Amazon releases Chime, a new cloud-based UCaaS

Amazon today announced Chime, a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) offering hosted in Amazon Web Service’s cloud.

Amazon is entering a crowded market of UC solutions, some of which are already cloud-based and others that run on customer premises. Nevertheless, analysts who track Amazon say the company has an opportunity here.

Chime uses a mobile or desktop application that is available across iOS, Android and Windows environments. It uses noise-cancelling wideband audio, which Amazon says allows it to deliver high quality audio and video experiences. When a meeting starts, Chime calls all the participants, who can join by clicking a button; there is no PIN required. Chime shows a visual roster of all attendees, which Amazon says eliminates the “who just joined” questions that can occur on conference calls. Any user has the ability to mute a noisy participant. Advanced editions of Chime allow IT to centrally manage users and settings, including integrating it with existing corporate directories.

Chime’s pay-as-you-go licensing model is based on how much it is used in an organization. Many other UCaaS offerings require licensing contracts and seats. A Basic edition of Chime is free and allows users to attend meetings and make video and voice calls. A Plus edition is $2.50 per user per month and adds some user management features, such as linking Chime to an Active Directory and retaining up to 1GB of message history per user. A Pro Plan allows screen sharing for up to 100 users and includes unlimited Voice over IP (VoIP) for $15 per user per month. There is also a rate per minute for conference call dial ins, which in the U.S. is $0.003 or $0.012 for toll-free.

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