Amazon Chime Takes Aim at WebEx, Skype in Online Conferencing

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2017-02-15
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Amazon Chime Takes Aim at WebEx, Skype in Online Conferencing
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    Amazon Chime Takes Aim at WebEx, Skype in Online Conferencing

    Amazon has disrupted many established business with cloud platform and online retailing services. Now it is taking on online conferencing with Amazon Chime.
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    Set Up Online Conferences from Any Device
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    Set Up Online Conferences from Any Device

    Amazon Chime is designed to work from any device and apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. The apps include the features users need to communicate with colleagues over the web.
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    Amazon Wants to Make it Easier to Join Online Meetings
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    Amazon Wants to Make it Easier to Join Online Meetings

    Amazon Chime comes with various online meeting features, including the ability to join a meeting with a mouse click or tap on a mobile device. Users also can share their screens with other meeting participants, create personalized meeting URLs and record all meetings.
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    Video Conferences Support Up to 16 Simultaneous Viewers
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    Video Conferences Support Up to 16 Simultaneous Viewers

    Amazon Chime can support up to 16 simultaneous video conference viewers on the desktop or eight across mobile devices. Video conferences are recorded in high definition and boosted by noise-canceling technology to improve audio performance.
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    Chime Will Work With 'Most' Conference Room Systems
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    Chime Will Work With 'Most' Conference Room Systems

    According to Amazon, Chime will work with “most” conference room video systems. The FAQ on the Chime site notes the service is compatible with devices that support the H.323 video-audio protocol. Customers won’t be charged additional fees for using these systems.
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    Chat Works Everywhere
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    Chat Works Everywhere

    Amazon Chime’s chat feature is versatile, according to the company. Users can chat with people both inside and outside the company, allowing companies to collaborate with contractors, clients and others. The service sends notifications when users receive messages, and chats are synchronized across all the user’s Chime-enabled devices.
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    It Has a Slack-Like Chat Room Feature
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    It Has a Slack-Like Chat Room Feature

    While Chime isn’t a direct Slack competitor, its chat room feature is similar. Chime’s chat rooms can be created for groups of people to work together. All chat logs are searchable and people are tagged in chats with “@username” mentions.
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    There's Built in File-Sharing Features Built-In
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    There's Built in File-Sharing Features Built-In

    File-sharing is available across Amazon Chime. Users of both the PC and mobile versions can drag-and-drop files into meetings, chats and the chat room. Recipients can download the files to their devices for future access.
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    Talk of Security
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    Talk of Security

    Amazon has bundled several security features into Chime. All messages, voice calls, video calls, and content are shared over the service via AES 256-bit encryption. The roster of meeting participants can be locked so only authenticated users can join. Since Chime runs atop the Amazon Web Services cloud platform, Amazon says users “benefit from a data center and network architecture” that was built with security in mind.
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    IT Department Has Full Control
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    IT Department Has Full Control

    IT will have control over Chime. Administrators will have access to a console where they can see usage reports, add or remove users and provide support. Amazon Chime also can be integrated with Microsoft Active Directory to authenticate users.
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    Amazon Charges Fees for Multiple Users
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    Amazon Charges Fees for Multiple Users

    Amazon offers a free basic version of Chime that allows for calls with up to two people and chat and chat room support, but customers that want more capability will be charged $2.50 per user per month. Companies that want video meetings for up to 100 employees will pay $15 per user per month.
 

Amazon’s efforts to expand its presence in the enterprise are once again in the spotlight after it introduced the Amazon Chime web conference and collaboration service on Feb. 13. The service, which is available for free to small work teams but carries a per-user-per-month subscription fee for larger organizations, is a full-featured communications platform that includes video conferences, audio conferences and chat rooms. Users are even able to share files through the service. Since it works on PCs, Macs and mobile devices, Chime is accessible just about anywhere. Amazon is admittedly entering an exceedingly competitive market dominated by the likes of Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Skype. But Amazon is betting that its service, delivered from its global cloud service, will provide a reliable service that attracts small businesses as well as large enterprises. This slide show will look at the features of Amazon Chime to see if it can stand up to the long-entrenched online conferencing competition. Read on to learn more.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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