David and Goliath Image by Art-x A.I artxai from PixabayOtter.ai has launched a new GenAI meeting capability that it believes will enable it to defeat industry goliaths such as Microsoft Copilot, Zoom AI Companion, and Google Duet.

The company has integrated GenAI across its platform, delivering a capability that is richer than its competitors. Which it sees as only “beginning to dabble in AI-powered meeting notes.

Meeting GenAI has three main capabilities:

Otter AI Chat across all your meetings

Users are now able to sync all their meetings to Otter.ai, whether they are in Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook or Zoom Meetings. It means that the Otter.ai bot joins the meetings as a member, not just to record and transcribe but as a reactive participant. Attendees can ask questions or generate emails and summaries across all meetings over a specific time period, not just a single meeting. Want to be reminded what the crux of a call last week was? Just ask Otter.ai Chat from the home page.

For users who have recorded a lot of conversations within Otter.ai over the years, will find this new feature very useful. For example, one could ask who mentioned supply chain disruption in conversations. Otter.ai will provide a list of where it was mentioned and name the person saying it (if tagged), along with a link to the conversation.

It is especially useful if you know you spoke to someone about the subject but cannot quite remember whom because the conversation was months ago. As with any Generative AI, the output is only as good as the data it uses; not cleaning conversations or tagging speakers might lead to overlooking data points.

AI Chat in Channels

Otter.ai supports its channels in a collaborative chat. While this is not as rich a solutions such as Slack, it does enable teams to work closer together during and after meetings. For organisations using chat, Otter.ai already supports the ability to post a meeting summary into Slack.

AI Conversation Summary View

As meetings unfold, the Meeting Gen AI captures meeting actions as the meeting occurs. However, the solution is not perfect, and some actions may be missed. Running a meeting of any kind is not easy. And the chairperson needs to ensure that actions are noted clearly, either for the secretary historically or for the AI that is listening.

As the AI transcribes the meeting, it is also able to summarise on the fly. This means that people can quickly pick up what was said if they were distracted elsewhere. Attendees can quickly recap what was said in the meeting without having to read through the full transcript.

Why is this important

While there is an assumption that attendees want to understand the actions that are required, there are some other powerful use cases. If their OtterAI attends a meeting, it means that someone away on vacation can quickly catch up on what was said at meetings over the past two weeks by just asking questions about it.

For example, they could ask what mentions of a specific project there were over the meetings from the last two weeks. Alternatively, Meeting GenAI can be used to generate content from across multiple meetings that might surface insights or trends. The AI also generates follow up questions for the user to extract further information from all the conversations.

Otter.ai sees the new AI-enabled channels as complementary to team productivity. The new AI-Chat in Channels makes information from meetings available to async conversations between people, enriching the experience and adding context to conversations that are outside the chat itself. The multi-user channel is the key new feature and indicates that Otter.ai is entering new sectors with its communication platform.

Sam Liang, Co-Founder & CEO of Otter.ai (Image Credit: Otter.ai)
Sam Liang, Co-Founder & CEO of Otter.ai

Sam Liang, Co-Founder and CEO of Otter.ai, commented, “Team-focused Meeting GenAI represents a bold step forward in AI meeting intelligence. These features transcend AI note-taking and are a new paradigm that will empower Otter to proactively join live human conversations and intelligently chat with multiple human participants in real-time meetings – providing relevant insights, generating content, and identifying next steps to move work forward.”

The new AI feature is available in all of its plans, which include the free Otter.ai basic plan and the $20/month/user Otter.ai business plan. It feels that this sets its pricing well below Microsoft CoPilot and offers greater generative AI functionality.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Bold statements from Otter.ai and ones that Microsoft, Google and Zoom will no doubt react to, at least with product announcements. Whether they lower their price is another matter. The larger incumbents offer different elements to Otter.ai in many cases.

The new features look extremely useful for anyone using Otter.ai extensively. Importantly, though, to ensure full value, users will need to review and correct transcriptions for those with strong accents to ensure all information is captured. While Otter.ai learns, there are still areas where the correction tools could be improved.

From a simple transcription tool, Otter.ai has expanded its platform to deliver much more. It will be interesting to see what the future holds. In September 2023, it launched Ottera.ai for Sales. It has now entered the communication platform sector; are these defensive or focused offensive business strategies? On LinkedIn it describes itself as an AI-powered note-taking and chat app that lets you remember, search, and share your voice conversations. It seems to have stepped beyond this, but where is it going?


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