Otter Releases Virtual Assistant for Transcribing Zoom Conversations
Transcription AI startup Otter.ai has launched a virtual assistant to deploy during Zoom conference calls. The new Otter Assistant is an entirely digital presence that can handle secretarial duties like recording, transcribing, and note-taking during Zoom meetings to share with the participants afterward. It’s the latest big move for the startup, which has already raised $50 million this year and scored a deal to integrate a similar digital tool on Google Meet.
The Otter Assistant connects to Zoom through an Otter Business user’s calendar, automatically joining meetings marked in the schedule. Once the meeting begins, Otter Assistant runs quietly in the background, recording the audio, transcribing it, and taking notes in real-time that participants can see. The Otter Assistant isn’t restricted to working when the user is the Zoom host either. The AI can be activated for any meeting the user is in, regardless of their status within the meeting. After the meeting ends, the participants can all look at the notes taken by Otter online or on the Otter mobile app. They can then add new text or images to highlight what they want to see emphasized from the meeting. They can also read the transcript and adjust it as necessary.
“As virtual meetings persist, we need a way to make them more productive and collaborative and to alleviate Zoom gloom,” Otter.ai CEO Sam Liang said in a statement. “Now, through the power of artificial intelligence, you can send your Otter Assistant to meetings on your behalf so you can focus on what’s most relevant without worrying about missing anything. There has never been an easier way to share meeting content.”
Otter has been on the rise almost since its inception half a decade ago as AISense. The recent acceleration was already visible in the most recent funding round and integrating with Google Meet. Unlike the built-in assistant Otter provides on Meet, Otter Assistant requires paying for Otter Business, which starts at $20 a month. Otter isn’t the only option for transcription of Zoom meetings, however. Australian voice AI developer Dubber’s Unified Call Recording can both record and analyze conversations directly from Zoom if the user so chooses.
Otter’s $73 million in investment helped fuel the especially rapid growth over the last year as online meetings became the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s revenue was 800% higher in 2020, and more than three billion meeting minutes have been transcribed since Otter debuted. Transcribing and analyzing calls is a big business now, with lots of large dollar amounts getting tossed around. That’s why Observe.AI could raise $54 million, and Replicant could pick up $27 million in September. Meanwhile, Dialpad beat everyone with a $100 million raise in October, and Verbit closed a $60 million round in November. Of course, if you’d rather not even be there for a meeting and just have Otter handle the recording for you to peruse, you can always set up a digital clone to handle the small talk and make a visible presence.