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The Top 10 AI Technology Tools To Make Remote Working Smoother

ai technology

Economic uncertainties will always be with us; the thing is, we cannot predict when they will hit us, what shape or form they will come in, or how long they will last. In light of this, the important thing for businesses is to ensure that teams are supported and have the agility to adjust to changing working environments. You need to prepare your team to work remotely, not just now when the world has to grapple with covid19, but in the future as well.

There is a common misconception that remote work is all about conference calls. While video calls and chats are an important part of getting work done remotely, when we talk about finding tools to support remote teams, we have to look beyond conferencing. Supporting remote working is about team empowerment, and to do this, your company needs to create a tech stack that guarantees team efficiency and effectiveness regardless of their location. Your team needs to feel confident that they don’t have to be office-bound to deliver on business objectives.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 10 ai technology tools that will help your team stay organized, increase efficiency and collaborate better while working remotely.

1. Slack

Slack

Slack is best known for its “channel” approach to managing communication.

The thinking behind channels is that when running projects, it can be difficult to track communication, attachments, and tasks via email. Slack seeks to solve this problem through channels that bring teams together around a common purpose.

Slack organizes work based on projects, topic, or team. This way, anyone in your organization can find how to best contribute by being a part of a channel that supports their role.

The great thing about slack is that it can also incorporate external teams, fostering collaboration with your partners.

Other features include:

  • You can communicate with team members directly on the channel and get instant alignment
  • Save and search messages and files on slack
  • Save time by getting all people in one place
  • Achieve business-critical tasks such as: setting budgets, see budget approval, work on projects, etc.
  • More transparency through public channels, or increased security through private channels
  • Pin messages or documents that you want to call attention to
  • Star channels that are important to you
  • Integrate with other workplace tools like google drive or one drive. You can also connect to CRM tools like JIRA, Salesforce, Zendesk or own software so that you never miss important alerts and notifications
  • Work on the go with slack on mobile

Pricing

Free package

Standard: $6.67

Plus: $12.50

Enterprise grid: contact the sales team

 


2. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams help teams to not only communicate instantly while working but also reduce email clutter.

Microsoft Teams is a remote work tool that combines powerful communication capabilities of chat, voice and video, with collaboration capabilities such as document storage and office 365 integration. It can also integrate with third-party software through extensions, making it a must-have for enterprises or large teams.

Key features:

  • Record meetings for future reference and to keep absent members in the loop
  • Pause recordings to answer questions
  • Allow teams to join from anywhere
  • For educational institutions, create a virtual classroom and bring all assignments and files in one place, to collaborate virtually in real-time
  • Have one on one meetings or meet as a group
  • Keep your team connected in the following ways:
    • Use the chat, to have “water cooler” talks with colleagues.
    • Brainstorm on Microsoft whiteboard
    • Have team building through virtual coffees
    • Have fun, encourage teamwork and reward performance through teams

Pricing:

Microsoft teams free: $0

Microsoft 365 business basic: $5/user/mo

Microsoft 365 business standard: $12.50/user/mo

Office 365 E3: $20/user/mo

 


3. Zoom

Zoom

Zoom is a chat, audio and video conferencing app that has become almost synonymous with remote working. It allows people to communicate by joining a zoom meeting or zoom room. Zoom room refers to hardware that allows you to convert your conference rooms to a zoom-meeting.

Despite zoom’s popularity, incidents of “zoom bombing” have raised concerns regarding its level of security particularly for teams that need to safeguard their work. However, as team Zoom maintains that it offers AES 256-bit GCM encryption, you should contact them before purchase, to ensure that their security protocols are aligned to your organization’s requirements.

Zoom has the following features:

  • You can use chat during meetings without interrupting others
  • Hold meetings with large groups of people without compromising call quality
  • Record calls and distributes recordings after your meetings
  • Integrate with your calendar and CRM. Zoom also integrates with slack
  • Control your meetings with host options
  • Stream live on Facebook and YouTube and other proprietary software
  • Get meeting analytics

Pricing

Basic: free

Pro: $14.99/mo/host

Business: $19.99 /mo/host

Enterprise: contact sales

 


4. Google Calendar

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a calendar, task organizer, appointment setting, and meeting scheduling tool all wrapped in one. It simplifies time management by helping individuals and teams to keep busy days organized. To use google calendar, you need a google account (Gmail address).

