Amazon unveils unified chat, video conferencing service Chime

We expect Amazon to roll out the service for Apple devices soon.

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.

Amazon will hope that its new VoIP service can replicate the company's success in the cloud services space, but challenges lie ahead. It's described as "a new unified communications service that makes meetings easier and more efficient than ever before", and it looks an very bad lot like a direct competitor with Skype.

What's more interesting about this than simply the Chime service is that Amazon clearly intends to move into the productivity space that Microsoft now dominates. With easy-to-use apps for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows, Amazon Chime keeps meetings and chats synchronized across devices, and users can join meetings from any device and easily switch devices - even in the middle of a meeting. When a meeting starts, Chime calls all the participants, who can join by clicking a button; there is no PIN required.

"It's pretty hard to find people who actually like the technology they use for meetings today". There will be some information about each participant in the roster for users to go through, but more importantly, it will also display which user's background noise is a lot louder, thus allowing users to mute that person's chat so they can clearly hear while the others are talking. "Amazon Chime automatically reconnects you if you get dropped".

Just as Microsoft has tried to leverage Office, so Google has attempted to do with its email and apps. The Basic Edition is one is the starting package as it allows users to use the service (messaging, voice and video call) for free. "They need communication and collaboration tools, like Amazon Chime, that can break down organizational silos, and evolve with the business", Anthony Christie, Chief Marketing Officer, Level 3 said. The Plus edition of the Chime service comes with user management, Active Directory (AD) support and 1GB of message retention at $2.50 per user per month.

Pro costs $15 per user per month, and lets users do all of the above, plus host meetings with up to 100 participants.

Amazon offers a free trial of all the Pro features for 30 days. The company, which was founded in 1818, has rolled out Chime to 90 percent of its corporate staff.