Amazon ‘Chimes’ In on Crowded Video Conferencing Services Market

**Editor’s Note: Click here for our recently compiled list of new products and services.**

By Kurt Marko

Not content to dominate the IaaS market for cloud infrastructure, Amazon has been easing into end-user business applications, first with its Workspaces desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) and now with Chime, a UC service that combines voice, video, chat and online meetings.

Chime joins a crowded market with products from technology titans like Adobe (Connect), Cisco (WebEx), Google (Hangouts) and Microsoft (Skype for Business) as well as telecom giants like AT&T (Collaborate) and Verizon (Virtual Communications Express), and a host of pure-play vendors including 8×8, Fuze,, RingCentral and Vidyo.

Given such a mature and diverse market, Amazon will have a challenge in making Chime stand out from the crowd. Still, its feature list does check all the important boxes; it introduces some innovative additions, plus it has the power, stability and reputation of AWS infrastructure standing behind it.

As expected of every IP-based communication service, Chime provides high-fidelity voice, video and text/chat services, both as peer-to-peer calls and group conferences. Group conferences, which can accommodate up to 100 people, support both live video and screen sharing, personalized meeting URLs, and recording. Chime is device-agnostic but built with mobile users in mind and includes native apps for Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows, along with API integration to Google Calendar and Outlook for scheduling.

Indeed, Chime’s cross-platform integration borrows an idea from Apple’s Continuity and Windows Continuum by allowing attendees to start a meeting with one client and switch to another without dropping the connection.

Other intriguing Chime features include:

  • Call quality enhancement with noise-cancelled audio and HD video on any device and with most conference room systems. Note, Chime supports most H.323 systems, but client-based conferences have limits: up to 16 participants on desktops, and up to 8 participants on iOS devices. Video is not currently supported on Android devices.
  • Universal sharing with all participants able to share screens without prior permission.
  • Multimode collaboration on the same call, allowing attendees to call, chat, screen share and invite others to join a meeting.
  • Streamlined joining process that eliminates long meeting IDs and passwords, replacing them with an app alert when the meeting starts that allows single-click sign-on or a “running late” RSVP.
  • Visual meeting roster that replaces “who just joined” interruptions with a list of attendees, late-arrivals (those RSVP’d, but not yet joined) and those who declined a meeting invitation. It also opens up mute controls to allow other attendees to silence someone who’s in a noisy background — or perhaps just droning on with chit chat.
  • Persistent one-to-one chat rooms that allow co-workers to set up long-running, asynchronous conversations that can be archived with message cap of 1GB per user.

Chime is available now in three service plans:

  • Basic, which supports individual voice and video calls and chat conversations, is free, albeit almost useless for business purposes.
  • Plus adds support for screen sharing, remote desktop control and corporate directory (AD) integration, but it’s also limited to just two attendees; it runs $2.50 per month.
  • Pro includes the features listed above, plus the ability to join meetings from conventional phone lines (at an added charge), with support for 100 attendees per meeting. It costs $15 per user per month.
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Users can try the Pro plan for 30 days without charge, and like most AWS services, subscriptions are month-to-month with no long-term contract.

Tough Market to Crack

Chime provides a compelling blend of peer-to-peer and group collaboration features. While it can’t compete with dedicated Web conferencing services for large meetings, it adds convenience features they lack. And although Chime is less expensive than the pure-play collaboration services, most of which run in the $25-$40 range, it can’t compete with Skype for Business; thus, we expect Office 365 users won’t be interested. Instead, we expect that Chime will appeal to cloud-native companies that are already heavy AWS users, particularly those running its Workspaces DaaS product.

Although Amazon sells Chime directly to users, it obviously understands that many organizations will want other communications and IT services as part of a UC system, which explains why it has already partnered with Level 3 and Vonage to deliver Chime as part of their communications portfolio.

“By providing Amazon Chime to Vonage Business customers at no additional cost, they will now have access to Amazon Chime’s innovative, easy-to-use web-conferencing and collaboration suite, which is a perfect complement to Vonage’s robust portfolio of unified communications solutions for greater mobility, flexibility, and workplace productivity,” stated Vonage CEO Alan Masarek.

These deals follow a recent rollout of three new AWS partner programs and Level 3 offering a bundle that privately and directly connects Amazon WorkSpaces users to the cloud. The Chime deals illustrate the opportunity for channel partners that can incorporate Chime to augment VoIP services and supplement or replace other UC offerings.


  1. Avatar Prasanta Shee July 20, 2017 @ 5:30 am

    Amazon Chime video conferencing is good. Alternatively, you may also have a look at tools like on premise R-HUB HD video conferencing servers for all your online video conferencing needs. It provides 30 way HD video conferencing and works on all platforms viz Windows, MAC, Android, iOS etc.

  2. Avatar Dipali Matkar July 8, 2019 @ 5:09 am

    Amazon Chime is a new video conferencing software and although it is good, it will have to face tough competition against already established quality video conferencing players like R-HUB HD video conferencing servers, Polycom, Skype, gotomeeting, Avaya etc.

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