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Could the Chromebook Take Over for the Office Phone?

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Could the Chromebook Take Over for the Office Phone?

June 30, 2014
By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

When the Chromebook first started to emerge, there was some skepticism around the device. A laptop with comparatively slim local storage that focused on the cloud was a radical departure from previous models, and some wondered just how well such a thing would ultimately be received. But the device soon proved itself useful in other ways, and made some reconsider in retrospect. But now, there's a new application for the Chromebook that could change a few more minds, according to new word from Smallbiztrends. Specifically, it's Twilio CX for Chromebooks, and it may be able to turn the Chromebook into an office phone system in its own right.

What's catching a lot of interest around this, at last report, was that originally Twilio (News - Alert)'s system was geared toward the call center, but with the new Twilio CX for Chromebooks, a complete cloud-based system can be established to offer a fairly complete Web-based phone system that comes complete with several extra features. On tap is text messaging, the ability to record or even transcribe a call, and the ability to conference up to 40 users at once.

That's an impressive package, but reports further suggest that the system can be set up in a matter of minutes, all through a standard Chromebook browser. Since the whole thing runs through a cloud service, that offers some specific advantages on its own, including fairly regular updates so as to keep up with competing cloud-based services. For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as call centers, this is the kind of thing that could prove very welcome. Couple on some potential new tax issues involved with deductions of capital investments, by some reports, and the idea of switching to a cloud-based system gets a lot more merit.

Of course, some here might ask why a Chromebook would be necessary to do this. After all, surely many of the same functions can be offered over a standard laptop, with the added advantages of improved processor power and more local storage, in many cases. But it may be that the Chromebook idea of this isn't good so much for its own sake so much as it is good for a base point from which to work. The idea of a phone system that can be run on a computer isn't exactly a new one; advancements in Web-based real time communications (WebRTC) and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) systems have given us a better possibility than ever to run most of our voice communications through an Internet connection. Certainly, no business would refuse all the extra connectivity, and the extra features certainly couldn't hurt like the fairly large-scale conferencing capabilities.

Even if the idea of Twilio CX for Chromebooks doesn't drive a lot of businesses to turn to Chromebooks, the concept of more cloud-based calling services is one that has plenty of merit in its own right. It's the kind of thing where only time will tell just how well it all works in the end, but at the end of the day, it's a good idea, even if the execution may not quite go off well.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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