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web conferencing

10 Tips For Having A Successful Web Conferencing

web conferencing

If, prior to this year, you conducted majority of your meetings face-to-face, you have no doubt had to adjust to the new reality of web conferencing. One thing you may have realized is that you need to put the same amount of preparation in your online meetings just as you would your face to face meetings.

Because of the technical aspects involved and the fact that meeting participants are sitting in different places, web conferencing probably takes more preparation. Some aspects of it are challenging. For instance:  

  • Technology fails, e.g sound and video
  • Lack of a technical team
  • Poor turnout, as people adjust to online meetings

But if there’s one thing we can learn from one group of scientists who previously conducted their research presentations offline, it’s that these challenges shouldn’t stifle you.

The scientists have found great success with online conferencing, with some even saying that “it offers a better experience” than offline conferences. All it takes is preparation and an AI tool like Aira to facilitate the technical side. 

In this article, we will discuss tips for successful web conferencing. What can you do to prepare for a seamless online meeting? Read on for more.

1. Start with an agenda

Are you guilty of sending a meeting invite that only includes the meeting subject, time of the meeting and date? If yes, you are wasting a key opportunity to communicate vital information with your audience.

  • A meeting invite that has an agenda will ignite more interest in the recipients
  • Recipients can also go through the agenda and decide from the get-go whether the meeting is important to them or not
  • People can prepare based on agenda items, thus making your meetings more engaging and successful

2. Work on audio quality

Audio is the most important aspect of web conferencing. Without audio, people cannot hear each other. In the process, important information is missed. This then leads to frustration, loss of interest and eventually, people jump off the call. As such:

  • Test audio quality ahead of time and ask participants to do so as well

  • If your internet connection tends to be slow, work on a backup internet connection in advance
  • Have your phone as a backup in case all else fails

3. Prepare for video

Prepare for video
Prepare for video

You probably don’t observe a very strict dress code when working from home. Do you work in a t-shirt and jeans, or worse, pajamas?

This might be okay if you are not going to interact with your workmates. However, you may not want to turn up for a conference call in your pajamas. Web conferencing almost always involves video. Therefore, be prepared and dress the part.

4. Turn up early for your meeting

Since you are hosting the meeting, you must log in early for the following reasons:

  • Turning up early for your meetings sets a high punctuality standard. By the way, punctuality is a great way to stand out as a future leader in your company
  • In case of any technical problems, you can catch and troubleshoot them early 
  • You will brush up on your meeting preparation by zeroing in on the agenda items a bit more

5. Choose a tool with high-end features

Your web conferencing tool should enhance your meeting experience, not merely give you an audio and video platform.

You and your team are busy professionals, and all probably have steep targets. The last thing you want therefore, is to be deal with additional meeting-related tasks.

As much as meetings are important for conducting business, meeting-related tasks can consume a lot of your time. Therefore, your meeting tool of choice should ease those tasks.

Take AIRA, for example. It is a smart meeting tool that has these powerful features:  

  • It records and stores meetings notes and thereafter disseminates them
  • It can recognize human speech and its nuances, hence all recordings are highly accurate
  • It uses keyword recognition, which makes searching through meeting notes a lot easier  

Another great benefit of Aira is that if you or any of the other participants are travelling or cannot access their desktop, they can log in on their phones, or have Aira attend the meeting on their behalf.

6. Prepare: Research and internalize your content

If you don’t prepare, you will end up reading every word from your slides. This is why you shouldn’t read from your slides:

  • You will appear ill-prepared for your meeting, in which case, why should anyone else be prepared?
  • You will also come off as though you aren’t an expert in your subject matter
  • There will likely be reduced level of engagement when all you are doing is reading in prose form

7. Do a “temperature check” during the meeting

informal talk with meeting attendees
informal talk with meeting attendees

When web conferencing, it’s important to “go around the table” after some time has elapsed, just to be sure that you still have everyone’s attention. You can, for instance, ask a question and then get answers from each person.  You can also randomly ask for opinions on different areas from team members.

8. Tick off agenda items

Conversations are likely to digress during your web conference. As such, you could end up losing track of the meeting agenda items. Therefore, as you go along, tick off agenda items. Recap that item as you do so, so that people know that you are moving on

Ticking off items:

  • Redirects attention back to the meeting items. If for some reason someone wasn’t paying attention, they are likely to listen very closely to subsequent agenda items.
  • Helps to manage meeting time. You don’t want a meeting that prolongs unnecessarily because of interruptions.

That said, Aira can help you minimize participant interruption, keeping your meetings more focused and productive.

