AI adds AI-generated meeting summaries and new home feed made its name as a slick, AI-powered transcription service. But as this type of automated transcription becomes more commonplace, the company is expanding its remit — adding a host of features, including AI-generated meeting summaries, with the aim of turning users’ Otter accounts into collaborative hubs for work.

The goal is to make Otter bigger than transcriptions and cater to the company’s growing number of enterprise customers. “A year ago, most of [our customers] were individuals, but more and more professionals are using it,” CEO Sam Liang told The Verge in an interview. “The new Otter makes it a one-stop for all your meeting contents and collaboration needs.”

When accessing accounts on the web, Otter users will now see a “home feed” that pulls together transcriptions and a calendar of upcoming meetings into a single overview. They’ll be able to jump into meetings directly from their calendar and use Otter integrations with services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet to record and transcribe the audio.

The transcriptions can then be added to in various ways. The big new feature is AI-generated meeting summaries, which are supposed to highlight the most important moments in recordings. There’s also something Otter is calling “meeting gems.” These are parts of the transcript that have been highlighted by users, who can then tag in co-workers and add comments or tasks. Users can also now add screenshots to transcripts with a single click, making it easier to reference visual material discussed during meetings.

The most intriguing feature, though, is AI-generated meeting summaries. We haven’t been able to test this for ourselves, though even Liang admitted the tool was “far from perfect, but it’s a great start.”

The company’s software looks at a lot of different factors to decide what are the most relevant points from a meeting, says Liang. “We look at the topic words people use. We look at the speaker dynamics — who is talking and what topics they discuss […] and when did they change topic. It’s never just based on one signal — it’s always a combination.”

In a preview of the software we were shown via Zoom, the tool seemed to pick out when new topics of conversation were introduced and the speaker changed. It could potentially be a useful way to skip through relevant parts of a meeting, but it’s very unlikely the machine learning could match the knowledge of a human, who would know far more about the background and context of a meeting and its participants.

In addition to the summaries, Otter also offers a breakdown of who spends the most time in a meeting talking — a tool that could be useful when trying to balance collaboration in teams. Liang says there’s much more analysis that could be done, too (like sentiment analysis on the language used) that would let Otter expand far beyond its current space. “This is why I say Otter, potentially, has a bigger total addressable market than Zoom or other conferencing systems,” he says. “The conferencing systems just provide a way for people to talk to each other; they don’t really understand what they’re discussing.”

Other startups are already moving fast in this space, though. One called Poised promises to coach users on their presentation skills by transcribing meetings and analyzing things like their use of filler words and speaking speed. Another called Sembly offers similar AI-generated meeting summaries.

For Otter, though, the bigger threat is from juggernauts like Google and Microsoft, whose AI expertise would allow them to quickly create such features themselves and offer them to a far larger audience. (Indeed, they’re already ahead. Examples include Microsoft’s PowerPoint, which offers its own speech analysis and tips for presenters, and Google Docs, which uses AI to generate summaries and content pages.) When asked about this threat, Liang says that Otter will succeed for the reason so many startups do: it’s focused on a single product while tech giants are distracted by their sprawling interests.

“The question is: how obsessed are you?” he says. “Eric Yuan, the Zoom CEO, is, I bet, way more obsessed with video quality than the Google CEO. The Google CEO makes 99 percent of their money from Search and YouTube, so nothing else matters.”

For Otter, he says, that obsession is turning meeting transcripts into action plans. Now, the company itself has to follow through.

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How to join a Zoom meeting

There’s actually more than one way to join a Zoom meeting. And the method you choose depends on the kind of device you have and which type of Zoom software you plan to use.

In this guide, we’ll go over four different ways to join a Zoom meeting. With all of these methods, you’re sure to find one that works for you and your upcoming meetings.

How to join a Zoom meeting in the desktop app

The most obvious way to join a Zoom meeting is via the videoconferencing service’s desktop app. One thing to remember is that you can join a Zoom meeting on the desktop regardless of whether or not you’re signed in to your Zoom account.

If you’re not signed in to your account on the desktop app, simply do the following: Open the Zoom desktop app. Select the Join a meeting button. Enter your Meeting ID and desired display name in the spaces provided. Select any meeting options you want. Select Join. When prompted, enter the meeting passcode provided in your meeting invitation. Select Join meeting.

