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Feb 15, 2017 09:38 AM EST

Skype, WebEx Face New Competition As Amazon Chime Promises Better Audio/Video, Cross-Platform Support, And Lower Costs

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The Amazon Web Services (AWS) enters the unified communications business to compete directly with Skype for Business and Cisco's WebEx. Gene Farrell, vice-president of enterprise applications in Amazon claims to bring better audio and video, cross-platform support without switching between multiple tools and lower costs.

Amazon has just launched its newest video conferencing service, the Amazon Chime, which already went live on Monday, Feb. 13. It is designed for business users as an alternative communication tool for Skype for Business or Google Hangouts. The cloud provider also entered a new space of virtual meeting management dominated by Cisco's WebEx and GoToMeeting. This newest move came after the company obtained patents and staff from Biba Systems, a San Francisco startup company making video messaging apps for business users.

With Amazon Chime, the top cloud provider has promised to deliver a more seamless and easy-to-launch application starting with a cross-platform support for video and audio calls. The service runs on native iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows. The app can also be accessed using a regular phone. Farrel adds that AWS is planning to add support for calls from person-to-person over a traditional telephone network.

Amazon Chime also has an easy screen-sharing feature. This is a key feature that can work on computers, smartphones, and other mobile devices. It resolves lags, prevents low-quality videos and fixes other usual issues associated with video conferencing. It is useful for people collaborating on slide decks or applications development, according to Business Insider.

Amazon Chime is also able to put all meeting requirements in one app including synchronization of notifications and all kinds of chats. More interestingly, it gives a visual display of all participants that also show information about the source of a distracting noise that can disrupt the meeting. For those video conferencing without a moderator, any user can choose to mute another participant with a noisy background. The muted user will get a notification and can easily unmute their microphone, PC World has learned.

Amazon Chime offers a 30-day free trial and if customers are satisfied, they can opt to pay $2.50 per user per month. This already includes support for screen sharing and integration with identity management systems. There is also the $15 per user per month with the added benefit of hosting meetings with as many as 100 participants with users paying the lowest-pricing tier able to join meetings initiated by Pro users. This result in reduced costs for the company for it can mix and match its subscription based on its needs.

Farrell claims that the Amazon Chime will be able to reduce the bill on unified communications by as much as 70 percent. In fact, AWS has pushed for the new service because users were looking for a tool with better audio and video, cross-platform support and lower cost. Fashion retailer Brooks Brothers have already rolled out the new service to almost 90 percent of its staff.

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