Amazon has been building out Amazon Web Services as marketplace for third-parties to build their services on, but they’ve also developed some of their own as they push into businesses with tools like email and calendar service WorkMail and desktop virtualization service WorkSpaces. Today they are adding a video conferencing product into the mix with Amazon Chime.
Available for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows, the new service is aimed squarely at Microsoft’s Skype for Business or Cisco’s WebEx service. A basic free version will allow video calls and chatting with up to two people, while a Plus Edition with user management and Active Directory (AD) support and 1GB of message history is available for $2.50 per user per month — but still limits conference attendees to two.
Lastly, a Pro Edition adds the ability to host meetings with screen sharing and video for up to 100 participants, and also includes support for mobile, laptop and in-room video streaming, alongside unlimited VoIP support for $15 per user, per month.
Of course there’s no shortage of options for virtual meetings these days, but Amazon believes it can offer a better ‘frustration-free’ experience. Among its features are the lack of any long pins (meetings ring up like a phone call), quick options to get out of a meeting or let others know you're running late, a visual roster of who is currently connected, the possibility to mute one specific person's mic if there's too much ambient noise around them, and the ability for anyone to share their screen without too much hassle.
Amazon claims that the service offers ‘crystal clear audio and high definition video’ thanks to the bandwidth and robust servers provided by Amazon Web Services. The technology behind Chime has its roots on a San Francisco-based startup called Biba Systems which Amazon acquired in 2015.