With an increasingly remote workforce, more companies are jumping on the bandwagon to ensure collaboration within and beyond office walls. On the heels of this comes an announcement from Amazon that they have launched a product that competes directly with Google Hangouts and Skype--Amazon Chime.
What is Amazon Chime?
Amazon Chime is described by Amazon 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."
Chime is a collaborative meeting space that takes Skype and Hangouts to the next level, deriving inspiration from Slack with its mobile-friendly functionality. With Chime, users can screenshare from any device and experience face to face meetings without any necessary software to deploy.
Now available to all customers, its foundation upon Amazon Web Services means that Amazon is offering guarantees for efficiency, crystal clear audio, and high definition video. It is also build upon a secure infrastructure to ensure that even highly sensitive discussions are held in the strictest of confidence.
Why use it?
Amazon Chime is taking a key out of creating the best of what other services offer at this time by giving you the ability to seamlessly communicate whether in the office or on the go, clearly speaking to the necessity of having a global workforce. With one single app, one can video conference, chat on voice, share content, and chat. Instead of calling into a meeting, they call you, which means no delayed meetings (but we'll ignore the fact that not everyone can get to the meeting on time due to other obligations). Chime is also platform agnostic but there are apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac, and no matter where you go, the chats are synchronized to whatever device you're using.
What does it cost?
Amazon describes Chime as being "1/3 the cost of traditional solutions."
- A "basic" plan is currently free for video calls for up to two people (1:1) and chat rooms on all devices.
- A "Plus" plan is $2.50 per user per month that offers everything basic has plus screen sharing and utilization of a company's corporate directory.
- A "Pro" plan takes all the features from "basic" and "plus" with video meetings for up to 100 people, meeting recordings, and personal meeting URLs.
Chime, like other Amazon services, operate on a "pay as you go" model. Billing is per user and per month. A thirty day trial is available.
Too little too late?
One wonders what Amazon is doing bringing Chime into the wild years after Skype and Skype for Business have built a solid foundation in this market (and Google Hangouts to a lesser degree with the casual user). The answer might be this simple: we've got our Azure fans and our AWS fans. It was only a matter of time that Amazon came out with a product that challenged Skype for Business with Amazon's own proprietary technology on AWS.
But is this going to hurt Slack's Enterprise Grid? The concept of the Grid is very similar, save for video calling -- which might be coming later due to pressure from the competition. And the Grid's enterprise functionality is winning favor in the corporate space. I'm personally observing many companies utilizing Slack's Grid with calls.
Will Chime build momentum? What do you think? Sound off in the comments.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock, Amazon via YouTube