AWS Wants to Take Pain Out of Online Meetings with New Unified Communications Service
Amazon Web Services continues to win the affections of enterprise cloud customers with the launch of a unified communications service called Amazon Chime.
AWS says Amazon Chime was designed to address all the annoyances and drawbacks of existing UC solutions – hard to use, grainy video, poor audio quality – with a solution that enables customers to start a high-quality audio and video meeting with one-click across devices. The video promoting the service is likely very relatable for anyone who has ever tried to join an online meeting.
According to the announcement on Tuesday, Amazon Chime is one-third of the cost of traditional solutions, without any upfront investments or ongoing maintenance. Available in three versions, Basic (free), Plus and Pro, the most expensive of which is $15 per user, per month.
The unified communications market is forecast to hit $96 billion by 2023, according to recent research by Global Market Insights. Industry players in the market include Microsoft, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, and Cisco Systems, NEC Corporation, Siemens, and ShoreTel, with other unified communications as a service startups joining the market as well.
“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,” Gene Farrell, Vice President, Enterprise Applications, AWS. “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.”
One of the unique features of Amazon Chime is that meeting participants no longer have to remember a dial-in pin; Amazon Chime actually calls participants when it is time for the meeting to start and lets them join with a single-click. Participants running late can click a button to notify everyone in the meeting without needing to send a text or email.
Amazon Chime also offers chat rooms for people to continue collaborating after the meeting in a secure environment. How well the chat function is integrated into the meeting capability will certainly be the test.
AWS said that Amazon Chime will soon be available through APN partners Level 3 and Vonage, starting in the second quarter of 2017.
“Enterprises rely on the cloud to stay nimble and competitive in the digital economy. They need communication and collaboration tools, like Amazon Chime, that can break down organizational silos, and evolve with the business,” Anthony Christie, Chief Marketing Officer, Level 3 said. “With Amazon Chime, delivered by Level 3, our customers have a clear advantage. They’ll have access to an agile collaboration platform, powered by AWS, with the reliability and security of Level 3’s global network. Level 3’s consultative end-to-end support model is designed to simplify the move to the cloud.”