Google Calendar has the following features:

  • It allows you to have a remote meeting through google hangouts
  • If you want to know what you have scheduled on specific days, type, or voice search “what’s my calendar” on google search. The results are private
  • You can sync your personal and work calendars into google calendar to get a holistic view of your day
  • Add colleagues’ calendars to your google calendar to enable you to organize meetings with teams. Note: you’ll need to as your colleagues’ permission before you add their calendars.
  • Share attachments when scheduling events
  • Set event reminders and notifications
  • Use drag and drop function to schedule meetings in no time at all
  • Automatically schedule events straight from your email
  • Track projects by adding and monitoring tasks and sub-tasks
  • Send daily agenda via email
  • Embed your calendar into your website so that your clients can book meetings with you

Google calendar can also integrate with most meeting tools including zoom, Aira, Slack, among others. You can also sync your google calendar into your iPhone calendar by enabling that function in your phone settings.

Pricing: free

 


5. Aira

AIRA

Meeting management can be quite tricky without an intelligent tool like AIRA. This state of the art AI technology meeting assistant:

  • Records and transcribes meetings
  • Highlight keywords in meeting notes to make tracking action items and topics easier. Teams can search for notes and action items based on keywords.
  • Organizes actions points and automatically emails them
  • If you have scheduling conflicts, Aira will join meetings for you
  • AIRA syncs with popular calendars like google calendar
  • Has intelligent analytics that allows you to improve future meetings and drive organizational performance

Pricing: Contact team Aira for pricing and demo

 


6. Asana

Asana

Internal systems, intranets, and printouts do not work when it comes to managing projects remotely. Remote project management is best accomplished with a tool like Asana, whose features enable teams to stay organized, communicate and get aligned.

The transition to remote work can create silos, but Asana’s design ensures that teams work and collaborate transparently.

Asana has the following capabilities that make remote project management easy and enjoyable:

  • Get an entire view of project timelines, to keep you on schedule for each task in real-time
  • Easily identify problems in task scheduling and fix dependency conflicts at project start
  • Give everyone visibility to get easier buy-in
  • Adjust aspects of the project as you go and keep everyone appraised of such changes
  • Import spreadsheets into asana to make project tracking simpler
  • Manage team workload to ensure everyone remains productive
  • Manage new project requests through forms, to avoid getting overwhelmed

Pricing:

Basic: $0

Premium: $10.99

Business: $24.99

Enterprise: Contact the team

 


7. Trello

Trello

Trello is also a great project management tool and is a great addition for teams that handle lots of internal projects, such as a software creation company. Agencies that need to work with external clients could also make their work easier with Trello, as they can give visibility of projects to their clients.

One great thing about Trello is its Kanban-based approach to project management, whereby task organization falls under lists, cards and boards.

If you are an agency or run a consultancy, you can create a Trello board, where customers can track progress in areas of interest to them.

Useful features:

  • Simply create a board and invite a team to collaborate
  • Add details to Trello cards, such as attachments, comments or due dates
  • View at a glance, progress on all your tasks
  • Automate to eliminate tedious tasks
  • Sync across all devices so your teams work from anywhere
  • Integrate with the tools that your team already uses

Pricing:

Free: $0

Business-class: $9.99 per user/month

Enterprise: $17.50 per user/month, on a sliding scale.

 


8. HubSpot

HubSpot

Remote work can result in diminished support for your customers.

Hubspot is a CRM software that will come in handy when you need to ensure that your customers are being contacted and given the support they need. Through HubSpot, you can create a log of your interactions with customers at different touchpoints, and in this way:

  • Address any red flags before they become problems
  • Pursue opportunities that arise during interactions with customers

With HubSpot, you can ensure that customers barely notice a lack of face to face interaction.

But HubSpot isn’t just a tool for customer support. It has powerful marketing capabilities such as lead scoring, email marketing, ad management, etcetera

You can also manage your sales organization from HubSpot by tracking deal pipelines.

