New Acer All-in-One Chromebase Is Designed for Video Conferencing

The Chromebase for meetings includes a 24-inch display, speakers, microphones, camera, software and service in a single Chrome OS-based system.

Acer all-in-one

Acer is rolling out an all-in-one Chrome OS system dedicated to video conferencing, the latest addition to Google's larger Chrome for Work initiative designed to push the operating system into the enterprise space.

The system is a touchscreen Chromebase with a 24-inch display that includes the necessary hardware, software and services in a single device, and it comes backed with technical support from Acer. It's designed for businesses that want to bring video conferencing capabilities to smaller meeting rooms, according to company officials. The Chromebase for meetings system can support up to 25 people in a Google Hangout across multiple devices, from notebooks and tablets to smartphones.

"So now, you can collaborate and meet over video from a dedicated device at home, your desk at work or a phone room," Vidya Nagarajan, senior product manager for Chrome for Work at Google, wrote in a post on the search giant's blog. "Chromebase for meetings gets technology out of the way; just plug it in, connect it to your network and you're up and running securely."

Google two years ago introduced Chromebox for meetings, a system designed for video and audio collaboration that has to be connected to a display. A range of system vendors, including Acer and Hewlett-Packard, rolled out Chromebox for meetings offerings, and according to Nagarajan, companies like Pinterest and PwC, and the state of Wyoming government, adopted the products.

With Chromebase for meetings, Acer and Google are taking the need to connect to a display out of the equation, putting everything into a single package. The 24-inch display on the all-in-one system includes Full HD (1920-by-1080) capabilities, four microphones and two speakers. There also is an adjustable HD webcam and a chassis that can tilt. Participants can join the meeting through a link.

The system, with the Chrome OS, will automatically update every six weeks, and the data stored on the device or in the cloud is encrypted and protected by the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 chip. Every time the operating system boots up, Verified Boot checks and ensures the integrity and validity of systems files, according to Acer officials.

Chromebase for meetings, which is available starting at $799, also can integrate with other video conferencing systems and existing phone systems, they said.

The new system comes at a time of transition for the video conferencing market. Big, expensive telepresence systems for large meeting rooms are giving way to software- and cloud-based offerings as workforces become more mobile and employees are demanding collaboration technologies that let them meet whenever and wherever they are, and on any device that they're using.

"Video continues to be a key component of collaboration and places high on the list of priorities for many organizations," Petr Jirovsky, research manager for IDC's Worldwide Networking Trackers unit, said in a statement in March. "Among the challenges customers are currently working through are determining exactly when and how to provision their video deployments as more software-centric and cloud-based service offerings become part of the enterprise video market landscape."

Established collaboration companies like Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Polycom are rapidly growing out their cloud and software portfolios, while smaller companies like Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network are looking to carve out space in the market.

There also is a growing emphasis on bringing video conferencing technologies into smaller meeting rooms where three to five people can congregate at a time. Industry analysts and vendors estimate there could be as many as 21 million small "huddle rooms" worldwide, and that fewer than 1 million of these rooms have video capabilities, opening up a huge market opportunity for companies like Acer and Google.