Hello Pro AV & IT Managers,
Last week we talked about Slack adding video conferencing and Zoom adding live streaming. It’s interesting to watch each company adding features outside their core product as if they are worried about a turbulent 2017 in an already overcrowded market. February 13th, 2017, Amazon just announced their latest product, AWS Chime. It’s a full-featured video conferencing and chat application ready for immediate deployment. Amazon will take on Cisco and Microsoft in a market Gartner estimates to be $12 Billion last year and expected to climb to $22 billion by 2020.
Amazon Chime's Competitive Advantage
As you may know, most web-based video conferencing services are currently powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) with the exception of perhaps Skype for Business and Cisco Spark. By offering their own video communications platform Amazon is cutting out the middle man and making it clear by their pricing model (below) that they want to be the low-cost provider. The above map shows the world wide coverage of Amazon's web servers which Amazon says include "42 Availability Zones within 16 geographic Regions around the world, with five more Availability Zones and two more Regions coming online throughout the next year."
About Amazon Chime
Amazon Chime has a huge value-add for network administrators already familiar with AWS (Amazon Web Services), Amazon’s widely successful cloud computer division. The video conferencing service will benefit from what amazon says is “a data center and network architecture built to meet the requirements of the most security-sensitive organizations.” (Amazon AWS Announcement). In true Amazon style, Chime is available for a free 30 day trial with no credit card required. The pricing model looks surprisingly like Zoom Video Communications freemium model which has been extremely successful thus far.
Amazon Chime vs Zoom Pricing
Let’s compare the Amazon Chime’s pricing with Zoom, because they are strikely similar. As you can see both services are a offering a free 1-to-1 video conferencing option. Amazon is offering an interesting $2.50 service level which competes more with the Skype for Business entry level pricing. Then finally Amazon tops out at $15/month for a service very close to what Zoom is offering for $20/month.
First Impressions on Amazon Chime
The interface is clean and intuitive. The quality was incredible and client download size was small (a personal favorite feature for new software products). It looks like Amazon waited to announce the product until the software could perform super simple video meetings flawlessly. It seems like a mix between GoToMeeting and Skype for Business is the best way possible. I appreciate the persistent menus bar at the top of the software which will help new user adoption. All the must have basics have been included and Amazon Chime looks like a hit right from the start!
Where can we expect Amazon to go from here?
Amazon has the ability to spread their service very quickly to current AWS customers which seem's like the immediate plan. Because the own the world’s largest cloud based server system scalability and funding is not going to be an issue. Amazon could also scale the service to businesses and consumers already use the Prime service as well. Can you hear a “Cha-Ching” after the words “Chime” and “Prime” are said in the same sentence? Amazon Prime now has 54 million users, spending on average $1,100 per year.
I am rooting for Amazon on a BIG win here. It’s hard to predict the future but I am suggesting that our team becomes an early adopter of the platform. It will be interesting to see how quickly Chime will start adding new features on this platform. Will Amazon come up with unique integrations such as voice commands from Alexa? Perhaps an integration with the new second generation AWS IoT Buttons? The possibilities are limitless and Amazon is known as a company that can deliver at the right price point.
Check out a live demo of Amazon Chime This Friday!
Until Next Time,
Motely Fool - Amazon Prime Users - https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/01/26/how-many-prime-members-does-amazon-have-and-why-it.aspx
AWS IoT Buttons - https://aws.amazon.com/iotbutton/