February 15, 2017

Amazon Chime Trains Sights on Skype and GoToMeeing

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Amazon just released the newest addition to its ever-expanding list of web and business apps today. It’s called Chime. The new video conferencing tool offers “frustration-free” video and chat with increased clarity over its competitors. To that end, Chime promises HD video and “crystal clear” audio on any desktop or mobile device.

ALSO READ: 6 Skype Alternatives for Modern Business Conferencing

Amazon released this new offering at midnight on Valentine’s Day with a press release on the Amazon blog, which linked to the Chime product page on the Amazon business services site.

Chime Features

Amazon made sure to cover all of the major video conferencing and chat features you find in Skype and GoToMeeting, like one-on-one and group video conferencing, individual and group text chat. 

Chime’s pricing structure includes a pay-for-what-you-use policy, so your team can mix and match plans for different users within your organization, depending on what features they need. This is good news for companies who use video conferencing for webinars and trainings. The company can provide trainers with a Pro membership, while those who need fewer capabilities can stay at the basic level.

Chime also guards against missed meetings with a call out feature. Instead of the “join this meeting” format that dominates the space, Chime automatically calls invited meeting attendees when it’s time for the meeting, and you can update your colleagues with a quick message if you’re running late. This is a huge improvement over searching for the Hangout link or finding the room code and pin number.

Chime’s position as an Amazon product means that Amazon Web Services provides the security. All video meetings are encrypted in transit, and your chat history doesn’t live on your device where bad agents can steal it.

The last outstanding feature in Chime is the visual display of all team members, and the ability for anyone on the team to mute another team member. This will alert the team member that they have been muted. The feature is designed to let the group decide when a team member’s background noise (coffee shop clatter, dog barking) detracts from the meeting and turn it off. I love this idea, but I also have worked with some folks who would abuse this feature for a laugh, which would get old quickly.

Plans

Chime bills companies per user, per month, and customers can change the plan they use at any time. All plans and features are available on any device. 

Basic: free for one-to-one video conferences and text chats, along with group chat rooms.

Plus: adds screen sharing and integration into the company directory.

Pro: full scheduling, hosting, recording capabilities for video meetings that contain up to 100 people.

As a final benefit, those using Vonage Business for company communications get Amazon Chime for free with their current plans.