Pricing:

In addition to offering a free subscription, HubSpot offers the following paid subscription options:

Monthly subscription Starter Professional Enterprise
Marketing hub $40 $800 $3200
Sales hub $40 $400 $1200
Service hub $40 $320 $1200
CMS hub   $240 $900

 


9. Zendesk

Zendesk

If your business model is primarily in-person, or if you have a dedicated customer service function,  Zendesk will ensure your customer service team continues to offer uninterrupted support through phone, email, chat and social media.

Zendesk is easy to use and tracks customer queries through a ticketing system.

Other features include:

  • Analytics to track issue response, logging and resolution
  • A full sales suite to help your teams’ close deals. The sales suite is supported by live chat, voice, SMS, and automated email sequences that make deal closing easier.

Pricing:

Subscription Professional Enterprise
Sales suite $95 $149
Support suite $109 $179

 


10. Unito

unito

You no doubt have a workflow in your company and to achieve your goals, that workflow has to be synergistic. That’s where Unito comes in.

All work processes, including launching a marketing campaign, lead generation, order management, holding meetings, providing customer care, etc., are all one-stop processes. As each of these processes operates within a different function in your organization, you have most likely invested in dedicated tools for each one. This, in itself, could create silos. Silos break down team synergy and transparency.

Unito helps you create complete workflows by interconnecting your various tools. This way, your remote teams can have a smooth flow of information and collaborate transparently with each other.

Pricing (/month):

Personal: $10

Team: $39

Business: $125

Business X: $225

Enterprise: Contact the team

 

Next steps: Explore these ai technology tools

That’s it for now! We urge you to try these tools (some of them have free trial periods that last as long as 2 weeks long), and if you find that they support your way of working, give them a go.

The tools you choose need to support what your company does and how it does it.

  • Do you, for instance, interact a lot? In that case, you should lean more towards investing in the best communication tools.
  • Is your company sales oriented? If yes, invest in tools that will empower sales capabilities.

Happy working!

How To Conduct The Most Productive Online Sales Meeting With Aira

online sales meetings

Having a productive online sales meeting is vital for generating sales. This is especially so now, where the isolation-related stress wrought on by the COVID19 pandemic can make it is difficult for salespeople to feel excited about work.

In this article, we will discuss how AIRA can help your team remain productive during their online sales meetings. AIRA is an AI-enabled meeting tool that works by making meetings efficient. With prior planning and stress-free preparation, salespeople can begin looking forward to their online sales meetings and also be productive while in attendance. We will show you to make this happen with AIRA.


What are the prerequisites for a productive meeting?

Before we go into how AIRA can help make your online sales meetings productive, let’s first consider the makings of a successful meeting. What do you need to have a productive meeting?

An agenda

A meeting agenda tells participants what to expect from a meeting. That is:

  • Why they are meeting. e.g, what will they discuss? You can arrange this in topics, designate speakers and allot them time so that they prepare ahead of time
  • The expected outcome of the meeting

Always send your meeting invites a few days prior, and call attention to any preparation by key speakers.

A meeting agenda sets the tone of any meeting. The great thing about AIRA is that because it assigns action points after the meeting, it sets the tone for future meetings, ensuring that action-tracking becomes a continuous agenda until goals are accomplished. In addition, AIRA’s keywords feature ensures that future meetings can be grouped around a specific action or task.

Adding Value

A meeting should add value to its participants by:

  • Prov.iding information that makes goal achievement possible or easier
  • Training
  • For instance, market share, competitor activities, market trends, new opportunities

Team participation

People own the results of a meeting when they participate actively. A high level of participation begins with inviting the relevant people to a meeting.

Consistency

Meeting recurrence should be kept regularly to ensure that sales performance is analyzed constantly. Recurrences block off certain days or hours of the week. This keeps your team on a routine and gives them a strict timeframe within which to complete tasks.

As Aira is AI, it can quickly analyze people’s calendars and then select a meeting time that suits everyone. This ensures a higher level of attendance.


The benefits of using AIRA for conducting productive online sales meetings

AIRA

Stress-free operation

A survey conducted among 1000 workers across 4 European countries found that 90% of employees show signs of stress when faced with new or troublesome technology during meetings.

Employees also waste a lot of time troubleshooting, prior or during the meeting, either:

  • Trying to fix the problem (66%)
  • Coordinating with IT support to fix the problem (50%)
  • Preparing handouts as plan B (50%)
  • 15% of those surveyed even said that they postpone meetings until the technical problem can be resolved.

