advertisement
advertisement

Transcription app Otter wants to make meetings more useful

Otter wants to turn meeting recordings into transcripts you can quickly skim, annotate, and search—and make itself a new hub for workplace conversations.

Transcription app Otter wants to make meetings more useful
[Image: Otter]

Otter, the AI-powered meeting transcription service, is rolling out a set of new features designed to boost collaboration even after meetings are over.

advertisement
advertisement

The company’s Otter Assistant can already find meeting invitations in your Google or Outlook calendar, automatically join meetings on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and transcribe them for you—even when you can’t attend the meetings yourself.

Now, a new newsfeed-style view integrates calendar information directly into Otter, so you can see your upcoming meetings, automatically join them from within Otter, schedule the Assistant to join you or go in your place, and find past meetings by date to access Otter notes. Also new is an AI-powered feature that generates an outline view of the notes, pulling out important topics and displaying them in a panel with links to jump to the relevant section of the meeting recording.

[Photo: Otter]
“Basically, you can handle all your meetings here,” Otter cofounder and CEO Sam Liang told Fast Company, as he clicked from our scheduled interview in Otter’s calendar to the transcript his tool was generating in real time.

advertisement

Making meetings searchable

All of this is part of a push by Otter to store meeting content and make it searchable, the way office workers now take for granted that Slack discussions, spreadsheets, and word processing documents are always accessible. That can make meetings more valuable for those who attend them, says Liang—and make it easier for people to skip meetings without missing anything important. In the future, he adds, Otter’s AI may even be able to automatically tag meeting invitees when it notices something relevant to them is discussed.

Sam Liang [Photo: Otter]
“A lot of times, in corporate environments, people tend to invite more people than needed into any meeting,” says Liang. “We see that Otter will become this end-to-end system that can really help people communicate a lot better and also help people reduce their Zoom fatigue and improve their mental health.”

Within Otter’s notes, you can now create what Otter calls Meeting Gems, highlighting sections of the notes to turn them into action items you can assign to yourself or a colleague, add additional comments, or ask questions. Those action items appear within the newsfeed as well.

advertisement

Like other transcription tools, Otter automatically distinguishes between speakers in recordings, letting users specify the names of each speaker and labeling them throughout, and lets users clean up transcripts if they wish to do so, including while watching and listening to meeting recordings. Those recordings and other data are encrypted and stored with privacy in mind, Liang says: “We recognize that voice communication often has highly sensitive, highly confidential information,” he says.

The service now also lets Otter customers add slides and other meeting visual aids to Otter’s notes with a single click on the thumbnail of the recorded meeting video. That requires the Otter Assistant, a feature available to members with Pro plans, which are priced at $12.99 per month or $100 per year, and Business plans, priced at $30 per month or $240 per year per user.

Otter Business users connecting via the website will see an invitation to use the new features and interface in the next few days, according to the company, and the new version will roll out to all users by May. The company’s iOS and Android apps will also be updated in the coming weeks.

advertisement

Otter says it’s seen continued interest over the past year, with the cumulative number of minutes of meetings the service has transcribed ballooning from 3 billion minutes to 12 billion minutes.

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

About the author

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist living in New Orleans.

More