Otter — A powerful tool for professional events
By Joel Gershon
Otter Voice Notes, or just Otter for short, is an impressive new speech transcription app that uses artificial intelligence to achieve superior accuracy. Otter, which was developed by Silicon Valley-based technology company, AISense, may sound like it just does something kind of simple, but since it does it so well, Otter can profoundly and powerfully increase the value of our spoken interactions.
Otter users can easily scan written transcripts of speeches or conversations and search for specific moments instead of having to listen to an entire speech or a verbal interaction in order to review the spoken information. This not only saves time and money that might otherwise be spent transcribing these types of communications in the first place, but it opens up opportunities to quickly and easily access more information that we ordinarily might normally not bother with, or that we forget about since it would be too time-consuming or difficult to find those precise moments in the recordings.
However, these valuable nuggets of information in spoken communications can provide an edge for users who are following up with potential partners or customers in business situations. Without Otter this additional intel ordinarily would be missed even if you are good about jotting down notes while collecting business cards.
Since its release last March, Otter is establishing a reputation as an important tool at such as conferences and other professional events. Participants cannot attend every session on their own and it’s hard to examine and absorb all of the valuable knowledge that is shared. Sometimes, two or more appealing speakers might be scheduled at the same time in different rooms and key information might be missed. Even if videos of all the sessions are provided to attendees, it’s time-consuming to take them all in.
“Let’s face it, many people aren’t going to sit through a 45-minute or an hour-long video of a breakout session, but they would likelier be inclined to scan transcripts which can be read much quicker than listening to, and you can search for specific terms that were used, which gets you to where you want to be immediately,” explained Simon Lau, Head of Product for AISense.
Interestingly, Lau was first struck with the idea of how useful Otter could be for events when he was attending an event himself in late-February at the 2018 World Mobile Conference in Barcelona, when he was there to promote the global launch of Otter.
“I was thinking about lots of ways to demonstrate the product and how to get attendees to download the app later on, I quickly realized, that we should try to think of a way that people can use Otter at the conference itself.”
Lau realized that if event organizers share transcripts of the different speakers via Otter, not only can attendees get access to more information, they can see it all in a much more digestible format. After following up on this idea, some event organizers clearly have understood the value of this as well. Just a few months after that launch, Otter was named as an official technology partner at the 2018 Digital Work Experience (DWX) conference in Chicago that took place in June, and it was used to generate transcripts of the keynote speeches to attendees.
Drew Ianni, Founder and Chair of Chief Digital Officer (CDX) Forums, an Otter early adopter, says he was instantly impressed with how the app can profoundly enhance the conference experience for everyone involved.
“It is a game changer in terms of being able to transcribe everything that is said at a conference, and the value proposition for both the organizers and the attendees is fantastic,” he said.
Ianni enthusiastically explained how he can benefit from using this inexpensive technology.
“It potentially creates other great monetization opportunities in regards to selling a virtual conference product, whether that’s a subscription to the live show where you can watch it in real time, and then have the whole full transcription sent to you, as part of a sort of a virtual conference pass. Or just selling a pure post-show sort of conference product, if you will, and that provides great value potentially, to conference organizers.”
He explained that he’s tried using other transcription service products before for his conventions. But, he says, Otter is now the one he turns to.
“It’s cleaner, it’s more intuitive. It’s just a better product. We’ve used it for our events, and we’re going to continue to use it for our events. Personally, I could see using it more with calls we have with sponsors and in preparing for the event. Also, calls that we have with the moderators and the speakers preparing for the event, and being able to just transcribe that and send it back as part of the sort of prep experience for moderators and speakers, I could certainly see using that.”
Otter is simply a natural fit for event organizers and attendees, according to Ianni.
“I just encourage everybody to try out Otter. I mean, it’s great, it’s not expensive, and it does give you — the conference organizer — the ability to monetize the content from the show and sell it in different kinds of ways.”