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Using Slack and Amazon Chime for Remote Work

Using Slack and Amazon Chime for Remote Work

Using Slack and Amazon Chime for Remote Work
date_range - 7 months ago

In the last few weeks, due to the ongoing pandemic, a lot of companies switched their company offices for the home office. Remote work is a bit different compared to the work in the office due to the inability of physical contact.

Companies that did not adapt to digital technologies may struggle with the switch. Fortunately, we can show you two very popular and efficient collaboration tools that help our teams get the work done. We are talking about Slack and Amazon Chime. Slack is the tool we use for daily collaboration; Amazon Chime is a tool we use for online meetings, video conferencing, and calls.

What Is Slack, and How Does It Work?

Slack is a communication tool designed to simplify workplace collaboration; it is "a single place for messaging, tools, and files."

Instant messaging

The primary Slack function is instant messaging; we have two types of chats in Slack: channels (group chat), and direct message (person-to-person chat).

Channels are designed for communication with a large group of people. They can be used for the communication inside teams, project communication, or client communication. Team members can simply leave the channel, which is not the case with lengthy and inconvenient email chains. Channels can be shared with other companies, partners, and external collaborators to simplify project communication or other topics.

Slack channels

Even though direct messages are designed for person to person communication, they can also have more than 2 participants, just like channels. The difference is that channels are designed for more open collaboration, while direct messages are better used discussing things that do not concern everybody.

Both channels and direct messages have search functionality that makes searching for topics inside chats very simple and efficient.

Slack search

File sharing

As a collaboration tool, Slack allows the sharing of images, videos, and other files with colleagues. Some popular file types such as PDF, docx, or xlsx feature a simple preview.

Apps

Slack connects easily with other collaboration tools with the use of "apps." We can connect Slack with various project management tools such as Asana, Trello, Jira, or other types of tools such as Outlook, Gmail, Confluence, Salesforce, or even with the external services through the Slack API.

Slack search

Premium Customer Support

In Sedmi odjel we are using Slack as our daily collaboration and communication tool for our premium customers. This is not something new; this is something we established a long time ago when we started using Slack. When a customer has a problem, he uses a dedicated Slack channel to communicate with our support team and resolve the issue. Each channel has a dedicated team responsible for the customer or the specific project.

From the customer's standpoint, our switch from the company office to the home office wasn't noticeable; we still provide the same level of customer support as before.

What is Amazon Chime, and how does it work?

Amazon Chime is a cross-device tool created for "Frustration-Free Meetings." Amazon has put a lot of effort into understanding how online communication work and how digital communication experience can be designed to simulate face to face meetings.

Meetings

One of the most important features of the Chime is the ability to hold business meetings.

When scheduling a meeting, users can simply add meet@chime.aws to the list of invites; this enables Chime to call the user when the meeting is about to begin.

To join the meeting, you simply tap within the app, or you can choose the "Running Late" option to let everyone know you're running late.

Amazon Chime is a service created on top of AWS's infrastructure; this means it is fully stable and secure. When starting a meeting, Amazon Chime automatically selects where to host the meeting from among 14 AWS regions. This functionality enables the optimization of meeting experience based on the participant proximity and AWS network telemetry.

Amazon Chime has a couple of very convenient features for better collaboration within the meeting:

  • Screen sharing - participants' can share their screen and present information to other meeting participants.
  • Visual roster - helps participants to see who has joined or declined the meeting, who is running late and who is currently speaking.
  • Recording - important meetings can be recorded and later shared with other colleagues.

Video Conferencing

Amazon Chime features high-quality wideband audio and high-definition video conferencing for up to 16 people on desktop, or 8 people on mobile devices; it also supports most Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and H.323 video conferencing systems.

Collaboration

All relevant collaboration features, such as direct chat, group chats (without the limit of the number of users), and file sharing can be found inside Amazon Chime. Files up to 50mb can be shared with other colleagues by a simple drag and drop.

Amazon Chime for Business Use

Amazon Chime lets users receive phone calls and send and receive text messages directly from the app. When someone calls your phone number, your Chime app across all of your devices starts to ring, when you answer the call on one device, other devices stop ringing. Users can seamlessly switch active calls between mobile and desktop devices without interrupting the conversation. Voicemail feature answers the call when you are unable to answer.

SDK and Connectors

Amazon Chime features an SDK that helps developers add audio calling, video calling, and screen sharing capabilities into their applications. Voice Connector service enables enterprises to migrate their telephony workloads to AWS.

Integrating Slack and Amazon Chime

Amazon Chime Meetings App for Slack is created to help integrate Slack and Chime; it lets Slack users start and join Amazon Chime meetings directly from their Slack workspace.

Integrating Slack and Amazon Chime

When Amazon Chime Meetings App is installed, it adds the following features to Slack:

  • Starting an Amazon Chime meeting from Slack - using "/chime command or the Slack Call button meeting can be started
  • Joining an Amazon Chime meeting - participants can join the meeting with one click from a Slack workspace channel or direct message.
  • Powerful meeting capabilities - Amazon Chime includes group audio and video calling, screen sharing, guest access from a meeting link, conference dial-ins, and support for SIP in-room video systems.
  • Meeting summary - at the end of the meeting, a brief summary of the meeting is posted in the Slack workspace channel or direct message.

Conclusion

Both Slack and Amazon Chime are created to boost the productivity of remote teams and to help companies collaborate better and more efficiently. Slack is an easy to use tool aimed at daily collaboration, chatting, and file sharing. Amazon Chime is designed more towards conferencing, calls, and online meetings, although it has all of the necessary day to day collaboration features as Slack. With the integration of these two tools, we have the best of both worlds.

We use Slack and Amazon Chime to run our daily meetings and important communication just like we would in the office.

As an Amazon Consulting Partner, we are specialized in providing IT services based on AWS infrastructure. If you need help adopting the remote work by using AWS tools and services or you think you can benefit from using these two tools, give us a call at +385 1 3141 562 or contact our sales department at sales@sedmiodjel.com.

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