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Amazon launches Chime to take on Skype

14 February 2017

Amazon plans to take on Skype with Chime, a new video conferencing and communications services from Amazon Web Services, aimed at business users.

Chime not only allows VoIP and video messaging, it also offers virtual meetings, allowing users to host or join a remote meeting through the service.

The service is priced $2.50 per user per month on the lowest end, with a higher tier plan of $15 per user which includes video and screen-sharing among other features.

A basic version, limited to video calls and chat rooms between two users, is also available for free.

Chime is supported on Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android devices.

Chime not only marks AWS' entry into communication services like Skype for business or Google Hangouts, but also extends AWS presence into the space of virtual meeting management, where companies like GoToMeeting and Cisco (WebEx) are the best known players.

''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,'' Gene Farrell, vice president of enterprise applications at AWS, said in a statement.

Amazon said in a press release today, "Amazon Web Services, Inc, (AWS) an company today announced Amazon Chime, a new unified communications service that makes meetings easier and more efficient than ever before.

"With Amazon Chime, customers can start high-quality video and audio meetings with one-click, allowing customers to host or join a meeting, chat, and share content and screens with a seamless, synchronized experience across desktops, iOS, and Android devices."

In a world where meeting attendees are often not in the same city, much less the same office building, unified communications has become increasingly more important. Arguably the most prevalent form of unified communications is meetings.

Most meetings solutions are disappointing. They're clunky and hard to use, the video is grainy and disconnects frequently, the audio quality is poor, there's constant background noise and it's impossible to know who's causing it, they require long PINs to enter and join a call, and have second-rate mobile features and apps.

Further, most are only good at one thing (eg voice calls, video conferencing, screen sharing, or instant messaging), so users often have to toggle between several different tools, none of which really solve their problem.

Amazon Chime takes frustration out of meetings, delivering very high quality video, voice, chat, and screen sharing. Amazon Chime calls all participants when a meeting starts so joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a button in the app, with no PIN required.

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