Amazon launches innovative virtual conference service Chime

Amazon is attempting to take on Skype for Business with Chime, its latest corporate-focused offering

Amazon's Chime service aims to address common issues with video conferencing, including onerous connection codes and background noise

Late on February 13, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of its latest business offering, Amazon Chime, a cloud-based service that “makes meetings easier and more efficient than ever before”. Through Amazon Chime, customers can have virtual meetings, make voice calls through VoIP, send video messages, or participate in web conferences from their mobile device or desktop.

Available on Windows and MacOS, as well as Android and iOS devices, Amazon Chime enters into direct competition with Microsoft’s Skype for Business. Other rivals within the unified communications arena include Cisco Systems’ WebEx, Google Hangouts and LogMeIn’s GoToMeeting.

Prices start with a basic package at $2.50 per month, rising to $15 for the highest tier service, which includes video and screen sharing features. Though a free service is also available, it is limited to video calls between just two users.

Chime could very well leapfrog established players in the unified communications industry

According to a press release published on AWS’ website, the service does not require users to enter a long pin when joining a meeting, while the recurrent issue of background noise is also eliminated through a muting option. When a user wishes to start a virtual meeting, all participants are called and can join at the simple click of a button. A visual roster of attendees also removes the frequent problem of not knowing when someone has been cut off.

AWS boasts that its new service features high-quality video and audio, as well as a reliable connection. “Amazon Chime takes frustration out of meetings”, the press release claimed. Further, with no management or ongoing maintenance fees, and at around a third of the cost of traditional service providers, Chime could very well leapfrog established players in the unified communications industry.

Indeed, disrupting established industries has become a norm for Amazon. From its online shopping platform to its Kindle e-reader, Amazon’s use of razor thin margins, even when offering the best platform or technology on any given market, have set the company apart from even the most established competitors. Chime is but the latest example of the tech giant’s incredibly successful model, which may see rivals scramble, but ultimately works in favour of the consumer.

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