There have been many inquiries concerning Amazon Web Services’ plans after the launch of the Amazon Chime team video conference service, which you may have previously read about here on No Jitter. As we all attempt to make sense of this constantly changing environment, there is one additional complication that may generate some more intriguing issues.
I went with a small group to CafeX Communications’ analyst luncheon a week following the Amazon Chime announcement, when much attention was paid to
its video collaboration toolkit, Chime. We may discuss them offline if you’d like. Instead, I’ll concentrate on the ramifications, which I believe will significantly interest No Jitter readers.
Although No Jitter bloggers have previously discussed the finer details of Amazon Chime, having seen CafeX’s Chime suite up close, certain fundamental parallels make me wonder about the direction Amazon has chosen and what businesses should be considering in terms of the commercial value of collaboration. One of them is disruptive, while the other is innovative. I think IT should consider how each of these matches with strategic goals. Here are a few important distinctions between the two Chimes as examples.
Disruptive but doing what’s simple: Amazon Chime
The main message from AWS on Amazon Chime has been to “take the frustration out of meetings,” which is consistent with the recent marketing from all the other suppliers. Everyone is stressing mobile-friendliness and simplicity of use, deployment, and purchase. AWS isn’t making any innovative moves in this case; instead, it’s using the lowest common denominator to encourage quick adoption.
Everyone can use it, and while that’s fantastic for encouraging workers to use collaboration platforms for the first time, it doesn’t address the more complicated demands that pose a barrier to more in-depth kinds of teamwork. For instance, the free version catches your eye, but the introductory video chat feature is limited to two users. You would immediately move up to the Pro Edition, which costs $15 per user each month, to obtain any genuine commercial utility.
When you get there, though, don’t anticipate a genuine enterprise-grade experience. Amazon Chime is entirely cloud-based because it is connected to AWS;. However, this complements AWS’s business model; Chime isn’t efficient in setups with many old on-premises systems. Because Amazon Chime doesn’t offer telephonic service, like Google G Suite, any demands for audio conferencing will incur additional charges for PSTN access. It’s also essential to consider firewall difficulties, limited compatibility across browsers, and interoperability with other video systems, all of which will be issues in complicated, multivendor business setups.
Last but not least, as persistent chat is essential to modern cooperation, Chime may save your conversation history but cannot offer a search. This restriction won’t be an issue at first, but over time it will destroy cooperation, which is why Slack has become so well-liked. Slack’s hidden weapon, search, is a shining illustration of how to innovate in this market rather than disrupt it.
So how exactly is AWS disruptive? It’s not the service; for example, displaying callers in a Brady Bunch-style manner is not innovative. For brief meetings held in the cloud, Amazon Chime is excellent, but it lacks the unique selling points and hooks to effectively compete with significant corporate competitors. Instead, AWS’s marketing approach is disruptive. Cloud lowers entrance barriers, particularly if you own a sizable public cloud. AWS only needs to introduce Chime into the marketplace and watch what happens.
AWS has nothing to lose and everything to gain as it looks for entry points for selling applications to businesses, less the cost of purchasing Biba. This technology is rumored to form the foundation for Chime. It is also being disruptive by collaborating with Level 3 and Vonage as avenues to market and lowering its own risk. AWS is free to go on and find another ecosystem patch to disrupt if Chime fails to make a difference. Look no further if it aligns with your company’s IT goals.
Innovative, And Doing What’s Hard: CafeX Chime
In contrast, CafeX is strongly committed to innovation, and its Chime suite focuses on taking the complex steps necessary to address IT’s joint pain. It is more than simply WebRTC or the cloud to CafeX. It can accomplish everything that Amazon Chime can do across three different versions of the Chime suite, but more inclusively and thoroughly. First, CafeX Chime supports all environments, including Edge, beyond WebRTC’s browser restrictions.
CafeX has a hybrid option for its Chime Meetings and has worked hard to solve diverse audio, video, and web security regulations, making it possible to access meetings from inside and outside the office. It has solved firewall difficulties and compatibility with equipment from top manufacturers, including Cisco, Microsoft, Polycom, Zoom, and SIP-enabled multipoint control units (MCUs). This makes it possible for everyone to collaborate throughout the whole organization, simplifies IT’s job, and increases the usefulness of current infrastructure, particularly MCUs.
Without going any further, it should be evident that CafeX Chime will initially focus more on IT concerns than on user-friendliness. Even while innovation can be disruptive, it requires creating a better mousetrap, and here is where CafeX has gone in a different direction than Amazon. I’m confident that innovation will often prevail over disruption in IT, but the playing field is unlevel, given Amazon’s hegemony and CafeX’s far smaller market profile.
Did Amazon Purchase the Wrong Company, Then?
Both businesses reached this stage through acquisitions; Amazon acquired Biba in late 2016, and CafeX acquired Vayyoo in early 2017. Given the significance of speed to market, it is not unexpected that both corporations chose to purchase existing technology and patents rather than develop their own.
Biba gave AWS the platform it needed to enter the collaborative industry rapidly when it was still a fragmented one. AWS has the power to compete with anyone and the luxury of waiting until the competition narrows down, as it usually does, thanks to its business model.
I would argue that Amazon purchased the incorrect firm if it intended to be creative. Although acquiring CafeX would have offered AWS far more than Biba, Vayyoo would not have been on its radar.
I’m not sure if CafeX was ever a prospective target for Amazon, but it should be clear which platform best solves the problems with cooperation in the modern world. AWS is aware that having the finest technology does not guarantee success, and given how quickly this industry is developing, other factors may become more crucial. If being obnoxious is the only thing that counts, Biba could have been the best option.
Time will tell, and there’s no doubt that Amazon has other ideas for business collaboration; perhaps we’ll find out more when Gene Farrell, AWS’s vice president of enterprise applications, delivers the keynote address at Enterprise Connect 2017, which will be held in Orlando, Florida, from March 27 to 30, 2017. But no matter what happens, I’ll continue to support CafeX.
There’s no better time than the present to sign up for Enterprise Connect if you haven’t already. The AWS keynote will be broadcast, and you may visit AWS, CafeX, and almost 200 other companies in the Expo Hall. To save $300 off an Entire Event, Tue-Thu Conference, or a free Expo Plus pass, register using the code NOJITTER.