(You can usually find the Meeting ID in the invitation sent to you by the host of your meeting. It is usually 11 digits long)

If you are signed in to your Zoom account on the desktop app, complete the following steps to join your meeting:

Step 1: Open the Zoom desktop app.

Step 2: On the main screen and under Home, select Join.

Step 3: Enter your Meeting ID and update your display name (if desired) in the spaces provided. Tick the boxes next to any meeting options you want.


Step 4: Select Join.

How to join a Zoom meeting in the mobile app

You can also join meetings via the Zoom mobile app. The instructions for doing on the Android and iOS versions are pretty similar to each other. And so following the steps below should work for you regardless of which operating system you use.

And just like the desktop app, you can join meetings whether you’re signed into a Zoom account or not.

If you’re not signed in, then do the following: Open the Zoom mobile app. Select the Join a meeting button. Enter your Meeting ID. Select any meeting options you want. Then select the Join button. When prompted enter your meeting’s passcode. Select OK.

(The Meeting ID and passcode should be included in the meeting invitation you were sent.)

If you are signed into the mobile app with a Zoom account:

Step 1: Open the Zoom mobile app.

Step 2: Select Join from the main screen.

Step 3: Enter the Meeting ID and select any meeting options you want.

Joining a meeting on the Zoom mobile app for Android.


Step 4: Select Join.

How to join a Zoom meeting in a browser

You don’t have to download the desktop or mobile apps to join a Zoom meeting. Zoom meetings are also accessible via Zoom’s web app.

(Note: You can only attend meetings via the web app if the meeting host has enabled a feature called “Join from your browser.” Otherwise, the following instructions won’t work.)

Here’s how to join a Zoom meeting using Zoom’s web app:

Step 1: Open your web browser, navigate to your meeting invitation, and select the link to your meeting.

Step 2: A new browser tab will open. In this tab, a dialog box may appear asking you to either choose an application to open the meeting or download the Zoom app. You’re not doing either of those, so select the Cancel option in that dialog box.

Selecting the Cancel option to launch the Zoom web app.


Step 3: Navigate to the bottom of that webpage, and select the Join from your browser link.

Selecting the Join From Your Browser option to use the Zoom web app.


Step 4: You’ll immediately be taken to your meeting. You’ll need to select the Audio and Video icons in the lower-left corner to trigger the browser permissions dialog boxes. Once those boxes pop up, select Allow for both of them to enable the use of your microphone and camera. That’s it! Your meeting can now begin.

How to join a Zoom meeting through email

You can also join a meeting directly from the invitation that was emailed to you.

On desktop: Open the email invite in a web browser. Select the blue link under Join Zoom meeting. When a new tab opens a dialog box will pop up. If you have the desktop app installed or want to install it, select the option that either opens the Zoom app or downloads it. If you already have the app, select Choose application. Select Zoom Meetings > Open Link.

On mobile: Open the email invite on your mobile device as you normally would. Select the blue link under Join Zoom meeting. If the mobile app is already installed, the meeting will automatically open in the app.

Editors’ Choice

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Sales meeting booking platform Kronologic nabs $20M

All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.

Kronologic, which is developing what it describes as a “calendar monetization” platform, today announced that it secured additional seed funding from Signal Peak Ventures, Silverton Partners, Next Coast Ventures, and Geekdom Fund, bringing its total raised to $20 million. Cofounder and CEO Trey Allison says that the proceeds will be put toward supporting customer growth and enhancing the platform’s features and AI capabilities.

In an age of digital sales, the “last-mile problem” refers to a failure to convert leads to sales appointments. One survey found that it takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer. Another estimates that 60% of customers say no four times before agreeing to make a purchase.

Kronologic looks to solve this problem with a paid platform that provides users and business leads with customizable meeting scheduling options. It integrates with Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce products, directly measuring the return on investment of each meeting and charging for successfully scheduled meetings.


According to Allison, Kronologic was inspired by work done by himself and Ben Parker several years ago. In order to make an impact on the business unit they were supporting, Allison and Parker created the technical scaffolding of what became Kronologic.