9. Send meeting notes and action items

Remember how we said above that Aira takes meeting notes for you? Well, that includes action items. More so, if you have enabled the right settings, Aira can automatically email notes and action items after every meeting, saving you from having to do so.

10. Follow up

Keep the momentum around the discussed topic alive by following up with meeting participants after the meeting. Individual follow up is always advisable as this way:

  • You can build a sense of urgency if an action item isn’t completed and yet you are too close to deadline
  • You can get a feel of any challenges that individuals have, and put measures in place to assist them

Conclusion

Web conferencing is now an inevitable part of our lives. As you plan your next meeting, take note of the 10 tips discussed above and implement them for greater success.

Image Credits: www.freepik.com, unsplash.com

10 Productivity Software You Should Start Using Now

productivity software

How do you know you are being productive? Is it:

  • When you are getting work done?
  • When your life is organized?
  • When meetings and other collaborative projects are progressing without a hitch?

If you identify with any of the above, you know that Productivity is not a concept unique to the workplace but is also important to aspects of your personal life.

In this article, we will look at 10 productivity software that will help you to become more productive in your work and personal life. these apps will help you do the following:

  • Create better workflows
  • Work smarter by e. g, automating repetitive tasks
  • Become more organized by for example managing your inbox
  • Hold efficient meetings. Example, by automating note taking and minute taking with AIRA
  • Achieve your goals: for example
  • Time savings
  • Finish your project in time
  • Perform better at work so that you can get promoted
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Improve work output, e.g, revenue

Read on below to learn about tools you can use to start being productive starting now.

10 Productivity Software to Try Out:

1. Dragon Naturally Speaking

dragon

Dictating can sometimes be easier than typing, especially if you’ve been working at your desk endlessly. The longer you type, the more your speed dwindles, your accuracy goes down, you become fidgety and eventually lose focus. Thankfully, Dragon naturally speaking allows you to switch to your new tempo of work by dictating to your device. This ensures you can keep working instead of abandoning your project because of fatigue.

The different editions that the software comes in make it an ideal tool for working on topics from practically any industry. For instance, the dragon home is ideal for dictating general content. There’s also dragon legal, dragon law enforcement, among others.

At $150, dragon naturally speaking maybe a little on the costly side, but it really is value for money, considering it’s very accurate.

Price

Dragon Home: $150

Other editions: Contact Nuance team

2. AIRA

Aira

Business cannot be conducted without meetings. A lot of times though, meetings can waste time if:

  • They take too long
  • Minute and note taking are done manually
  • They are disorderly
  • Agenda items are not clear
  • They are irrelevant to attendees

That is where Aira comes in. Aira is an ai meeting assistant that creates efficiency in meetings by automating:

  • Minute taking
  • Meeting scheduling (including checking for meeting overlaps)
  • Following up on action items
  • Document sharing and storage

Aira analytics tracks meeting performance. In addition, the keywords feature helps attendees and other team members to scan through meeting notes quicker and find what is relevant to them.

Pricingcontact team Aira

3. Evernote

evernote

Note-taking is an essential part of most professionals’ and students’ lives. That’s why Evernote makes this list. Whatever the nature of your project, you can use Evernote to

  • Jot down ideas
  • Curate content during the research phase of your work

Evernote records written audio or image content. You can also sketch with the app or upload PDFs. The app not only searches your saved content by word, but also by image. This means that any search will return the corresponding text and image content that you have saved. With the paid subscriptions, you can also search PDFs.

Although Evernote is mostly for boosting personal productivity, you can also use it to collaborate on projects that involve note sharing and editing.

Pricing

Basic: Free

Premium: $7.99/month

Business: $14.99/user/month

4. IFTTT

ifttt

There are simply too many things going on in our daily work and personal lives, that you cannot keep track of all of them. But, fear not, because IFTTT (If this, then that), can automatically update you whenever things that you’re interested in, happen, either online, or locally on your devices.

For instance, if you need to keep track of brand activities on Facebook, you can tell IFTTT “if someone mentions my brand online, then email me their comments. “

Although you may consider some tasks as mundane, they still contribute to your overall success. IFTTT is really good at handling mundane tasks. For instance, sending meeting reminders is a time consuming, mundane task. But attending meetings is important. So, let IFTTT handle your reminders while you do other productive work.

PricingContact the sales team

5. Sane Box

sane box

Email organization is a key part of productivity. It’s quite likely that most of the emails you receive aren’t all-important. Even if they are, they aren’t all high priority. That’s where the Sane Box comes in. Sane box organizes your mailbox by automatically moving unimportant emails from your inbox into new folders.

