Users with an Otter for Teams account can now open a secure, live interactive transcript directly from a video conference with the introduction of Otter.ai Live Video Meeting Notes.
The new Live Video Meeting Notes integration, which is also available to Zoom Pro users, offers access to live transcripts, which meeting participants can highlight, comment on and add pictures to via the Otter.ai web or mobile app.
Post-meeting transcripts of Zoom cloud recordings are also newly available, alongside headset support that ensures Otter.ai Live Video Meeting Notes can capture both sides of a conversation when using headsets or earbuds. (These features are only available if the meeting host has an Otter for Teams account.)
Rival video conferencing platforms such a Google Meet and Microsoft Teams already offer a comprehensive in-meeting closed captioning service. By integrating Otter.ai with its video services, Zoom is, in effect, catching up to competitors and removing a key differentiator between the three platforms.
Although Otter.ai was only launched in February 2018, it has built up a millions-strong user base and is backed by Google, Tesla, DeepMind, and Facebook.
Otter.ai CEO and founder Sam Liang noted that the growing need for virtual meetings because of the COVID-19 pandemic make it even more important for employees to have high-quality meeting notes. “Otter usage with Zoom meetings has increased by more than 5X in the past few weeks and we’re seeing new sign-ups from remote workers and distance learning,” he said in a statement. “Otter has transcribed more than 25 million meetings, accounting for more than 750 million transcribed meeting minutes to date.”
Zoom has long been a champion of third-party integrations, something Zoom’s group product manager Nitasha Walia talked up in October 2019.
Those integrations are important, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. “For Zoom, it’s valuable because, although they seem like a big company, they’re still relatively small. So an ecosystem of partners like Otter can help bring best-of-breed capabilities without having to dedicate its own engineering resources.”
He argued that these kinds of integrations can affect how Zoom users experience the platform. The ongoing pandemic has prompted many countries to shutter businesses, office buildings and schools, leading to a large uptake in video conferencing as workers try to minimize the disruption to their daily lives. As of April 22, Zoom had 300 million daily users.
Kerravala noted that many teachers are now using Zoom to virtually educate children who can no longer be in the classroom. “Kids with laptops can turn Zoom on and transcribe the session instead of taking notes,” he said.
“However, kids from low-income homes may only have a mobile phone, making attending a Zoom call and recording it difficult. The integrated support democratizes the use of the transcription tool. The headset support means it can be used in noisy areas so now people working from home need not worry about too much background noise.”
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Charlotte Trueman is a Staff Writer at Computerworld. She joined IDG in 2016 after graduating with a degree in English and American Literature from the University of Kent. Trueman covers collaboration, focusing on videoconferencing, productivity software, AR/VR and issues around sustainability.
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