“2021 has shown no signs of slowing down — if anything there has been a surge for the need for automating virtual meetings,” Allison said. “[In one instance, Kronologic] ended up doubling the revenue of a 40 person sales team in six months.”

AI-powered scheduling

Kronologic’s platform automatically sends calendar invites on behalf of salespeople as the initial and primary touchpoint with potential buyers. This can drive revenue for businesses by lowering costs and saving time, Allison says, as well as granting teams the ability to use their resources more strategically.

“We have a heat map called ‘Meetings Most Wanted’ that prioritizes our top use cases deployed by our customers today,” Allison explained. “These are ranked by their in-market success by department, including customer expansion and success teams, new business sales and marketing teams, and channel sales teams.”

With Kronologic, customers can use choose from calendar templates for items like follow-up events. Revenue teams don’t need to log into an app — they see new meetings appear on their calendar. On the backend, an analytics tool shows revenue forecasts, ostensibly helping to maximize the number of high-value meetings booked.

Kronologic says it’s in the process of training AI models to understand customers’ level of intent to accept a meeting from meeting interaction datasets, tracking interactions like accepts, declines, alternate time proposed, out of office replies, written text responses, and unsubscribes. The company also claims to be developing natural language systems to optimize conversations specific to scheduling meetings.

“[This funding will] better enable indirect and channel sales, as there are often multiple buyers and sellers in a single deal,” Allison said. “Kronologic is considered the broker of calendar availability across their customer base and plans to expand this technology and its benefits to the general public later in the year.”

Currently, Kronologic has over 60 customers including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Caterpillar, Dell Technologies, and Lenovo, with more than 100 contracts signed. The Austin, Texas-based company has a workforce of 40 people and expects to employ over 60 by the end of the year.


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Tech News

Microsoft Garage Group Transcribe tries to make meeting notes obsolete

AI-powered transcription services have been around for quite some time now but the transition to online meetings of late have almost made them less useful. More and more businesses, however, are moving back to in-person meetings but with safeguards in place, like masks and physical distancing. That can make automatic transcription harder, forcing some to take notes and lose the flow of the conversation. Microsoft Garage’s latest project, however, tries to address that with seemingly magical AI, as long as everyone in the meeting has an iPhone and the Group Transcribe app installed.

To be clear, Group Transcribe is designed for in-person meetings, not for online ones. While it can still be used for remote or virtual meetings, its efficacy could drop considerably. That’s because the app harnesses the collective audio input of all phones connected in a meeting to create a “highly accurate transcript” that also includes who said what.

This “live” requirement also powers Group Transcribe’s real-time translation capabilities. That means that participants can speak comfortably in their own languages and others will be able to follow along with a live translated transcript. Group Transcribe supports more than 80 languages, Microsoft Garage boasts, but its seemingly magical power doesn’t come without its costs.

Like any AI-based transcription and translation system, Group Transcribe improves and grows according to the data it is fed. While Microsoft promises it doesn’t store audio recordings or transcribed text on its servers, the Garage research team is appealing to users to donate some of that data to help improve the system. It’s an opt-in condition, thankfully, and requires all participants to actually agree to the donation.

Recordings and transcripts will be “de-identified” and split up into snippets that will then be distributed to reviewers. That said, Microsoft Garage does make it clear that humans will actually be involved in processing those snippets, perhaps bringing back the nightmares around smart voice assistants and third-party contractors a few years back.

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How to Record a Zoom Meeting

Zoom has never been more popular as employees of all kinds turn to the easy-to-use video and audio conferencing solution for swift chats with their peers. But as web conference users always discover, no matter how effective a video meeting is, you still need to share it with others who couldn’t make the meeting or need to reference details or training more than once.

Like all good video chat tools, Zoom allows for recording for this very purpose, and users need to know exactly how it works. We’ll teach you exactly how to do it. You can find more Zoom tips here, too.

Local recording to your computer drive

Local recording means recording right to your computer’s drive if you have the disc space to do so. This is an easy option that doesn’t require any cloud storage accounts to use.

Step 1: First, make sure that Zoom’s local recording is enabled. Log into Zoom from your browser, locate the Personal toolbar on the left and choose Settings (this option only shows up if you are the account administrator, which is necessary to enable recording). If you’re working from a business account, the settings section may be called something slightly different, like Account Settings.

