Audio transcription bots that make meeting notes meaningful

The pandemic-driven shift to virtual meetings has not only normalised recording conversations but has turned them into a business mainstay.

The shift to virtual and hybrid meetings has boosted the level of interest in audio and video transcription software for its capacity to add accuracy and detail to the takeaways from meetings and calls.

A year ago, if you came to a business meeting armed with a voice recorder and insisted on taping the conversation, it would raise eyebrows and questions about your intentions. 

Today, the pandemic-driven shift to virtual meetings has not only normalised recording conversations but has turned them into a business mainstay. 

A meeting transcript is a goldmine of useful insights. 

Recordings of internal meetings make it easier to share information and provide greater supervision. If a manager wants to know how well a team is communicating, recordings allow them to see the quality of interactions.

Call recording is also critical for running a distributed sales team. Recording external meetings with prospects and customers helps the business review and improve their sales processes and customer support. 

Innovation in recordings ramps up

The surge of interest in video call recording is evident from the level of innovation and investment in this area. Zoom’s integrations marketplace lists 36 apps under the “Recordings” category, which covers apps that help store, organise, search and gain insights from saved Zoom recordings. 

A clutch of apps makes it easier to analyse a video or audio recording for research and education. automatically transcribes a video call, so you can highlight noteworthy snippets of text. Grain can then create a “highlights” video comprising only snippets that contain highlighted conversation. 

You can send a highlights video to relevant stakeholders or save it to a support database as an answer to a frequently asked question. 

You can also add a hashtag to a highlights video to include it in a collection within Grain. For example, one collection (or “story”, in Grain parlance) could contain video excerpts of customer testimonials. 

Another app, Perfect Recall, also lets you add notes to the transcript as the conversation is happening. Like Grain, every note includes a timestamp link, so you can jump back to re-watch the relevant moment. 

Perfect Recall pitches itself as a research tool for front-facing teams such as product development, interface design, customer service and marketing.

The Dovetail app also turns a call recording (audio or video) into tagged clips for customer research. You can search through and edit the transcript, as well as attach multiple tags to each clip, so you can build a repository of customer interviews. 

Dovetail has customised its platform for researchers by storing demographic data for interviewees and tracking data retention policies and consent.

Privacy implications of recordings

Australian privacy legislation is more concerned about the type of information collected rather than the purpose of the conversation or the technology used, according to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

If an individual reveals sensitive information – a category that includes health, biometric and genetic details, as well as certain demographic data – then companies need to follow the 13 privacy principles in The Privacy Act 1988

Two of the principles are particularly relevant here: the third principle, which requires that the collection of the information be reasonably necessary for the function of the business, and the fifth principle, which requires that a business notify any individuals at the time or prior to providing sensitive information. Consent is not required, unless the information is sensitive.

The Privacy Act only applies to businesses with a turnover of more than A$3 million – with a few exceptions, such as the health service providers noted above. For the vast majority of small businesses, if no sensitive information is revealed during a sales meeting or a marketing review, there are no privacy implications for recording the meeting. 

Recorded and transcribed meetings offer greater accuracy and efficiency – a time-stamped note that you can double check against the actual conversation is more useful and more accurate than a handwritten or typed note. 

Should you be recording and transcribing your next in-person meeting, too? Ask politely first, and the answer will probably be “yes”.

December/January 2022
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