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Amazon Chime gets integration with Dolby Voice Room

Amazon Chime now integrates with Dolby Voice Room, a hardware kit for small and midsize meeting rooms. It's Amazon Chime's first pre-integrated room system.

Amazon Web Services has integrated its Amazon Chime online meetings software with a video hardware kit for small and midsize conference rooms made by Dolby Laboratories.

Businesses using Amazon Chime could already connect the app to software-agnostic video hardware using H.323 and SIP. But standards-based connections are generally difficult to set up and use.

The Dolby partnership gives Chime users access to video gear that is preloaded with the AWS software. However, Dolby only entered the video hardware market last year, so few Chime customers will be able to take advantage of the integration without purchasing new equipment.

Amazon Chime is far behind competing services, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Both already have partnerships with leading makers of conference room hardware, such as Poly and Logitech. Also, Chime still lacks support for a room system for large meeting spaces and boardrooms.

Online meetings software must integrate with room systems to effectively compete, said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research. "So the Dolby announcement represents a much-needed addition to their capabilities."

Dolby Voice Room includes a camera and a separate speakerphone with a touchscreen for controlling a meeting. The audio device's microphone suppresses background noise and compensates for quiet and distant voices.

AWS recently expanded Chime to include a bare-bones service for calling, voicemail and SMS messaging. The vendor also earlier this year released a service for connecting on-premises PBXs to the internet using SIP.

Unlike other cloud-based calling and meeting providers, AWS charges customers based on how much they use Chime. However, Chime still trails more established offerings in the video conferencing market.

"Customers I've spoken to like their pay-per-use pricing model," Lazar said. "But at this point, I don't yet see them making a major push to challenge Microsoft, Cisco or Zoom."

In a recent Nemertes Research study, 8% of organizations using a video conferencing service were Chime customers, seventh behind offerings from Microsoft, Cisco and others. However, only 0.6% said Chime was the primary app they used -- the smallest percentage of any vendor.

Adoption of Chime has been "pretty sluggish," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. "But Amazon can play the long game here." Launched in February 2017, Chime is a relatively insignificant project of AWS, a division of Amazon that generated more than $25 billion in revenue last fiscal year.

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