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Chime is Amazon's answer to Skype for Business

AWS launches its own video conferencing service for business users

A screenshot of the Chime interface

Amazon has unveiled its own Skype competitor, Amazon Chime, a video streaming service designed with business users in mind.

Part of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, Chime allows users to host or join conference calls with the promise of reliable high-quality video and audio and the ability to share content across synchronised desktops and devices.

Connecting to a call is done via a single button in the Chime app, removing the need for PIN numbers or the requirement to dial into a call, according to Amazon. A roster of users is also displayed on the app, showing who is speaking and the quality of the line they are on, giving users the ability to mute distorted callers.

"Amazon Chime delivers frustration-free meetings, allowing users to be productive from anywhere," said Gene Farrell, VP of Enterprise Applications at AWS. "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 with love to use."

Chime includes a "noise-cancelling wideband audio" that promises to deliver crisp HD quality audio and video, regardless of the device you use to connect with. The caller roster will alert current users who have recently joined, and shared screens allow for collaboration that is synced across devices.

The app is available on iOS, Mac, Android and Windows, covering a range of feature packages and prices. At the lower end, a free version of the app is available that allows video calls "for up to two people", so it's nice to know you can call someone else.

But the real meat of the app is found in the Pro package, priced at $15 per user per month. This includes video meetings with a maximum of 100 attendees, as well as a host of features including screen sharing, remote desktop control, personalised meeting URLs and the ability to record the entire call using built-in capture software.

CIOs can integrate Chime into existing IT directories, and the service provides administrators with the tools to manage profiles and set access permissions across an organisation. "[There is] no up front investments, complicated deployment, or ongoing maintenance," according to Amazon.

Customers already include LED manufacturer Soraa, retailer Brooks Brothers, and market solutions company Connexity.  

Already one of the leading players in the cloud services market, the release of Chime allows Amazon to take on the likes of Microsoft's Skype for Business and Google Hangouts, and tighten its grip on customers looking to move elsewhere. 

You can try out Amazon Chime here on a 30-day trial.

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