We’ve seen Google pushing quite hard to push new features and updates to its Meet software to bolsters its usage around the world to take advantage of people around the world now needing to communicate more regularly with others from their homes. It’s not just about improving their features and making them available to more people though as the company has teamed up with Google to ensure new video conferencing hardware can be built for them too.
The new gear includes a small computer that runs the calls, an external speaker, and, depending on which configuration you buy, you can also get a camera and a touch screen. The computer called the Google Meet Compute System, has an Intel Core i7 processor, a 128GB SSD, and a magnetic chassis so you can attach it to the included stand or more easily mount it out of sight, according to ASUS. It also has a number of ports, which you can be seen in the image below:
The hardware is completely over the top for the average home user and is more designed for conference rooms in offices that rely on Google Meet as their videoconferencing tool of choice. Given that going into the office itself is a bit of a difficulty for many and that working from home is becoming the new standard it does seem a little silly, but it’s probably worth it for companies to replace their already expensive video conferencing equipment with something cheaper that makes us of more video conferencing software and doesn’t need another expensive system elsewhere to communicate with. It would be nice if it could work with other videoconferencing software like Zoom or Teams as well, but it looks like this is designed exclusively to work with Google’s Meet only.
There are three different kits available, an initial starter kit and small room kit which are designed for small rooms up to eight people that provides a camera with a 120-degree field of view and the ability to zoom in up to 4X without losing 720p image quality. A Large Room Kit is also available that is designed for rooms of up to 20 people and features a Logitech PTZ Pro 2 camera with 1080p video and 10X Zoom.
All these kits come slightly north of $2000 (R34000), which is actually rather cheap for this kind of technology, even if you factor in the usual import and shipping fees that will likely be added on if and when they become available in South Africa.
Last Updated: May 21, 2020