Amazon Web Services launched Chime, a communications service through which users can message colleagues and talk via high-quality video or audio.
The app makes it easy for users to host or join a meeting, chat and share content and screens, with “a seamless, synchronised experience across desktops, iOS, and Android devices”, the firm said.
Targeting rival solutions, Amazon said they have “second-rate” mobile features and apps, and offer grainy video that disconnects frequently, poor audio quality and constant background noise
It said most are only good at one thing, such as only voice calls or screen sharing, so users often have to toggle between different tools.
The app calls all participants when a meeting starts so joining is easy with no PIN required, while a “visual roster” shows whose line background noise is coming from, which can then be muted by any participant.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon’s cloud computing business is taking on Microsoft and Cisco, “pushing deeper into in the productivity application market to broaden its appeal to business customers.”
The report quoted Bern Elliot, an analyst at Gartner, as saying that Amazon’s biggest rivals in cloud computing, Microsoft and Google Cloud, already offer a wide range of such applications, which “can drive other corporate tech-buying decisions”, adding that the firm can potentially carve a niche for itself through pricing.
The basic version is free; the ‘Plus Edition’ adds user management and 1GB per user of message retention for $2.50 per user, per month; and the ‘Pro Edition’ adds the ability to host meetings with screen sharing and video for up to 100 users, plus support for mobile, laptop, and in-room video along with VoIP support, for $15 per user, per month.
Amazon said Chime requires no upfront investments, complicated deployment, or ongoing maintenance, adding it “is one-third the cost of traditional solutions”.