Otter.ai launches Otter Assistant to help Zoom-fatigued workers


AI-powered transcription firm Otter.ai this week launched Otter Assistant, a new tool that automatically joins calendared Zoom meetings on a user’s behalf to record, take notes, and share those notes with other participants, whether they actually take part in the meeting or not.

Available to Otter.ai Business users, the tool is designed to make Zoom meetings more productive because participants can focus on what’s actually being said rather than taking notes. If participants are late, or need to step away, the automatically generated transcript keeps them from missing important information, the company said.

Dave Michels, principal analyst at TalkingPointz, said that while some workers are starting to make a cautious return to the office, the shift toward hybrid workplaces is unlikely to lead to a meaningful drop in online meetings.

“It only takes one remote participant to justify the use of online meeting services,” Michels said. “That’s exactly why we need to embrace products and services that make online meetings better and more efficient.”

Otter.ai co-founder and CEO Sam Liang, in an interview, said Otter Assistant works as a silent assistant, automatically joining meetings to take live notes that can be shared with all attendees. Otter Assistants appear on video calls as a separate muted and video-less participant from the individual running the tool, meaning all attendees can see the feature is running throughout the meeting.

“[Otter Assistant] is actually visible for everyone. The meeting host can see it, so it does provide transparency. It’s not like it’s secretly doing something without telling anybody,” Liang said. “In addition, it also posts a message in the chat box, providing an additional signal that Otter is taking notes.”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.



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