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1. Google Chromecast Vs Zoapi Hub

What are the differences between Google Chromecast and Zoapi? #

Chromecast is a highly successful casting product from Google. Chromecast is built for home usage for casting screens and applications such as YouTube, Netflix, etc. While some enterprises also use Chromecast in their meeting rooms, it has its limitations in a corporate environment as it doesn’t quite hold up under heavy load.

In this article, we will explore the differences between Google’s Chromecast and Zoapi meeting room solutions.

Hardware, Software and Operating System #

Chromecast is a custom hardware running on an embedded processor and embedded operating system. Chromecast has a smaller form factor compared to a lot of other competition. This makes it easy to connect and install. Chromecast is powered by an AC adapter and gets connected to your TV over HDMI.

Zoapi is a Windows 10 based software that can run on any PC with Windows 10 OS. Zoapi also provides preinstalled devices (which comes as hardware and software combination) on Intel mini-PCs through its resellers. Alternatively, Zoapi software can be bought for as low as $10 per month and can be run on any off the shelf PC or mini-PC to convert that device into a complete meeting room solution.

Wireless Presentation #

Chromecast has native support for screen sharing on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and Chromebook. On laptops (Windows, MAC, and Linux) Chromecast supports screen mirroring through the Chrome browser. Some android phones have native support for casting the screen and on other phones, you can cast screen using Google home app. Casting screen from iPhones and iPad is a challenge through Chromecast as iOS does not have Chromecast support for casting the screen. Most of the streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix etc has a casting option within the app. But this cast button will only stream the content on the Chromecast device but not mirror the screen.

One of the biggest limitations of Chromecast for screen sharing is that it does not support secure PIN. Anyone on the network can share their screen from anywhere. This is a serious problem in meeting rooms as anyone outside the meeting room can disturb the ongoing meeting.

Zoapi provides native apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Zoapi also supports Airplay and Chromecast protocols (with help of third party application) which can be used for app-less screen sharing from iOS, Android, Chromebook, Windows, Mac and Linux devices. Zoapi’s advanced device discovery mechanism supports hassle-free screen sharing from devices connected to different isolated networks. Zoapi support secure PIN for connecting to Zoapi Hub, thus, making it impossible for users to share without being present in the meeting room.

Network Configuration #

Chromecast can be connected to the network through Wi-Fi or through Ethernet using an Ethernet adapter. But configuring Chromecast to work on the complex enterprise network is a big challenge. Chromecast uses the MDNS discovery mechanism and expects both Chromecast and the client device to be on the same subnet. If both the devices are behind different NAT layers then your laptops/phones may not list the Chromecast devices. Since Chromecast support only one network, you cannot connect both corporate and guest network simultaneously. One more challenge of using Chromecast on the corporate network is it does not support proxy configuration.

One of the major advantages of Zoapi is that it supports multiple isolated network configuration, simultaneously. It supports up to 4 different networks. Your corporate Ethernet and Guest Ethernet can be connected to the Zoapi device. The Zoapi device can be connected to another wifi, as per the need.

Zoapi Hub also provides an internal wifi access point for the Guest users to connect and share easily.

Zoapi’s advanced device discovery mechanism allows you to connect to any Zoapi device from your laptops, connected to different networks with just a 4 digit PIN. This eliminated the hassle of having to select from a confusing list of discovered devices or entering a complicated IP address. Since Zoapi has its own device discovery mechanism, Zoapi screen share works even when the devices are behind different NAT layers. Zoapi also supports proxy network configuration for easy setup in a corporate environment.

 Video Conferencing & Collaboration Apps #

Chromecast a consumer screencasting solution, whereas Zoapi is a complete meeting room solution combining all the meeting room essential features in a single product.

Chromecast does not support video conferencing and other collaboration apps. Zoapi leverages the underlying Windows platform for providing its users with a complete meeting room solution.

With Zoapi you can use your favorite video conferencing applications such as Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, Webex, Bluejeans and many more. In addition to this, Zoapi supports all the major Windows-based collaboration tools. With an app like Softphone Pro, you can even remove the conventional phones on your meeting room tables.

 Cloud Management #

Since Chromecast is a consumer device and expected to be used for personal use, it does not provide any cloud management tools.

Zoapi provides a cloud admin dashboard that can be used for status monitoring, managing and configuring the devices, configuring digital signage features, integrating room calendars, managing Room scheduler application and viewing and exporting detailed stats and analytics on room usage.

Zoapi dashboard also provides an App Store for installing, upgrading and managing third party video conferencing and collaboration applications.

Zoapi cloud services can also be installed on the on-premise server for large enterprises.

Calendar Integration & Room Scheduler #

Chromecast does not support any calendar integration as it is not designed to be used in meeting rooms.

With Zoapi, you can integrate your meeting rooms and classrooms to your room calendar and view all the meetings booked in rooms, access the meeting description, and other information on the device, launch scheduled video conferencing calls using the meeting link, etc. Zoapi Hub also provides onscreen meeting reminders based on your meeting times.

Zoapi provides a room scheduler app license along with it’s Premium Plan. The room scheduler app can be used on any android tablet to convert it to an on-door meeting room management system. The app indicates if the room is available, booked or occupied by changing its background color. You can also book ad-hoc meetings while walking into the room with a single click.

Price #

Chromecast is priced at $70.

Zoapi uses the SaaS business model to convert your Capex expenditure to Opex expenditure. Zoapi has two plans Lite and Premium. The Lite plan is priced at $10 per month and the Premium plan is priced at $15 per month.

The Zoapi Hub software can be installed on any Windows 10 based, Intel machine. This is not just cost-effective, but you can also reuse your existing hardware. Zoapi Hub Plug and Play devices are also available as a pre-installed version on Intel mini-PCs through our resellers.

Summary #

Chromecast is a hardware-based cost-effective product for screencasting, and streaming for personal use. If you a looking to enable screencasting and streaming on your home TV, then Chromecast is the best available solution.

If you are looking for a complete meeting room solution with wireless presentation, video conferencing, calendaring, room scheduling, with collaboration tools that work on multiple enterprise and guest networks, then Zoapi delivers everything you need.

Zoapi also comes as a Saas solution that can convert any of your general PC or mini PC into a complete meeting room AV equipment.

Not just that, taking into account the Opex expenses instead of Capex expenses, Zoapi is a scalable solution with a clear ROI.

Note: All information provided here is collected online from the webpages and public forums. Features, numbers may vary depending on the product and time.

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