In news this quarter AWS have released a web conferencing cloud service to their existing ‘Business Productivity‘ services which already includes Amazon WorkDocs and Amazon WorkMail. So my thought was to help you gauge where this sits in relation to Skype for Business. I don’t want to put this into a Microsoft versus Amazon review but I do want you to understand the product names that ‘somewhat’ align with each other.
Exchange = WorkMail
SharePoint/OneDrive for Business = WorkDocs
Skype for Business = Chime
The Microsoft products are reasonably well known in the world so I’ll give you a quick one liner about the Amazons products:
WorkMail “Hosted Email”
WorkDocs “Hosted files accessible via web, PC, mobile devices with editing and sharing capability”
So what is Chime?
Chime isn’t exactly a one-to-one feature set for Skype for Business so be wary of articles conveying this sentiment as they haven’t really done their homework. Chime can be called either a web meeting, online meeting, or online video conferencing platform. Unlike Skype for Business, Chime is not a PBX replacement. So what does it offer?
- 1-1 and group IM
- Persistent chat / chat rooms
- Transfer files
- Group HD video calling
- Schedule meetings using Outlook or Google calendar
- Join meeting from desktop or browser
- Join meeting anonymously
- Meeting controls for presenter
- Desktop sharing
- Remote desktop control
- Record audio and video of meetings
- Allow participants to dial-in with no Chime client (PSTN conferencing bridge)
- Enable legacy H.323 endpoints to join meetings (H.323 bridge)
- Customisable / personalised meeting space URL
The cloud hosted based products that I see are similar to Chime are WebEx, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and ReadyTalk to name just a few. As here at Kloud we are Microsoft Gold Partners and have a Unified Communication team that deliver Skype for Business solutions and not the other products I have previously mentioned, I will tell you a few things that differentiate SFB from Chime.
- Direct Inward Dial (DID) user assignment
- Call forwarding and voicemail
- Automated Call Distribution (ACD)
- Outbound PSTN dialling and route based on policy assignment
- Integrated Voice Recording (IVR)
- Hunt Groups / Call Pickup Groups
- Shared Line Apperance
- SIP IP-Phone compatibility
- Attendant / Reception call pickup
- On-premises, hybrid and hosted deployment models
Basically all things that replace a PBX Solution Skype for Business will do. Now this isn’t a cheap shot at Amazon, cause that isn’t where they are positioning their product. What I’ve hoped to have done is clarify any misconception about where the product sits in the market and how it relates to features in a well known product like Microsoft Skype for Business.
For the price that Amazon are offering Chime for in the online meeting market it is very competitive against some other hosted products. Their ‘rolls-royce’ plan is simply purchased for $15 USD per user per month. If you’re not invested in the Office 365 E3/E5 license ecosystem and you need a online meeting platform at a low cost, then Chime might be right for you. Amazon offer a 30 day free trial for free that is a great way to test it out.