Amazon Chime screenshot
Has Amazon Chime uncovered the secret sauce for "frustration free meetings?" PHOTO: Amazon

Amazon has unveiled Chime, a communications platform that’s ready to battle it out with the likes of Skype, Hangouts, GoToMeeting and WebEx.

In a blog post announcing the platform this month, Amazon makes the heady promise Chime will deliver "frustration-free online meetings" and "close the gaps between us."

It described Chime as "a modern, fully-managed communications service from AWS that makes it easy for you to communicate with people inside and outside your organization using voice, video and chat." 

Amazon Chime Features

According to the Synergy Research Group, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the undisputed market leader for both the public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud market — and Amazon is hoping Chime can help solidify those leading positions. 

Chime’s key features include VoIP calling, video messaging, instant messaging, virtual meetings and drag-and-drop file sharing.  

The communications platform also boasts an administration console where users can monitor usage reports, add and remove users from the organization, and perform basic end-user support tasks like assigning new meeting PINs.

Furthermore, Chime allows users to leverage existing deployments of Microsoft Active Directory to authenticate users. This allows authenticated users to log in with their existing corporate username and password — so there’s no need to re-register.

Amazon Chime also keeps meetings and chats — all of which are encrypted — synchronized across devices. That means users can move seamlessly between desktop and mobile devices using operating systems like Android, iOS, Mac and Windows. It offers video conferencing for up to 16 people on desktop, or 8 people on mobile devices.

The Chime Difference

As the news of Amazon Chime broke, Gene Farrell, Amazon’s Vice President of Enterprise Applications, weighed in on what makes Chime stand out from the ever-growing crowd of communications solutions:

"It's pretty hard to find people who actually like the technology they use for meetings today. Most meeting applications or services are hard to use, deliver bad audio and video, require constant switching between multiple tools to do everything they want, and are way too expensive," He said.

"Amazon Chime delivers frustration-free meetings, allowing users to be productive from anywhere. And with no ongoing maintenance or management fees, Amazon Chime is a great choice for companies that are looking for a solution to meetings that their employees will love to use."

Chime can initiate calls to participants, avoiding the annoyance of people forgetting to call in. With a single tap or click, participants can join or notify others that they are running late.

Chime offers a visual roster that shows who is in the meeting and who is running late, and allows anyone to mute background noise. It also automatically reconnects participants if they get dropped from the calls. 

Amazon Chime Pricing

For its first foray into virtual meeting management, Amazon has laid out three flavors of Chime:

  1. Free Edition: Chime's free plan supports voice and video calls but lacks features like usage reports and screen sharing.
     
  2. Plus Edition: this plan comes with user management, Active Directory (AD) support and 1GB of message retention. $2.50 per user, per month.
     
  3. Pro Edition: this plan builds upon the Plus Edition with screen sharing and video that scales out to as many as 100 users, along with an unlimited VoIP service. $15 per user per month.

(Interested in learning more about digital workplace products like Chime? Want to share thoughts about the challenges and opportunities impacting the new digital worlds where we work? Join us for Digital Workplace Experience June 19 to 21 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. Simpler Media Group, Inc., publisher of CMSWire and creator of DX Summit, and boutique consultancy Digital Workplace Group (DWG) are working as strategic partners to present #DWEXP17.)