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Artificial Intelligence Assistant From Voicera Makes Meetings Awesome

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Voicera is a company whose goal is to activate meetings and connect them to the rest of your work day. To learn more about the company we sat down with Cory Treffiletti, Chief Marketing Officer at Voicera:

Cory Treffiletti

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Voicera?

A: As they stand now, meetings don’t fulfill their promise because they are disconnected and require a lot of energy and focus to make them effective.

Sometimes you don’t have the right people in the meeting and sometimes you’re simply too distracted taking notes to really focus on the conversation. You simply add eva@voicera.com to any meeting invite and Eva will dial in, announce itself and start taking notes. You can highlight moments with voice commands and taps in a web dashboard or you can rely on Eva to do all the note-taking for you.

After your meeting, you get a recap email with highlights and analytics and a link to view and edit the highlights of your meeting. You also get a full recording and transcript of the meeting and all of this can be shared via email, pushed to Slack or connected into Salesforce. With Voicera your meetings become Activated!

Q: Why do we need an AI virtual assistant?

A: We need this kind of tool because you need to be more present and focused on the conversation at hand. Too often you’re busy taking notes, distracted because you’re trying to think through the follow up while someone is talking or stressed because you’re going from meeting to meeting and you aren’t sure when the contents of this meeting will get organized for follow up. Maybe you wish you had brought some other people to your meeting or that they could hear directly what was being discussed? Meetings are intended to be collaborative and productive. With an AI virtual in-meeting assistant you end up being able to put down your pen and paper and focus on the people in the conversation. You can look up, think through ideas and have a true conversation. You aren’t playing catch up or asking, “can you repeat that”? You are present and presence is extremely important. The most successful executives in the world are present in their meetings and they know the notes will be taken and the follow up will be organized. Having a tool like this enables you to function the same way they do.

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Q: What exactly is a virtual assistant?

A: There are all kinds of virtual assistants. They range in their uses and we look at the landscape in three ways. There are those focused on providing information, like Google Home. You ask it a question and it responds. There are those focused on actions, like Alexa. You ask Alexa to do something like play a song or turn on the lights, or buy a product and it happens. There are also those that are conversation-centric or value-centric that sit between 2 people and provide value. In this category there is a further breakdown of virtual assistants focused on specific areas of focus. One group will schedule meetings for you. Another will provide better directions to get from point A to point B. Ours is focused on taking notes for you in your meetings. Others will book your travel arrangements. The virtual assistant category is full of new tools that offer a value to the user and each of these are in their infancy, providing a specific value at a specific time.

Q: What are the challenges facing AI this year?

A: There are lots of benefits to AI, but there are at least 2 major impediments to getting people to embrace the technology. What I find interesting is neither of these are technology-oriented problems. They revolve around the people who are going to fund, support and implement AI solutions in their businesses.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

AI could suffer from increasingly higher and higher expectations. If you talk to the average person, they think of computers with cognitive abilities that replace people in their jobs. The fact of the matter is AI is more of a tool to increase productivity. AI replaces the more mundane tasks in your day with machines and enables you to do more and bigger things with your time. AI replaces optimization, simple analysis, and mundane automation. If people expect AI to replace entire roles, they are not going to be happy. If they conversely expect it to enable them to get more done, than they will be satisfied. AI is a tool to solve problems, it should not create its own set of problems.

OVER-HYPE

Aligned with high expectations comes over-hyping the use of AI. Every company under the sun is going to start touting their ability to leverage machines to get work done. They will be looking to leverage AI to increase the perception of value in their business. In truth, AI is not new but it has come to a level of effectiveness that warrants it being called true AI. Unfortunately, too many companies will latch onto AI as a differentiator even though what they are doing may not be more than glorified automation processes. This falls into the same bucket as big data and blockchain – people will talk so much about it that the majority become desensitized to the topic before it has a chance to prove its own value.

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Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: Our plans of the future are simple – to provide deeper value in meetings that further enable the meeting organizers and attendees to extract the value from their meetings. Our goal is to make meetings awesome. We want people to love meetings because they are a chance to get a lot of things done. We don’t want people to dread their time in meetings. We want them to thoroughly enjoy their time in these meetings. To that end our roadmap is quite robust at finding additional ways to provide value to users. I am happy to share more, but I can’t give away all our secrets. Have your readers reach out directly to us and we can chat one-on-one. Maybe in a meeting 🙂

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