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Otter.ai Wants to Be in the Room Where Hybrid Meetings Happen

March 30, 2022 Collaboration and Productivity
Gabrielle Rodgers
By Gabrielle Rodgers LinkedIn

Otter.ai, which provides AI-powered transcription, announced product updates on March 29 that company officials say will elevate the position of Otter.ai in the workplace collaboration market.

“The new Otter is designed as a one-stop for meeting needs for the half-billion hybrid work professionals and takes Otter from a single-player transcription service to a full-fledged, multiplayer AI meeting and collaboration tool,” Simon Lau, senior vice president of product at Otter.ai, told Reworked.

Founded in 2016 by Silicon Valley veterans Sam Liang and Yun Fu, the privately held Mountain View, Calif.-based company has raised a total of $63 million so far from investors, according to Crunchbase.

Users of the company's signature product can transcribe voice conversations from meetings, interviews and lectures into notes that can be indexed, shared and searched.

What's New With Otter

Simon Lau, senior vice president of product, Otter.ai
Simon Lau, SVP, Product, Otter.aiPHOTO: Courtesy of Otter.ai
The new features specifically target business professionals and aim to create "the first use of conversational AI to turn meetings into actionable workflow," according to company officials.

"Using artificial intelligence, Otter.ai makes voice conversations instantly accessible and actionable by generating real-time meeting notes with recorded audio that is secure, shareable and searchable," Lau said. "Otter specifically thought of business professionals who are running from one meeting to the next while juggling multiple projects with various teams."

Here's a rundown of what's new:

  • New Home Feed and Calendar: The new Otter home feed creates a "a one-stop for meetings and post-meeting actions," according to company officials, where users can access shared conversations, highlight specific sections, add comments and tag action items. If Otter is connected to a user's Google or Microsoft Outlook calendar, it can also display upcoming meetings and allow users to join the meeting alongside Otter Assistant, which will automatically generate meeting notes.
  • Meeting Gems: Users can capture action items, decisions and key moments of meetings and then assign action items, add comments or ask a question using a new Meeting Gems panel.
  • Automatic Outline for Quick Meeting Summaries: Otter will automatically create a meeting summary that's displayed in the Outline panel for others to see.
  • One-Click Screen Captures: Users of Otter Assistant can add a meeting slide or other images presented in a virtual meeting to Otter notes.

Related Article: Digital Transformation Challenges IT, Remote Work Labeled 'an Aberration' & More News 

Updates Available for Business Users Now, All Users in May

Otter Business users logging into Otter on the web will see a pop-up introducing the new Otter experience over the next few days, according to Lau. They can choose to immediately update Otter or later through a button within their Otter homepage. The new experience will roll out for all users by May, he added.

Otter offers a variety of pricing options for individual users and enterprise subscriptions. The Basic option is free and the Pro version for individual users is $8.33 per month. The Business option is $20 per user/per month for small teams and organizations and Enterprise pricing is available for larger organizations.

The goal of this product update is to make meetings more productive and accessible, Lau said. "We are innovating the future of meetings and communication to be even more collaborative, accessible, and productive by providing Otter users AI-generated insights, including outlines, personalized summarization and action items," he said. 

Related Article: Most of Us Aren't in Too Many Virtual Meetings

Recent Enhancements Include Google, Microsoft Updates

This latest announcement is the next in a series of product updates Otter.ai has made in the past year. Otter Assistant for Zoom was introduced in May 2021 to give users a way to record Zoom meetings, take notes and share transcripts with all participants. That was followed by Otter Assistant support for Microsoft Teams and Google Meet in August 2021.

In Sept. 2021, the company released the Otter.ai Chrome Extension for Google Meet and Google Calendar that allowed users to link Otter.ai to their Google Calendar and have meetings on Google Meet transcribed in real time. As a result, according to company statistics, Otter.ai has experienced a 400% increase in total minutes transcribed over the past year, up from 3 billion to 12 billion. 

"We see the future of work as defined by hybrid modalities and how we communicate in virtual or in-person meetings is a vital part of an enterprise’s success," Lau said. "That’s why we’re launching the new Otter."

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