As remote working became the new normal for everyone, people have had to learn technology almost overnight and use it to run every aspect of the business. In addition to the stress of facing possible job cuts, due to shrining business prospects, having technology that is hard to understand and operate can push workers to the edge.

AIRA is pretty much plugged and play, and this ensures stress-free meetings in the following ways:

It’s easy to set up and use

Anyone can use Aira, even with little to no technical know-how. It’s also very integrative, and most of these processes are automatic and require little to no setup.

Some characteristics that denote AIRA’s ease of use include:

  • It integrates with your calendar, so you don’t need to do that yourself
  • Its interface is intuitive, hence user-friendly
  • It integrates well with meeting room equipment

Salespeople can use Aira while on the move, by dialing in from their mobile phones

Ensuring meeting relevance

One of the biggest time wasters for employees in any organization is attending meetings that aren’t necessary or relevant. Additionally, once in the meeting room, it is easy to get diverted and have meetings that aren’t productive. To ensure meeting relevance, Aira:

  • Invites the right people
  • Sets meeting goals and objectives beforehand
  • Keeps track of meeting time and ensures that you get the most from your allotted time
  • Records and transcribes meeting action points, which keeps subsequent meetings on the topic
  • Makes use of keywords so that salespeople and other team members can follow up based on topics that are most relevant to them

 

Voice AI leaves attendants free to concentrate on meeting agenda

Taking meeting notes can waste time during meetings if people have to pause to accommodate the slower speed of manual note-taking. Participants also have to contend with interruptions when asked to rephrase or restate a point. All these factors can cause meeting participants to lose concentration and deviate from the meeting agenda.

With AIRA, meeting attendants don’t have to worry about missing a point. This is because AIRA automatically records meeting notes, and then transcribes them.

In addition, eliminating note-taking tasks means that meeting participants can concentrate on developing ideas and furthering the meeting agenda.

Reduce monotonous tasks

Imagine if you have to schedule meetings every week and each time, your tools fail. You would then have to spend a lot of time on manual meeting management and this would leave you little time to be productive in other areas.

One study found that an organization can lose up to 47,000 hours of total employee time per year, just on meeting scheduling.

Hubspot study on employee productivity

Meeting management can interfere with employee productivity (source: Hubspot)

When meeting organization and management becomes routine, having an AI tool such as Aira to handle such tasks leaves you free to focus on other important matters.


Final words

Meeting tools should enhance how you conduct meetings by improving attention, enhancing collaboration and promoting accountability. Aira does this and more, by taking the stress out of meeting management to guarantee productive online sales meetings.

AI Transcription vs Human Transcription: Who Wins The Battle?

ai transcription vs human transcription

Transcription is a very important part of everyday life for:  

  • Professionals from all walks of life, whose days are packed with meetings.
  • Those meetings on the go. A transcript from a meeting management software like Aira will ensure that you don’t miss important details from your meeting.
  • Journalists, who hold interviews and have to meet reporting deadlines
  • Students, who are constantly struggling with coursework, research and exam deadlines
  • People who have hearing challenges. Transcriptions are also useful for those who have a hearing impairment.

The ability to transform audio files into text for all these groups of people makes text editable, organizable in a manner that makes sense to those who use it, and more accessible for those who prefer to read instead of consume video or audio content. This is the case especially for meetings, whereby meeting minutes are best accessed via text.

Text files make it easy for people to peruse and see all details of a meeting at a glance, including action items and assigned tasks.


The differentiation: AI transcription vs human transcription?

The choice between AI transcription vs human transcription comes down to 2 things:

  • Accuracy
  • Cost vs time

1. Accuracy

A transcription is considered accurate if:

  • It has no spelling errors
  • The language is clear and the text captures nuances
  • The meaning conveyed is what was relayed in the audio, both in weight and accuracy

Manual transcription is usually done by people who listen to a file, then type what they hear. One of the main use cases for manual transcription is when dealing with people with foreign accents, a lot of background noise or where there are multiple speakers in the audio. In addition, some companies typically use human transcription only. For example, film production, legal firms, research companies and academia. These industries prefer to use humans because of their high accuracy level.

Since humans understand nuanced language, the accuracy levels for transcriptions done manually by humans are higher than those done by AI.