Step 2: In the Settings window, select the Recordings tab up at the top. One of the first options in this section should be Local Recording. Check the Status section to make sure Local Recording is enabled. If not, enable it. You can also lock this setting so it remains on for all users.

Step 3: Now, start a Zoom meeting as the host. Look at the tools at the bottom of the screen, and you will see a round icon called Record. Select it to start recording. Some versions of Zoom will immediately give you an option to Record on This Computer, which you should select for local recording. Now a notification will appear in the top left of all participant’s windows saying Recording… so everyone knows that it’s working. You can pause the recording as needed.

Step 4: You don’t need to do anything else until the Zoom meeting has ended. Once you stop the meeting, a notification will pop up that says Converting the Meeting Recording. When this finishes — and this is the important part — it will autosave an MP4 file and an audio-only M4A file on your computer in a Zoom folder under the name “Zoom_0.mp4,” and counting up from there for additional files. You can access these recorded files with the Zoom desktop client under the Meetings section, which is the easiest way to view them.

However, accessing the video files directly without the client is more complicated. You must go into the relevant folder, make sure the files have properly downloaded, and then rename them to the name/date of your meeting. If you don’t rename these files right away, it can become straightforward to lose track of which file is which and cause a lot of confusion later on.

It’s also important to note that the file will appear in this Zoom folder, even if the meeting hasn’t fully converted for viewing yet. This is handy if something interrupts the conversion process or if converting right after the session isn’t working for you because you can click on the file to start the conversion process over again.

Recording a video to the cloud

Recording a video to the cloud is another option, but it only works for licensed users with the Zoom desktop client or app who have enough cloud space in your plan. For reference, this typically is around 1GB per user, so not a whole lot. This means you can’t automatically record to popular cloud storage services like Dropbox. If you plan to do any regular recording, you are required to pay for a Zoom cloud storage plan. These plans begin at $40 per month for an additional 100GB.

If you don’t mind all of that, enabling cloud recording itself is actually quite simple. Back in the Recording tab, where we showed you how to enable local recording, there should be an option further down to enable Cloud recording. Make sure it’s turned on.

Then, when you select Record during a meeting, choose Record to the Cloud when the options appear. The video will once again process after the meeting concludes, but this time, it will upload to Zoom’s cloud, and Zoom will notify you via email.

Recording a video on iOS or Android

For those curious, you absolutely can record Zoom meetings on an iOS or Android device, but it comes with limitations. Firstly, you cannot record locally on a mobile device. This means Zoom’s cloud recording option is your only option. The host must also be a licensed user for mobile recording to work.

For both mobile platforms, the Zoom meeting screen will have a More option down at the bottom during a video. Select More, and then select Record or Record to the Cloud to begin.

Editors’ Choice

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Tech News

What the hell is a Chief Meeting Designer?

For those of us in the startup scene, it’s become pretty mundane to deal with all sorts of ‘wizards’ and ‘ninjas’ on a daily basis. But despite the onslaught of ‘quirky’ and ‘free-thinking’ job titles, I can’t help but to stop every once and again and wonder “wait… wtf is this person’s job exactly?”

That’s why I got curious when I came across Juraj Holub, the Chief Meeting Designer at Slido. Was this yet another case of a fluffed-up startup jargon title? What does someone in that role do all day? Are they taken seriously at all? With all of these questions racing around in my head, I reached out to Holub to get to the bottom of this.

Now, to be honest, the first idea that came to mind when I heard ‘Chief Meeting Designer’ was pretty ridiculous. I simply imagined a dude who’d barge into even the lowliest internal company meetings, just to tell people they were doing their quick catch up wrong — then he’d launch into a 20-minute slideshow, presenting in excruciating detail how it should be done.

Fortunately for Holub, Slido, and my faith in mankind, my guess was completely off. 

Why on earth would a startup need a Chief Meeting Designer?

“The title actually came about because of the mantra we’ve had since the very early days of Slido. Focus on the success of the client and everything else will follow: growth, revenue, and so on,” Holub tells me from his home in Slovakia, where Slido is headquartered.

But how does that title relate to client success? Holub explains that Slido is a Q&A and polling platform that helps people to get the most out of events — and more recently, internal meetings — by bridging the gap between speakers and their audiences.