Amazon Chime
Amazon Chime

Skype for Business has proven popular in the unified communications market, but a new release from AWS may jeopardize that position. On Monday, the company launched Amazon Chime, a powerful online meeting service.

Chime features video and audio conferencing, chat, content sharing, and more. It runs seamlessly across Windows, Android, iOS and Mac. However, it also brings some interesting new functionality to the table.

Chime’s “visual roster” makes it easy to see which user has joined, who is running late, and where background noise is coming from. This combines with an intelligent meeting system that calls participants when it’s time to start.

“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,” said Gene Farrell, Vice President, Enterprise Applications, AWS.

The solution also lets users join a call using a normal phone number. Though this is currently limited to online calls, AWS is implementing a solution that allows for traditional telephone calling.

AWS and Software as a Service

As well as Microsoft, Chime could threaten Cisco, LogMeIn, and Google. This follows several other SaaS releases, including WorkMail, WorkDocs and QuickSight. It signals major plans for a shift from cloud infrastructure to software solutions.

So far, the change seems to have gone well for Amazon. Several customers have been trialing Chime, and have very positive feedback.

“We needed a single communications solution for one on one meetings, brainstorming sessions, and our cross-company daily stand ups with our engineering teams,” said Chris Hemphill, VP of IT at Connexity. “With Amazon Chime, our employees can do all this from a single app on any of their devices. The video capabilities in Amazon Chime, integrated with our conference room video system, have made our daily stand up meetings more productive. Amazon Chime helps to keep our geographically dispersed teams connected, and is integral to our communications strategy.”

Chime has three core plans: Basic, Plus, and Pro. Basic is a free service, offering one-to-one video calls and group chats. Plus is available for $2.50 per user/month, and provides screenshare and corporate directory features. Pro builds on the previous two tiers, providing tons of extra features and calls with up to 100 people.

You can find more information about Chime on the official website.