Amazon Chime goes after WebEx, Skype for Business and more

The cloud provider just entered the unified communications business

Companies looking for a new video- and teleconferencing system have a fresh face to turn to in the market: Amazon Web Services.

On Monday, the public cloud provider announced the launch of Amazon Chime, a new service that’s designed to compete with the likes of WebEx, Skype for Business and GoToMeeting. It’s a powerful swing at some very entrenched enterprise software players by the public cloud provider.

AWS launched the service with native applications for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. Chime’s infrastructure is based in the U.S., but Gene Farrell, AWS’s vice president of enterprise applications, said that the service can be accessed worldwide.

One of Chime’s interesting features is a visual roster of meeting participants that includes information about any people who have distracting background noise interrupting the call. In a meeting without a moderator, any user can choose to mute one of their fellow participants so that the rest on the call don’t have to listen to a barking dog or the sound of typing.

People who get muted in that way will get notified that their mic has been blocked, and can choose to unmute themselves whenever they want to.

In addition, users can call into a Chime conference call using a regular phone number, in the event they can’t access the service’s app for one reason or another. In the future, Farrell said that AWS also plans to add support for person to person calls over a traditional telephone network.

Chime is part of AWS’s portfolio of applications focused on helping business users with their work. That set of services started with the company’s WorkSpaces cloud virtual desktop as a service offering, and now includes AWS’s WorkDocs office suite, WorkMail email service and QuickSight business intelligence service.

The service will be available in three pricing tiers. Basic offers users one-on-one voice and video calls, plus group chat capabilities. Plus costs US$2.50 per user per month, and adds support for screen sharing and integration with identity management systems through SAML and Active Directory.

Pro costs $15 per user per month, and lets users do all of the above, plus host meetings with up to 100 participants. Users at the other two pricing tiers can join conferences set up by Pro users, so companies can mix and match licenses to minimize Chime’s cost.

Amazon offers a free trial of all the Pro features for 30 days. After that expires, customers can choose to keep using the Basic tier, or pay for more advanced functionality. Farrell said that Chime could reduce a company’s unified communications bill by up to 70 percent.

Companies with existing in-room conferencing systems made by companies like Polycom and Crestron will be able to set those devices up to integrate with Chime.

To help with adoption, AWS is working with Level 3 Communications and Vonage. Level 3 will market Chime to its enterprise customers, while Vonage will work with small businesses. Both offerings will be available in the second quarter of this year.

Amazon has already been testing Chime with a handful of customers, including fashion retailer Brooks Brothers. The company, which was founded in 1818, has rolled out Chime to 90 percent of its corporate staff.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags amazon.com

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?