June 23, 2024
Looking for more intelligence from meetings? Otter.ai is taking a shot with 'Meeting GenAI'

Otter.ai is expanding its namesake platform today with a series of new features the vendor has dubbed “Meeting GenAI,” designed to boost meeting intelligence.

The San Francisco-based startup provides online artificial intelligence (AI) powered voice transcription services. It integrates with many common meeting providers including Zoom. In June 2023, the company first debuted its Otter AI chat capabilities, bringing the power of a generative AI assistant to the platform to answer questions about a specific meeting and provide summaries. 

The new “Meeting GenAI” features go a step further, enabling organizations to benefit from the Otter AI assistant in a single meeting, but also across all meeting transcriptions that a user or organization has on the platform. A user could for example get a summary from a dozen different meetings, ask about the key takeaways and get the next steps. The AI chat capability is also now coming to the Channels capability in Otter, so multiple users in the same organization can now chat with Otter AI as part of a channel conversation.

“Using the new AI chat, it can query an entire meeting database,” Sam Liang, Otter AI co-founder and CEO told VentureBeat. “You can ask an ambiguous question and Otter will find out which meetings  discussed that topic and give you the answer.”

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In addition to querying across meetings, Otter is making the AI chat collaborative as part of a larger strategy to help organizations gain more value from meetings.

With the current Otter AI chat, only a single user can interact with the AI. With the “Meeting GenAI” updates multiple people can now participate in a group chat with the AI. In an Otter channel, a group of people can chat with each other, and now Otter AI can be a participant in that channel.

“So you can still talk to each other as usual, but at any time, you can say hey, Otter, I have a question about you know, a sales call and Otter will give you the answer in that channel so that everybody else can see it too,” Liang said.

Liang said that he sees the Otter channel collaboration capability as being complementary to an organization’s usage of other collaboration tools, such as Slack. Liang noted that while Slack is very powerful for text communication, Otter focuses on voice and storing searchable meeting transcripts. 

Credit: Otter.ai

In addition to the AI chat upgrades, Otter continues honing its AI capabilities behind the scenes. 

According to Liang, the company’s AI team has done substantial work to improve summarization quality. He noted that the summarization is continuously being refined based on user feedback to help generate the insights that users are looking for from meetings. Otter builds its own models and also fine-tunes existing models as part of its voice transcription platform.

Otter is also taking steps to reduce the risk of AI hallucinations. One example is to double-check that any names, companies or other terminology referenced by the AI can be found in the original content.

Looking ahead, Liang said Otter aims to have the Otter AI chat speak up proactively during meetings when it has useful information.

It’s a future where Otter will in many respects be just another participant in a meeting. Liang said it’s possible in the future that Otter will be listening in as part of a Zoom conference for example and respond to voice queries inside of meetings, or even proactively offer information at an appropriate time.

“It can just start talking proactively whenever it detects that it can contribute useful information or useful insights,” Liang said. “So Otter becomes a team member that can participate in a live discussion.”

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