Cameyo: Fixing the Chromebook app critical path problem

If you’ve been struggling with converting to a more aggressively cloud-based alternative to your current desktop deployment, this young company appears to have a solution.

New Chromebook Features
TheDigitalArtist, modified by IDG Comm (CC0)

Several times a quarter, the same question comes up regarding Chromebooks, usually phrased as to whether or not they’re successful. What made the platform interesting was that even though Google typically has the attention span of a 4-year-old on sugar, they stuck with this platform. But it still mostly flies under the radar – largely because of the lack of native application support and Google’s reputation. Google sells information for a living, making people distrust the brand even…though there’s no evidence Google is compromising the privacy of Chromebook users.

The promise of the Chromebook has been compelling to mostly education buyers. However, interest appeared to fall off sharply as Google waffled on operating system futures (whether they would merge Android and Chrome operating systems) and native application support continued to favor the alternative (Android) platform and, of course, Windows.

Cloud-based solutions from firms like Citrix and VMware increased the cost of their deployments significantly and often, more than offsetting the cost advantages – and Chromebooks largely remained a niche product performing well below their apparent potential.

I recently took a briefing from a relatively young, internally funded company that appears to have a far-cheaper alternative to the existing cloud solutions. And while Cameyo is limited by their size and reach, they do have a solution I think is worth checking out. With the coming of both G5 and Wi-Fi 6, the performance problems associated with running applications in the cloud largely go away so if you can get the cost down for cloud deployments. And Chromebooks would seem to immediately become more attractive.

Cameyo: A more cost-effective desktop virtualization solution

Cameyo’s sustaining advantage is that they are far less complex and far less expensive than alternatives appear to be. In addressing whether a claim like this is true for a small company, I had to rely on reference accounts, and Cameyo provided four of them.

Homer School District

Since Chromebooks have been somewhat successful in education, I’m starting with the education reference. Homer School District had the common problem of what to do with legacy Windows apps when they migrated to Chromebooks. They had to maintain a large (700 PC) stable of outdated (mostly over 8-year-old) PCs that needed to be replaced and the District wanted to go with Chromebooks but couldn’t because they had four apps that had critical dependencies, were unique, and updating and migrating the apps was too expensive.

They wanted to use Google’s cloud, not unusual for a Chromebook deployment and needed a firm that was integrated with the Google cloud solution. The Cameyo solution allowed the school to eliminate a $35K lab that took 80 hours to set up and to move to Chromebooks more effectively. They report full investment recovery in two months largely due to the reduction of related costs.

ProSolutions

This is an interesting company in that it provides software for a large number of spas and salons nationwide. The use of a common software solution is common in many industries, including food services (fast food and restaurants), automotive (dealerships), retailers, and entertainment outlets (movie theaters, etc.).

As with most of these industries, the goal is to provide a low maintenance computer solution, like a Chromebook, with a centralized hosted solution that has little or no local maintenance or overhead.

But the ProSolution solution was client-based and to turn it into something that was designed for the cloud was going to cost them between $3 and $5M and take 12-18 months (and of these projects ever fall within budget because folks like to make last-minute changes). They had an even bigger concern; one of their competitors had tried to make this jump and failed miserably. They wanted their product, which worked fine, to work from the web; they didn’t want to create a new app.

They tried RDP but had issues with phones and tablets and found the Cameyo solution met their needs. It was simple, inexpensive, and fast which is what they wanted.

JTM Electrical Contractors

This is an electrical contractor company servicing the Chicago metropolitan (Chicagoland) area region. They had an interesting problem they were using QuickBooks Enterprise, which they liked, but wanted a cloud-based solution. QuickBooks Online didn’t meet their needs, and a hosted version of QuickBooks enterprise cost $150 per user per month, and they had a lot of users.

It still didn’t make economic sense to use Cameyo for QuickBooks Enterprise, but they discovered they could update a large number of apps and streamline their deployments. The added benefit is where they used to have a laptop to access these critical apps, they now can access them with a browser from any device that runs one. Cost for the solution was fully offset by licensing savings, and they got the added benefit of greater mobility.

CompuGroup Medical (CGM)

This organization is a massive eHealth provider covering 400K hospitals and insurers. Unfortunately, this case wasn’t complete as of this writing but will represent what appears to be Cameyo’s largest deployment to date.

The answer you’re looking for?

Often when looking at thin client deployments which are interesting again thanks to the interest in Chromebooks the cost of the solution is the deal killer. Cameyo, based on a case review, for the right kind of customer, maybe a way to offset this and basically have your Windows apps and your appliance like hardware too. While I ran into this solution looking for a lower cost Chromebook option it should work on anything with a standards based full feature browser making it useful for those that need something that is more mobile as well.

If you’ve been struggling with converting to a more aggressively cloud-based alternative to your current desktop deployment check out Cameyo. They are small, but that typically means you’ll get more of their attention. In any case, if a few apps are preventing your tablet, smartphone, or Chromebook deployment, they might have the answer you needed. Best of luck!

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