so appealing to many businesses, a lot of that increase could be down to that.
Conference calling in all its forms uses a lot of data, which for companies with limited resources is likely to add to their expenses. In order to boost capacity for conference calling, this could mean forking out for a superfast broadband connection and additional software, either piece by piece or as part of a package such as Chromebox, but is there another way?
Communication On The Cheap
Businesses who want to communicate with clients or colleagues from far afield without having to travel face a big dilemma. While spending money on Chromebox or something similar is expensive, it would at least give them something to facilitate a conference call. Online-based alternatives are, however, available.
It’s possible to make conference calling work for small businesses without having to break the bank for something as seemingly expensive as Chromebox. What it could involve is looking to the internet for alternatives. Using online software, for example, could help to be a major money saver for small businesses trying to keep costs down, while it would also provide some much-needed convenience.
Relying on the Internet for conference calling services may seem a little absurd, but in terms of trying to save time and money, it’s essential for SMEs. If going for something more physical like Chromebox, it could mean that your business spends more money than is necessary for a service which, if used in the right way, could be free of charge.