Sane box decides on email importance levels in the following ways:

  • All emails from contacts that aren’t in your address book are treated as cold calls
  • It learns. You have to give sane box feedback so that in future, it knows how to treat the emails you receive

If you usually get lots of emails daily, this is one app to try out.

Pricing

Snack: $59/year

Lunch: $99/year

Dinner: $299/year

6. Strict Workflow

strict workflow

Focus (or lack of it), is a key issue for most people. A lot of people out there (perhaps including you) cannot work on a project for extended periods of time. For some, this focus period can be as short as a few minutes. That is why the Pomodoro technique was invented. So that for 25 minutes, you can focus on nothing, but work, and you only get to rest for a few minutes once your 25 minutes are up.

Strict workflow enforces the Pomodoro technique. Say you need to work on your project for 4 hours, what you do is divide that time into 25-minute sessions. This increases productivity because it’s a reward-based system. That is, work then claim your reward.

The strict workflow works as a browser plugin.

PricingFree

7. X1 Search

x1

Some people are tidy. They know their files and folders by name date and number (okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration there), but you get the point. Some people can find everything on their laptop quite easily.

But, if you struggle with the personal organization on your computer, you might need a tool like X1 Search. It’s a tool that finds files in your document folders, archives, mailboxes, calendars, SharePoint.

Although in the end, we’d recommend a tool that helps you tidy up your desktop, in the meantime, use X1 search to easily navigate through your messy storage system.

Pricing

Free: 14 day trial period

Single user: $96/license

Enterprise: Contact the team

8. G Suite for business

GSuite

It’s not always possible to be at your desk working on your desktop. But you’ll always have your phone on you. That’s why G Suite is every android phone owner’s dream come true. Whether you’re on your commute, on a business trip or just relaxing on the couch, you can use G Suite to continue working on your projects.

Some important features in G Suite include:

  • Video and audio conferencing
  • Gmail
  • Collaborative tools including Google sheets and Google docs
  • Shared calendars
  • Autosave and auto-sync

G Suite pricing starts at $6/person monthly. But if you are on the move a lot, it is well worth your while because your teams don’t need to be grounded when not in the office.

Pricing

Basic: $6/user/month

Business: $12/user/month

Enterprise: $25/user/month

9. Prezi

Prezi

A lot of professionals often have to put on elaborate presentations for their customers, but they don’t like the process of putting together a slide deck.

  • For one, standard presentations take too long to complete
  • In addition, a standard slide deck just doesn’t capture ideas so well because the formats just don’t seem to fit

If you have the same problem, you should give Prezi a go.

With Prezi, you can work on your projects on a digital whiteboard. Then, you film the content on the board and record a film of that content. You can also choose from a wide variety of templates to suit your presentation requirements.

Pricing

Free: 14-day trial

Standard: $5/month

Plus: $15/month

Premium: $59/month

10. Apple iWork

iWork

iWork is to Mac OS users what Gsuite is to Android users. The app allows anyone with an iPad or iPhone to keep working on the go. iWork does that with the following features:

  • A document editor
  • A spreadsheet tool
  • For creating presentations

PriceiWork is free and can work as an app on your iPhone. If you have an iCloud account, you can also use the web app for free.

Conclusion

These tools are just a small percentage of all the productivity tools available online. We encourage you to try them out to address any personal and work productivity issues you may have. Most of them have a trial period, so, make use of that to get better acquainted with the apps before paying.

11 Secrets To A Successful Sales Meeting Unleashed

successful sales meeting

Do you run a productive and successful sales meeting everytime? If your answer is yes, then congratulations! You are one of the few sales professionals who have honed and mastered a skill crucial to selling effectively.

In most organizations, sales meetings waste a salesperson’s time and quite frankly, deliver very little value. While we appreciate that sales teams need to dedicate some of their time to meet their managers, if those meetings aren’t helping the bottom line, they are a waste of time.

A meeting that wastes a salesperson’s time is more likely to demotivate that person. On the other hand, if your sales meetings can deliver value, you will increase your team’s productivity. This is where meeting tools come in. A meeting tool like Aira has built-in analytics, from which you can draw insights into meeting performance. This article, however, is not about meeting tools, but simple behavioral adjustments that once implemented will shape how your salespeople view sales meetings. More on that below.


The secrets of running a successful sales meeting

1.     Limit your meeting to one agenda item

You can cover many issues in a meeting agenda. But time is money for salespeople so instead of addressing multiple issues, focus one crucial agenda item. Discussions centered around one area has several advantages:

  • You can dig deep into that issue or topic, and understand it
  • That item becomes the metric that matters for that week
  • Your team will remain focused on the subject discussed

2.     Send out the meeting agenda way before the meeting date

Do you want your salespeople to be well prepared for your meetings? If yes, make use of your AI meeting assistant to send out the agenda well ahead of time. Make your agenda items actionable.

