The virtual assistant, launched to Zoom users in May, receives support for three other platforms: Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Cisco Webex.
Otter’s assistant from AI-based transcription company Otter.ai, a tool that can automatically join scheduled appointments on behalf of a user, has expanded its coverage beyond Zoom this week. It now works with Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Cisco Webex.
Available to Otter.ai Business users, the tool is designed to make video conferencing more productive, as participants can focus on what is actually being said instead of taking notes. If participants are late or have to leave, the automatically generated transcript prevents them from missing important information, the company said.
Although most video conferencing tools have transcription capabilities, they are generally limited to the host, said Dave Michels, senior analyst at TalkingPointz. The cross-application functionality of the Otter Assistant provides an advantage for workers who regularly switch between video applications, which has become commonplace over the past year as remote work has grown.
«Otter solves these problems by being an application, which is a user interface and an application and a repository,» said Michels.
While some workers have begun to return to the office cautiously this summer, switching to hybrid jobs and increasing the Delta variant of coronavirus is unlikely to mean a significant drop in online dating anytime soon.
«It only takes one remote participant to justify using online dating services,» Michels said in an interview earlier this year. «That’s why we need to adopt products and services that make online dating better and more efficient.»
Otter.ai co-founder and CEO Sam Liang said in a May interview that Otter Assistant works as a silent assistant and automatically joins meetings to take live notes that can be shared with all participants. Otter participants appear in video calls as a disabled, non-video participant separate from the person running the tool, which means that all participants can see that the function is running during the meeting.
«[Otter Assistant] it is visible to all. The host of the meeting can see it, so it offers transparency. It’s not like I’m doing something in secret without telling anyone, «Liang said. «In addition, he posts a message in the chat box, which provides an additional signal that Otter is taking notes.»
Liang adds that if the content of a meeting is confidential or participants do not want it to connect, the host can eliminate the Otter Assistant in the same way they could eliminate angry participants.
The issue of privacy has been a recurring concern for many video conferencing platforms in the last year. Michels points out that although there has been some buy-in around meeting recording, Otter does not use in-app recording; the usual recording indicator is not lit.
However, Liang pointed out, Otter Assistant notifies participants through the chat function and is clearly visible as a participant in the meeting. He also said that users should always inform their colleagues before a meeting if they intend to use Otter Assistant. «The otter would definitely encourage everyone to ask permission,» he said.
Although the tool is designed to automatically join meetings, Otter Assistant connects to Microsoft Outlook and Google calendars, allowing users to go through their meetings and turn the wizard on and off, depending on who they can personally attend.
In an Otter.ai YouGov survey of more than 2,000 remote workers in the US and the UK, 35% said people should only attend relevant sections of meetings, while 26% said meeting notes they should always be distributed to participants.
«Simply, [Otter Assistant] allows the Zoom user to be in multiple places simultaneously, ”Michels said when the company launched the feature in May for Zoom. «The transcript is available immediately, so there is no dependency or delay associated with the host to send the recording or transcript.»
He argued that meeting participants are becoming increasingly dependent on transcripts of the meeting and it can be frustrating to wait for a host to send them.
After the meeting, the Otter.ai web app and mobile apps on iOS and Android offer a variety of collaboration features, all aimed at improving business communication. Users can highlight, share, add images, search for keywords, and review a transcript after a recorded Zoom call.
«[Otter Assistant] democratizes personal assistants and should eliminate the need to ask a colleague to take notes when a conflict prevents someone from attending a meeting, ”said Michels.