Otter.ai transcribes Zoom meetings in real-time

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A new Zoom tool called Otter.ai lets users transcribe their meetings in real-time.
Image: Zoom / Otter.ai

It’s safe to say that no one really likes Zoom meetings. Although everyone is making the best of them with fun backgrounds, it can be hard to stay focused. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that they’ll be ending anytime soon.

For those that struggle to keep up, however, there may be a solution. Otter.ai is a real-time voice transcription service that works within the Zoom architecture. It gives meeting participants a way to record and review notes from their videoconferences. Best of all, it even works while a user is wearing headphones.

Transcribing the Present

Users who are subscribed to a Zoom Pro plan or higher can find the Otter.ai integration in the LIVE menu at the top of the Zoom menu. They’ll then need to log into the transcription service to start using it.

A nice feature that Otter.ai brings to the table is that users won’t have to remember to start or stop the transcriptions each time. Instead, it does so automatically so that you don’t miss anything.

It’s worth noting that meeting transcription isn’t brand new to Zoom. Previously, users could get a record of what was said but had to wait for several hours after the meeting’s conclusion. Otter.ai, by contrast, transcribes the audio in real-time. This allows users to go back and read through important sections as they occur or immediately after a videoconference ends.

Once the meeting is over, users can go back to review the transcript in its entirety. The tool also includes useful features like the ability to highlight, comment, and add photos to the notes. For those who just need to reference a specific moment, text searching is also included.

Since the software captures and transcribes audio with the power of artificial intelligence (AI) it is highly accurate. Moreover, it gets better every day. To date, Otter.ai has transcribed more than 750 million meeting minutes across 25 million meetings.

Recent Boom

Like Zoom, Otter.ai is experiencing unprecedented growth as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. With employees and students conducting meetings from home, videoconferencing tools have skyrocketed in popularity. Although not everyone will need a tool like Otter.ai, it is also feeling the positive effects.

According to Otter.ai CEO and co-founder Sam Liang, the platform’s user base has increased by more than five times in the past few weeks.

He says, “Virtual meetings have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 outbreak as organizations recognize that high quality voice meeting notes are a critical tool for employee productivity when collaborating within an office or in any virtual meeting.”

Thanks to its new integration with Zoom, Otter.ai should be able to attract new paying customers in the coming days. Those who simply want to try the service can do so for free for two months.

Meanwhile, the company states that it is working on integrations with other videoconferencing platforms. With security issues plaguing Zoom, it would be interesting to see Otter.ai added to platforms like Skype and Microsoft Teams.

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