3.     Keep time

keep time

Do you want your team to respect your meetings? Do you want to create a sense of urgency throughout the workweek? Then lead by example by sticking to your meeting timelines. Keep time, and you give your salespeople a template of how they should handle their customers’ time.

We also mentioned earlier that time is money. Keeping time tells your salespeople that you value their time.

4.     Keep your meetings to under one hour

Another important aspect of time is meeting length. 36% of meeting attendants lose attention when attending any meeting that lasts more than 45 minutes. So, to make the most out of your meeting session,

5.     Make meetings relevant and pertinent

People tend to drift during a meeting if they notice that the meeting items don’t concern them.

Let’s assume you have 4 salespeople, each representing a region. If you want to have productive discussions with them, schedule a meeting with each one. This might seem redundant but look at it this way: whenever someone is giving an update on their region, the other three are likely to check out of the meeting because that region does not affect their performance.

In addition, if there’s an issue that has to do with one person, follow up with that person after the meeting.

6.     Encourage discussion

Your salespeople, not you, are the ones facing customers. They are also the ones who have to deal with challenges in the field. So, they want you to hear them as much as you want them to listen to you.

Turn your meeting into a forum for discussion, where issues are tabled, discussed and action taken immediately.

7.     Updates do not warrant a meeting

We cannot stress this enough: meetings centered around updates have little to no value to a salesperson. Some things can be addressed on email. Learn to identify such matters so that you don’t hold unnecessary meetings.

8.     Recognize and reward performance

recognize and reward

There is nothing more motivating for a salesperson (besides the commissions of course), than recognition. Therefore, whenever you hold a meeting, recognize, congratulate and reward your top performers. The following happens when you reward salespeople regularly:

  • You set the pace for your salespeople every week. Everyone will try to hit their targets so that they can shine during the next meeting
  • The end result is that you are more likely to hit your monthly target by remaining focused week on week
  • Your meetings become something that salespeople look forward to attending

9.     Turn meetings into a performance improvement platform

As you hold more meetings, you will start to notice performance trends. Some of those trends may indicate areas that need improvement.

You don’t need to wait for your next training workshop to address key performance issues. Instead, use your sales meetings to deliver bite-sized training sessions that will help your teams to start changing their results immediately.

10.  Make your sales team feel like a part of the company

Since majority of salespeople spend most of their time in the field, one of the times they get to interact with the company is during meetings. Take it upon yourself to give them a positive experience during these rare moments. They should feel like insiders and know that their contribution is not only appreciated, but also shapes growth. In a word, offer motivation.

There are several ways to do this. For instance, have the company head attend a meeting and reward individuals by name. Or, do something as simple as offering refreshments during meetings.

11.  Agree on next steps

You expect your salespeople to leave their customers with clarity on what the next steps will be, right? The same should go for meetings. After every meeting, each person’s responsibility should be very clear. Send meeting notes and action items Immediately after the meeting. You can do this very easily with AIRA.


Conclusion

Yes, improving your sales meetings is as simple as implementing all or some of these 11 points. As you implement these tips,

  • Ask your team for feedback. A simple question like this will suffice, “Hey, how do you think today’s meeting went and what can we do to improve the next meeting?”
  • Use AIRA analytics to track meeting performance trends

That’s it! Happy meeting!

How to Extract Meeting Minutes from Your Zoom Meetings with AIRA

extract zoom meeting minutes

The whole world seems to be on a Zoom meeting at the moment. The popular video conferencing app has now racked up a 300 million daily meeting participant volume. This massive amount of users throng the app for its awesome features.

The rise of Zoom has even sparked off an internet troll phenomenon known as Zoombombing. Zoombombers prowl the highways and byways of public Zoom meetings, bombing meeting participants with inappropriate content.

The cloud-based video conferencing tool is very popular with small, large, and medium-sized businesses. On it, users can have a continuity of their daily workflows and keep in touch. All of Zoom’s amazing features are designed for the business meeting.

Through them, work from home employees can have one-on-one meetings on the app’s free plan or host large meetings with 500 participants on paid plans.

Users can also screen share for collaboration and record all Zoom calls as video. It is, therefore, quite unfortunate that most of the app’s users have to use old paper and pen to jot down Zoom meeting notes.

The savvy meeting leader can, however, use AI meeting assistant technology tools like Aira instead. Aira is powered by artificial intelligence technology and can automatically join your meetings, transcribe them, take meeting notes, and share with all meeting participants at the end of the meeting.


