AWS takes on Skype and Cisco

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AWS takes on Skype and Cisco

'Chime' unified comms service is unleashed.

Amazon Web Services has unveiled its own unified communications service for desktops, iOS and Android devices in a direct challenge to Microsoft's Skype and Cisco's WebEx and Spark. 

Amazon Chime boasts noise-cancelling wideband audio and HD video that has been designed to work across all devices and most conference room video systems.

The cloud giant has claimed most meeting solutions on the market right now are "disappointing".

AWS' vice president of enterprise applications Gene Farrell said "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."

Chime calls participants when it is time for the meeting to start, allowing them to join with a single click. Users are able to visualise who has joined, who is running late, and who can't make it to the meeting.

The tool has been built for mobile and offers Android, iOS, Mac and Windows apps. It keeps meetings and chats synchronised across devices, so users can switch between devices in the middle of a meeting.

During meetings, users can share their screens instantly. For ongoing collaboration outside of meetings, Amazon Chime offers chat rooms that allow people to work together in a single place, securely storing chat history and files for ongoing reference.

AWS told CRN Chime is available in Australia.

It comes in three different versions:

  • Amazon Chime Basic Edition, a free version where users can attend meetings, call another person using voice or video, and use Amazon Chime's messaging and chat capabilities.
  • Amazon Chime Plus Edition adds user management, such as the ability to manage an entire e-mail domain, disable accounts or configure active directory, as well as 1GB per user of message retention, for US$2.50 per user, per month.
  • Amazon Chime Pro Edition adds the ability to host meetings with screen sharing and video for up to 100 users and also includes support for mobile, laptop, and in-room video along with unlimited VoIP support, for US$15 per user, per month. 

In August 2016, Google launched Google Duo, pitting it directly against Apple's FaceTime, which allows video calls only between Apple devices. Duo will also compete with Microsoft's video-calling app Skype, Facebook's Messenger and even its own Hangout app.

Slack has also launched a new product for big companies the Slack Enterprise Grid, which is set up for companies with hundreds of thousands of employees and strict compliance requirements.

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