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Does Otter AI Work with In-person Meetings?

Does Otter AI Work with In-person Meetings?

Otter, the AI meeting note taker, is excellent for live virtual meetings and transcribing meeting recordings. But does it also function well for face-to-face, in-person meetings without using Zoom or Google Meet? The answer is yes!

In this article, we will explore Otter’s abilities as an AI meeting note taker, show you how to utilize it for in-person meetings, and demonstrate how it can improve your meeting interactions. Additionally, we will compare Otter with our AI meeting assistant, Huddles.app, specifically looking at its application for in-person meetings. Let’s get started!

Huddles.app, your smart meeting notes

What is Otter AI?

Otter, also known as Otter.ai or OtterPilot, is an online voice-to-text transcription tool that utilizes AI to convert conversations into text, jot down notes during meetings, and even participate in meetings on your behalf. Depending on what you’re using it for, they can be more like meeting assistants powered by AI or auto meeting minutes generators.

Transcription services can be a lifesaver for anyone trying to keep pace with a growing number of conference calls. Otter.ai, also known simply as Otter, stands out as one of the best transcription services we’ve tried, particularly when used as a productivity app.

As the name suggests, it’s entirely powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Its real-time transcription and editing capabilities, along with its smooth integration with Zoom, make Otter.ai our top choice for transcription services. These are also called auto note takers, because they’re able to take over your note taking tasks and generate notes automatically.

Otter AI features: an overview

Besides those already mentioned above, Otter offers a range of other features, including:

  • Real-time transcription: Otter can transcribe your meetings instantly or convert any prerecorded audio file into text transcripts.
  • Speaker identification: Otter can recognize multiple speakers in audio, making it easier for you to follow transcribed meetings.
  • Time stamps: Otter’s voice transcripts are time-stamped, providing timestamps for each speaker or important moments during your meetings. This helps you track discussions and who said what during a meeting.
  • Action items: This feature shows you which team members have been assigned specific tasks.
  • Key takeaways: You can create an AI meeting summary of important moments and decisions from your meetings in one place. This overview helps you stay organized and share information with your team.
  • Search and keywords: Otter transcribes audio and saves the text in editable and searchable transcripts. You can use keywords to quickly search for specific information in your transcripts.
  • Editing and annotation: Otter can generate live transcripts that you and your team can edit and annotate in real time. Annotation allows you to highlight certain sections of the transcripts.
  • Sharing and collaboration: You can share transcripts via email, a dedicated Otter channel, or a custom link. You can also invite members to an Otter workspace where they can access different conversations.
  • Custom vocabulary: Otter lets you add custom words like names, acronyms, and unique spellings to improve audio-to-text transcription accuracy. Depending on your plan, you can include between five and 200 words and phrases in your personal vocabulary.
  • Audio playback: You can rewind, fast-forward, or pause audio playback as needed.
  • Summary generation: Otter can create real-time AI summaries of your meetings and conversations, giving you quick insights.

Using Otter AI for in-person meetings

Using Otter.ai for in-person meetings is pretty straightforward. Once everyone’s in place and ready to roll, you just have to designate one person to use their computer or mobile device to capture audio using Otter.

To capture audio using your laptop, just sign in on Otter’s webpage and click “record” on the top right corner to start recording your meeting. Instructions for mobile may vary slightly, but you get the picture.

Well… that’s the easy part. However, there are various challenges when it comes to using AI transcription tools for face-to-face meetings, as we will explain below.

Set-Up and Equipment

For Otter to work well in face-to-face meetings, the quality of the audio input is key. It’s crucial to make sure that the conversation is picked up clearly to generate accurate transcriptions. This might mean connecting an external microphone to your laptop if the built-in one isn’t up to par.

When preparing Otter for a physical meeting, it’s essential to test the setup beforehand to address any potential audio issues. Checking the internet connection is also crucial since Otter needs a stable online connection to transcribe the audio in real-time. Proper preparation ensures that Otter will be ready to capture every word without any disruptions once the meeting begins. While this may seem like a hassle, missing the transcript of an important meeting is the last thing you’d want.

hen the meeting starts, Otter will be ready to capture every word without interruption.

Privacy and Security Concerns

Physical meetings can be a bit trickier than virtual ones because in virtual meetings, participants are usually informed upfront about being recorded, giving their consent. However, in physical meetings, you need to manually seek permission or clearly communicate to all attendees that the meeting will be recorded, or you might risk breaking recording laws depending on your country.

Ensuring privacy and security on the Otter platform also involves guiding users on best practices. Organizers should educate participants about the transcription process, obtain necessary permissions, and explain how the data will be utilized and stored. This transparency fosters trust and ensures that everyone comprehends and agrees to the use of Otter during the meeting.

Live Transcription Utility in Physical Meetings

In a face-to-face meeting, having real-time, precise transcriptions can greatly improve communication effectiveness. While participants discuss various topics, Otter operates in the background, capturing every spoken word and even distinguishing between different speakers. This feature is vital for ensuring clarity and understanding the conversation’s context.

Here’s how live transcription can benefit a physical meeting:

  • Ensures all participants stay informed and can follow the conversation, regardless of any hearing difficulties or language barriers they may face.
  • Allows attendees to concentrate on the discussion instead of taking notes, leading to more engaging and productive interactions.
  • Facilitates immediate clarification of points that might have been missed or misunderstood, reducing the risk of miscommunication.

Furthermore, Otter’s AI system is designed to continuously learn and enhance its performance. It adapts to industry-specific terms, acronyms, and even distinct dialects, improving the accuracy of the transcriptions. The more Otter is utilized, the more intelligent it becomes, making it a dependable tool for physical meetings where specialized language is commonly used.

