Otter Upgrades AI to Summarize and Analyze Your Meetings
Otter.ai revamped its AI transcription and meeting collaboration platform this week with new voice AI features and tools. The AI will now “Meeting Outlines” summarizing the conversations it transcribes and highlight any notable decisions or action items as “Meeting Gems,” among other additions.
Otter has offered AI-powered transcriptions of meetings, both in-person and on Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. The latest iteration extends the AI’s functions to more complex administrative duties. When connected to the calendar, Otter will remind users about meetings coming up so they can remember to turn on the transcription. The Meeting Outlines feature analyzes the transcript to produce bullet points summarizing the meeting, relying on natural language processing and deep learning models to work out what the bullet points should say. The interactive outline lets users see the transcript it is pulling from and allows relistening of a recorded conversation. The AI also spots and collects “Meeting Gems,” a term Otter uses for when a decision is made, a post-meeting plan is set up, and any to-do items are noted.
Otter doesn’t exclude human collaboration; people can add and edit key points or action items as they choose, and mark whenever they complete one. Meeting participants can also screenshot any visuals from the meeting and insert them in the transcript. The new Otter homepage bears some visual similarities to Slack and other text-focused communications platforms, with direct and group text messages as an option. But, while those platforms tend to start with text and expand to speech, Otter approaches things from the other direction.
“We’re not feature parity with a text, text-centered, or text-first enterprise collaboration tool like Slack. We’re definitely voice-first,” Otter.ai vice president of product Simon Lau told Voicebot in an interview. “We feel that voice is such a natural communication channel that and so so we’re betting on being voice-first but augmenting voice with other media to drive that greater experience to provide the context. Our thinking is that people are going to find that this is going to be very, very powerful providing collaboration and communications during the meeting, before the meeting, and in-between meetings through this combination of voice recording, transcription, screenshots, and texts.”
Voice AI for business meetings has become a standard feature, especially after the changes in working precipitated by COVID-19. Otter’s new features fit with moves made by tech giants like Alibaba. Otter has seen rapid growth, spurred in part by the shift to hybrid and at-home work models. In the last year, the company quadrupled its transcription minutes from 3 billion to 12 billion. Otter supported its growth with the $50 million it raised a little over a year ago, though it’s far from alone among startups pulling in large investment checks. The funding rounds range from Fireflies.ai’s $14 million and Symbl’s $17 million, up to Observe.AI’s $54 million and Kore.ai’s $70 million, but it’s become a non-stop parade.
“We all spend too much time in meetings and I am really excited about the power of AI to make meetings more productive,” Otter CEO Sam Liang said. “The new Otter makes meeting collaboration easier and faster – making it an essential tool for business teams looking to improve their communication in today’s hybrid, in-person, and virtual meetings.”