In today’s world of connectivity and on-the-go meetings, the use of online video conferencing has become a critical part of most every business. There are a number of advantages to using video chat for team meetings, such as flexibility, remote capabilities, and cost savings.
- Participants don’t have to travel so valuable time is spared
- It improves communication & reinforces relationships
- Allows for increased productivity with teams of collaborators
- Documents and group projects can be shared and worked on from different locations
The main disadvantages are the reliability of the software and equipment and the time delay between speaking and receiving a response.
Amazon has been working on their own version of video conferencing since late last year, and now it available for personal and business use. It’s called Amazon Chime.
Chime is similar to Microsoft’s Skype, but Amazon wanted to simplify things with one service, while also improving video and audio quality, thus creating a centralized hub for all of your business needs. Skype offers similar capabilities but can be confusing to users when it comes to choosing between their three services: Skype for consumers, Skype for Business, and Skype Meetings. Chime is a single service that has three tiers, but they are clearly defined by Amazon.
The following post provides a quick description of the Amazon Chime Video Conferencing App:
Amazon’s Chime takes on Skype and WebEx for video conferencing – The Verge
Amazon has been successfully pushing into businesses for years with its cloud computing services, and now it’s looking at productivity apps as a new way to deepen its ties to businesses. Available as a free download for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows, Amazon’s Chime is a video conferencing app for online meetings. It’s aimed squarely at Microsoft’s Skype for Business or Cisco’s WebEx service, and joins many startups like Zoom in an increasingly competitive market.
The Chime app uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) which is a cloud-computing service for database storage, content delivery, and much more. This makes Chime a secure and fully-managed communications service in the cloud. The following video provides a good overview of Chime’s features, pricing, and compares it to other similar products:
One downfall of Chime is that is does cost more than Skype, but it is priced significantly lower than WebEx by Cisco. An important consideration for any of the costs with using a video conferencing service is the size of your company. WebEx offers decent volume discounts, but in the article I read by Vyopta, it is an expensive monthly amount. As I mentioned, Skype for Business is less expensive, but there is still a per monthly user fee. Skype is integrated with Office 365, but security is a bit of a concern when using the service.
The cost of Amazon Chime is outlined in the followed post by TechCrunch:
Amazon launches Chime, a video conferencing and communications service for business | TechCrunch
Beyond VoIP calling and video messaging, Chime includes virtual meetings, allowing users to host or join a remote meeting through the service.
Pricing starts at $2.50 per user per month on the lowest end, with a higher tier plan of $15 per user which includes video and screen-sharing among other features. There is a basic option available for free but that is limited to video calls and chat rooms between two users.
One service we haven’t mentioned yet is Google Hangouts. In usual Google fashion, using a Hangout is free up to 10 users. Other benefits of Hangouts are screen and file sharing, free calls anywhere in the world using a Google Voice number, as long as you aren’t calling a cellphone or landline number.
There are many other options besides the ones I mentioned in this article, which does make you wonder why Amazon would want to get into such a saturated market. However, the innovation and power of these companies are leading us into the future of business communication, making the world seem smaller and smaller.