Otter.ai states that remote meetings can be more productive than in person

Otter.ai has been updated for iOS and introduces new tools that turn it from a transcription solution into a work productivity hub. Sam Liang, co-founder and CEO of Otter.ai, told me about the company’s plans.

Otter wants to make remote working meaningful

We know that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote and hybrid work practices. While this was a visible direction before COVID-19, the need to keep distance meant that even the most renegade bosses had to support Work from Home (WFH), at least for a while.

It is true, of course, that some of these hard-won freedoms have been eroded in some workplaces of late, but remote working and hybrid have become more widely accepted than ever before. Even Apple seems to have accepted, albeit reluctantly, that staff don’t have to be in the office every day of the week.

According to a recent Topia survey, 94% of employees believe they should be able to work anywhere, as long as they get the job done. With 34% of workers willing to quit this year if they don’t get the flexibility they need, it’s only a matter of time before employers really embrace these new workflows. It turns out that most businesses are run by people and they need to be heard.

Perhaps inevitably, remote working led to a massive shift to virtual and hybrid meetings. Otter claims that more than 500 million people attend such gatherings every day. The company saw a 400% increase in meeting minutes recorded year over year – from 3 billion minutes to 12 billion in the past 12 months.

While changing the way we work represents a cultural shift that makes some business leaders uneasy, it also brings real benefits to savvy companies looking to keep up with the trend.

Where are we going

Liang explains:

“Before the pandemic, traditional standards of how meetings were held and how companies were run didn’t always leverage everyone’s skills and encourage collaboration,” he said.

“We lived in an extroverted world where meetings were dominated by people who could hear and process information, not worry about distractions, and enjoy talking. Not only was this form of communication exclusive and inaccessible to many professionals, it also hindered a lot of valuable productivity and collaboration.”

Working remotely changed this dynamic. It created a slightly more equal environment in which introverts had a better chance of being heard. And tools like Otter provide additional benefits, such as in accessibility. Hearing impaired employees can join a meeting and use Otter’s real-time transcription to follow the conversation in real time.

“In this new hybrid work world, more companies are enabling new modalities, meetings, and use cases — inherently new tools in the world that enable companies to leverage all their talent more and encourage collaboration,” Otter’s CEO told me.

The consequences? Lots of work-life balance improvements that give employees the flexibility they need to get their jobs done both in and out of the office, asynchronously, when and where they need to be – with the addition of increased productivity to thaw that pie .

That’s the context, so what’s new in Otter.ai?

The new tools from Otter.ai

The new Otter.ai introduces a suite of useful tools to improve communication through technology – delivering tools that can optimize those meetings for you.

The Home feed & calendar For example, the feature acts as a central repository of information about your meetings, making it easy to access conversations, conversation highlights, and all tagged action items.

Linking your calendar will also show you upcoming scheduled meetings and invite Otter Assistant to join, record and share minutes. You can also ask the assistant to attend and record a meeting on your behalf if you are unable to attend.

meeting gems is another useful tool. These can be generated directly from your meeting by highlighting excerpts in the notes. You can use them during the meeting to quickly highlight action items or decisions and then assign, comment, or request those items.

[Also read: In the new workplace, all we want is a chance to Flow and grow]

Why this is important?

I think most people can remember when face-to-face meetings became something like huge workplace icebergs looming over your schedule. You would know that no matter how busy you were, you wouldn’t get anything done for the entire duration of that meeting. You would sit in a conference room with your teams listening to the most dominant voices (and the rare and often ignored silent voices) and if you were lucky, someone might remember to take notes.

Poorly managed meetings become a colossal waste of time. This kind of meeting etiquette has been forced to change with the advent of the pandemic. Not only did employees quickly realize that note-taking was incredibly important to making meetings effective, but collaboration software vendors quickly recognized the need to integrate with other solutions to make meeting time productive. Zoom Marketplace (which also houses Otter) is an illustration of how that company recognized this.

Liang said Otter’s primary mission is to make communication productive. Considering the root of the solution is AI, he explained, “One way to do that is to turn voice conversations into automated actionable insights,” he said.

To get an idea of ​​the approach Liang’s company is taking, he pointed out: Automatic contours, another new tool currently in beta with business users. It’s a simple yet incredibly useful solution to automatically create a meeting summary, “so you and your colleagues can easily access a summary of what was discussed.”

The final score?

No one ever needs to leave a meeting without notes – and you don’t even need to be at a meeting to understand what happened.

In my opinion, the steady convergence of all these technologies means that remote meetings will soon become more effective than face-to-face interactions, as technology has evolved to improve communication in meetings with tools to support the realization of purpose.

How much is it

Not all new features are available to every user. Otter offers four pricing tiers, the free Basic service, Pro ($8.33 per month), Business ($20 per month), and an Enterprise tier, which is negotiated with major customers. Among the new features, basic users can access Meeting Gems.

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