Amazon Chime is ready to take on Skype for Business, Join.me and ClickMeeting in the video conferencing world. Amazon Web Services (AWS) promises its new service will provide secure, real-time, unified communications via high-quality audio and video that stays in sync across devices. And since it runs on the AWS cloud, your company’s IT department won’t need to worry about deploying and managing it. Here’s what you need to know
How do I get started?
First visit https://chime.aws to sign up. You’ll need an Amazon account, and if your company already uses AWS you probably already have one. In that case, you’ll just need to grand access for your Amazon account to be used with Amazon Chime.Amazon Chime on a smartphone Credit: Amazon
Then you add your contacts. Once you’ve done that, Amazon Chime lets you start video or audio meetings with one click. You can host or join, chat and share files and screens across desktops, iPhones, iPads, MacBook’s and Android devices.
How much will it cost me?
The first 30 days are free, and no credit card is required to use that. After than you can purchase a subscription. Amazon says “Amazon Chime is one-third the cost of traditional solutions.”
Chime is available in three versions. Chime Basic Edition is free and lets users attend meetings, make video and audio calls, and use Amazon Chime’s messaging and chat capabilities. But that only covers calls between two people, and it only keeps a message history for 30 days.
Amazon Chime Plus Edition is $2.50 per user per month. It adds user management, letting you manage an email domain, disable accounts and configure Active Directory. It also holds 1GB of messages per user in storage. This is still just for calls between two people.
Amazon Chime Pro Edition is $15 per user per month. It adds the ability to host meetings with screen sharing and video for up to 100 users. It includes support for smartphones, laptops, and in-room video systems with unlimited VoIP support.
What chat features does it offer?
Through Amazon Chime Chat you can get read and delivery receipts. You can add files and search old chats. It includes emojis and lets you adjust font sizes. You can also keep persistent chat threads across devices. And with @mentions you can ping a specific person.Amazon Chime on a computer Credit: Amazon
What video features does it offer?
You can participate in video calls on Chime. You can see who is sharing their screen and who is on the call. As a meeting host you can schedule meetings or host them spontaneously. It lets you control the audio of each of the participants. You can also send a meeting idea to those that are not using the Chime app. You can record the call, or lock the meeting to prevent others from joining. In Event mode you can automatically mute all others or add a presenter.
What about technical support?
Amazon Chime can be integrated with existing corporate directors. It lets IT administrators manage identities and control access across and organization. It requires no upfront investments, complicated deployment or ongoing maintenance, according to Amazon.
Messages, voice, video and files are encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption. You can use your existing Active Directory to authenticate users, meaning people can log into the service with their existing corporate username and password. Amazon also offers a training portal to help you troubleshoot problems as they arise.
Will it work with other applications and services?
As of the second quarter of 2017, Amazon says Chime will be available through APN partners Level 3 and Vonage. Level 3 will add it to its suite of unified communications and collaboration solutions. Vonage will provide Amazon Chime Pro Editions to its business customers for free. The Plus and Pro editions also feature an Outlook plugin.
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