Amazon Chime: Video Conferencing, Calls & Chat

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Last week AWS announced Amazon Chime, a new communications service aiming to rival Skype and services such as GoToMeetng.

With Amazon Chime, customers can start high-quality video and audio meetings with one-click, allowing customers to host or join a meeting, chat, and share content and screens with a seamless, synchronized experience across desktops, iOS, and Android devices.

I have to admit to more or less ignoring Chime when it was announced, they have a long way to go before I’ll be calling anyone on Chime, mainly because I don’t know anyone that uses it yet. Also it’s largely aimed at business users who want to set up meetings, enroll all company members and use it for internal meetings and calls (and possibly external online meetings with clients).

Chime is also chargeable except for one to one video calls. It’ll cost from $2.50 per user whereas Skype is free to use. There’s also no equivalent of SkypeIn and SkypeOut although that may come in the future.

Amazon Chime uses noise-cancelling wideband audio to deliver high-quality audio and crisp, clear HD video to make it easier to have real conversations in a meeting. And with Amazon Chime, video works great across all user devices and many conference room video systems with no upgrades required.

It occurs to me that Amazon may have further plans for Chime, once they’ve established it as a product what happens when the add it as an Alexa Skill to their Amazon Echo product. Instantly everyone who owns an Amazon Echo can make hands free phone calls to any of their contacts without lifting a handset or dialling a number. “Alexa, ring Dan” is all I’d need to say to be connected with Mr Wilson and that would be neat.

Of course sometimes you would want video, but then Chime will be synchronised across your devices and you can even switch device in the middle of a meeting. Plus of course in the future it’s likely that devices like Alexa will connect with TVs and, with a spoken command, will simply be able to throw the display onto your TV screen.

We are moving into a world where the devices we use will become less and less important and as we start to deploy Artificial Intelligence we will become accustomed to talking to devices to instruct them to carry out tasks for us. If we’re already talking to Amazon Alexa, adding Chime is an obvious step to a fully hands free phone and who would want to use their mobile or a house land line if they could place a Chime call via Alexa?

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