We had the privilege of experiencing a seismic shift in the UC market this week. Amazon has announced Chime, their Cloud communication service. Just by the nature of Amazon’s marketing muscle (and market segment domination expertise), will cause major disruption in the marketplace. I have been using the Chime service for a few days and give my initial review below.
The 2017 momentum of change has become very exciting. First Avaya declared bankruptcy. This is a direct validation for Cloud based Hosted VoIP and opens up an obvious large market for replacement. Now the announcement of Amazon Chime is a monumental validation of cloud based UC services from the app level. Today’s market is primarily Hosted VoIP that was built from the phone focus up (Broadsoft, Ring Central, 8×8, Vonage, Cisco HCS) and now we are seeing a possible shift /disruption from multiple services built from the Application layer downward (Slack, Spark, Skype, WhatsApp and others) and several powerful App Development platforms, ( Twilio, Nexmo, Biba, Candy,etc). Slack’s popularity in this past year opened up our eyes to the potential of these new generation of services for business. Chime validates this approach. Integration into applications will skyrocket but these new services are not fully UC. These new generation services presently lack is a scalable integration into the PSTN. Until this is accomplished they do not represent viable full PSTN replacement.
Chime’s utilizes HD Audio which creates a very high quality voice call for peer-to-peer or connection into a conference call. The ability to form these conferences with up to 8 video sessions is impressive and comes in at typical Amazon disruptive price points.They did add the ability of calling in from the PSTN, but call out is restricted to your off PSTN email address. This lack of the ability to call out to the PSTN is a weakness that will prevent Chime from becoming a PSTN replacement service. reliable and scalable PSTN replacement capabilities has haunted UC solutions like LYNC ( Skype for B) and others for years and prevents widespread PSTN replacement elusive. The upcoming partnerships with Level 3 and Vonage Business will bring this elusive integration to Chime possibly sooner than later. And If I were a betting man, Amazon will figure this out quickly and bolster Chime to be a fully functional PSTN replacement.
We have entered a whole new UC landscape.