Comparison: Otter.ai vs Huddles.app

As this article concentrates on utilizing auto note takers for face-to-face meetings, we will compare Otter.ai and Huddles.app specifically for this purpose.

Accuracy

A challenge of using auto note takers for face-to-face meetings is ensuring clear audio capture by strategically placing the microphone to pick up everyone’s voices effectively. Hence, we have evaluated the accuracy of these two meeting note taker apps in noisy settings.

I played a brief segment from our intro video at a moderate noise level on my phone, positioned approximately 1 meter away from my computer, which is recording the audio. Here is the script:

Hi everyone, I’m Fiona, the founder of Huddles, an AI-powered note taking tool made specifically for meetings. With Huddles, you can create organized meeting notes efficiently and effortlessly. Now, let me show you how it works.

As you can see, the main section on the left is where you take your meeting notes. It is a note document where you can type in text, insert images, tables, and attachments.

On the right is where all the AI magic happens. Just click on the start button, and AI will generate conclusions based on your voice transcript in real time. You can add anything noteworthy to the main note with just one click.

And here are the results I got:

Otter:

 

Huddles:

To my surprise, both apps did a very good job, with only some slight errors in punctuation and capitalization, even though the audio wasn’t captured under optimal conditions. For some reason, Otter missed a sentence at the end, but other than that, they’re both very accurate. With this level of accuracy, it should be enough to keep track of what’s been said in meetings or to have a record of your thoughts.

Still, if you find rough bits in a transcription, you can play it back and fix the imprecisions. For Otter, the best way to edit a transcript is to play the audio through the web interface and edit the transcription document as you go. If you use live transcription, you can edit as the text is created.

For Huddles, simply copy the transcript into the main note on the left to make edits. However, Huddles wasn’t created with the main purpose of generating transcripts, so we strongly recommend using the AI Summary feature instead and taking notes, rather than trying to get everything word for word. That said, having an accurate transcript does provide both you and the AI with solid material to work from.

User Experience

I must say, the user experience stands out as the major difference between the two meeting note taker apps for in-person meetings. Simply put, to use Otter in face-to-face meetings, you just need a dedicated device for recording, and that’s all. A transcript is generated in real-time, but there’s no need for anyone to view it during the meeting. Interaction with the app is kept minimal throughout the entire process.

On the flip side, Huddles.app is designed for team collaboration. While you still only need one person to handle the recording, everyone in the meeting is expected to have Huddles open on their laptops to collaboratively create meeting notes as the meeting progresses. Each individual also has access to real-time transcription and an AI meeting summary, which can greatly assist in the note-taking process. To clarify, in physical meetings, there’s no requirement to use Zoom or turn on your camera. However, for optimal use of Huddles.app in face-to-face meetings, each participant needs to bring their laptop and be on the collaborative meeting note page.

To sum up, Huddles.app offers a much more teamwork-oriented user experience when it comes to using them for in-person meetings.

Cost

Otter offers the following plans:

  • Basic or free plan but with limited features
  • Pro plan for $10 per user per month (when billed annually)
  • Business plan for $20 per user per month (when billed annually)
  • Enterprise plan for a custom quote

Otter.ai offers a free plan and three paid plans ($16.99 to $40 per person per month), all of which require a subscription. There is no pay-per-order option for Otter like other transcription services have. Purchasing Otter through Apple or Google app stores costs more than purchasing through the website because of the service fees charged by those platforms.

Otter has been known for its generous free plan, but it’s not as attractive as it used to be. Recent changes have decreased the monthly allowance of free minutes for live transcription from 400 to 300. Additionally, the maximum duration of each transcription session for free users has been shortened from 40 minutes to 30. Lastly, free users are now limited to uploading only three prerecorded audio or video files for transcription throughout their lifetime.

Right now, both apps offer a free tier with no credit card required. In the free tier, Huddles offers 60 mins of real-time AI Summary (up to 15 mins per meeting).

Depending on how lengthy your meetings go, they can be pretty similar, but since real-time summaries are pricier, I’d say Huddles packs more punch in this tier. In the upgraded tiers, Huddles also comes in as the more budget-friendly option and dishes out more minutes.

Anyway, if your team is on the fence about which one to pick and not quite ready to commit, you can try out the apps first in the free tier. Both the free versions give you a good peek into how everything operates, since you’re only dealing with a few limits.

Meeting Notes Management

Another important distinction between Otter and Huddles is how meeting notes are managed once your in-person meetings conclude.

In Otter, although you can invite members to your workspace to view the auto meeting minutes, they are primarily organized by date with no other sorting options available. This is because Otter primarily functions as a transcription app without a specific emphasis on meeting notes.

On the other hand, Huddles offers a convenient meeting notebook feature that categorizes all meeting notes from recurring meetings into separate tabs, making it easy to review meeting notes and conclusions. This feature prevents meeting notes from being scattered and disorganized.

Conclusion

In this article, we addressed the question of whether Otter.ai can be used for in-person meetings. The answer is yes!

We provided detailed instructions on how to do so, and we compared Otter with Huddles specifically in this context, considering factors like accuracy, user experience, cost, and features.

Both platforms excel at converting your audio into transcripts for later review, but Huddles provides a more collaborative experience and improved management options post-meeting. If you’re curious to give it a shot, feel free to try us out for free!

Interested in comparing other similar products with Huddles? Learn about how we compare with Read.ai in a separate article.

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