That said, a greater understanding of machine learning has led to the growth of sophisticated digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa, which are great for everyday personal use. There are also new services such as Aira, which are more useful in a business setting and will handle everything from meeting scheduling to transcribing meeting notes and emailing them.

The main drawback of AI is that as compared to human beings, AI needs to learn first, so that it can perform with human precision. You could argue that the same might also apply to humans; we do after all need to learn everything first. But while AI might learn spoken words and even self-correct with repeated learning, AI still has difficultly recognizing nuances in language and making accurate translations where slang is us2ed.

2. Cost vs time

The cost of transcription services is a lot lower when using AI. The cost of human transcribers can range anywhere from $40 to $200 per hour. That is very costly when you regularly have to work with a lot of audio files. Not to mention, there are additional costs depending on factors like accent, turn-around-time, accuracy levels and audio quality.

During economic recessions when cost cutting is the order of the day, manual transcription can burn a hole in your pocket and prove to be unsustainable in the long run.

In addition to costing higher, human transcribers do take a longer time to work through a file. It takes a human transcriber roughly 5 hours to transcribe a video or audio file. As such, manual transcription services may not meet expected deadlines, and this might disappoint you if you are working with tight deadlines.


Which transcription service should you choose? AI or human?

Ai or human transcription

The choice between manual vs AI transcription comes down to a few things, some of which include:

What do you need to transcribe?

Human transcription is especially useful for big projects such as market research, survey studies, product launches among other sensitive projects. Such projects require such a high rate of accuracy, that it is necessary to use human transcribers.

However, if your company can invest in an editor, then you can still use a mix of AI transcription services and a human editor even for such projects.

Accuracy

As discussed above, the higher the accuracy of your output, the better. Some software, particularly free software, can have low accuracy levels. Depending on the transcription software you use, accuracy levels may fall below the accepted 80% accuracy level.

What is the deadline for the transcription?

Companies that use AI usually do so:

  • When they need the transcript immediately,
  • When they need a rough draft that an editor can work with,
  • If the audio equipment is clear and can filter background noise

Even where deadlines are not strict, transcribing using AI is still a preferable option because it opens up your time to do other work. If you can get through your tasks faster, then AI makes all the sense in the world.

How much work do you need to transcribe?

Humans lack the ability for real-time transcription especially when working with large files. AI can do it in a matter of minutes. When time is of the essence, it’s better to use AI but note that before you share those files, you need to review them.

How much budget are you working with?

AI transcription is a lot more economical as compared to human transcribers. Even where human editing will be needed, having an AI transcript will still save you money because your editor would not need to start from scratch. 

Is the speech nuanced?

Nuances in spoken language can pose a challenge for AI transcribers, leading to inaccurate transcriptions. However, note that after AI learns, it becomes better at interpreting nuanced language.


Should you do your audio transcription yourself?

You may want to do the transcription yourself if you are concerned about cost or where you feel you are the only person who can do it right. While this is certainly doable, there are downsides to this approach:

  • Transcribing is time consuming
  • You’re likely to make mistakes if you are not a professional transcriptionist

You also have to invest in a lot of tools if you have to do the transcription yourself. For example:

Foot Pedal

A foot pedal allows you to use your foot for operations such as play, pause and rewind. This leaves your hands free to type.

Headphones

Audio files usually include words and other background noises such as clanking keyboards, human sounds, pauses, etc. All this noise is captured in a transcription file, along with the words said. A pair of high quality noise-cancelling headphones will ensure that you get clear audio and thereby limit the number of times you have to rewind and relisten.

Chair

A comfortable, and preferably ergonomic chair will make the time you spend transcribing more enjoyable. A good chair should support your back, make you sit in a good posture and eliminate muscle fatigue. Your chair should also support blood circulation.


Bottom line

As you can see, the choice between AI and human transcription really depends on what your priorities are and the nature of your work. When using meeting AI for example, scheduling conflict can simply be resolved by having an AI meeting assistant attend a meeting for you. In the end, most people usually go for a hybrid mix of AI and human transcribers, as both complement each other.

Whatever the case, whether you choose manual or AI, you will get more success with paid transcription services. This is because paid services come with more editing tools and higher accuracy levels as compared to free services.  

Image credits: unsplash.com, pixabay.com