 

Why should extract Zoom meeting minutes with Aira?

extract meeting minutes with aira

Some Zoom meeting leaders do try to take down notes from their laptops or computers while on Zoom meetings. If you have tried this process, you know how arduous a task it is, if you must have your camera on during the meeting.

If your meeting guidelines, however, allow cameras to stay off during the meeting (which is quite rare), you can switch off your laptop’s camera, listen in and type in your notes. Just juggle between listening in, staying engaged, and contributing to the meeting’s deliberations. This is not an easy task, and you will often lose your concentration and become less productive during the meeting.

Some other minute writing option procedures during Zoom meetings include;

  1. Opening a Zoom window and utilizing a note-taking app on the other side of your screen for minute taking. With both apps open at the same time, you can quickly click back and forth between each app as you listen take your notes. You, however, will have the disadvantage of a half-sized Zoom window.
  2. Have access to two monitors and connect them to your computer. Use one monitor to run your Zoom meeting interface. And use the other for your minute taking app. You can also use your tablet, phone, or laptop screens to set this configuration up. Use one screen for the video conferencing app and use the other for minute taking
  3. Learn your keyboard commands and use them to switch between your Zoom app and minute taking window. This option will keep your Zoom app full screen.

These methods might get the job done, but you will have to face the meeting minute taking challenges of a lack of concentration and fatigue.

You will also have to keep fighting off the urge to record every word verbatim and simply summarize the key facts. Meetings do not always follow the agenda and topics, and side issues will often come in distracting the minute-taking process.


 

How to extract your meeting’s notes with Aira?

Aira

Aira, the voice AI platform, is the best Zoom meeting minute taking alternative. She will not only take minutes but will save them on one location for ease of access.

Aira is such a perfect meeting assistant that she can attend your meeting and take notes on your behalf when you are held up elsewhere. She is the perfect complementary tool for Zoom’s recorded video function.

If you have a paid Zoom account and Aira, you can sync all your Zoom cloud recordings into Aira. With this, you’ll get automatic extraction of meeting notes through her robust AI voice transcription feature. Zoom Pro, Business, and Enterprise allow meeting leaders to record their calls as videos.

The meeting host can also enable video recordings of meetings by other members in settings so that anyone can record a Zoom meeting.

All videos will either be saved locally or on the cloud in an MP4 video file format. Aira will transcribe the meeting using her Zoom Synch feature. All that you need to do is to set up Aira’s automatic transcription feature before the meeting starts. Simply;

  1. Pre-approve Aira in Zoom marketplace
  2. Allow live streaming in Zoom
  3. Connect Aira to Zoom

 

Conclusion

Taking meeting minutes the old school way on Zoom can be a challenge. Use Aira’s proficient voice transcription feature to take extract minutes automatically from Zoom meetings and recordings.

Resolved – 5 Biggest Challenges of Working from Home

challenges of working from home

Amongst the many benefits of the new ‘working from home’ normal is a positive impact on the sustainability of a myriad of initiatives. Economic growth has, in the past, exacted a heavy toll on climate change, sustainable urban living, and responsible consumption.

This drastic reduction of employee and employer carbon footprint has led to a remarkable improvement in intra-city congestion and pollution. Remote work is a sustainable economic growth feature and is the future of the labor landscape. Despite all its benefits, working from home has unique challenges as well. Some of these challenges include:

1. Coordination and communication challenges

According to David Heinemeier and Jason Friend, the founders of Basecamp, communication is foundational to the success of a remote working team.

The authors of REMOTE: Office Not Required, say that bad blood can easily develop between work from home teams when the bulk of their communication takes place through email. This set up will quickly snowball small blunders into full-blown melodramas if they are not quickly nipped in the bud.

Fortunately, a whole industry sprung up around team collaboration tools that make it easier for employees to communicate effectively. Aira, for instance, is a meeting assistant that automatically records and transcribes meeting dialogue.

This robust voice AI platform will save all your meeting notes in one location. She will also help all remote working teams keep track of all online meetings deliberations. Aira doubles team productivity, info sharing efficiency, and multiplies sales increase. Team collaboration tools ensure that no member of the team feels left out of the loop.

2. Distractions

Source
Professor Robert Kelly’s BBC interview that earned him the title of ‘BBC Dad” is a perfect example of how distracting the work from home environment is.

In the 2017 live interview with the British news channel, the professor’s two children made a comical entrance to his home office as he talked about the ouster of Park Geun-Hye of South Korea. Parents working from home watched in amusement as Kelly kept composure during the brief scene, keeping the show running.

Most parents can relate to the live TV blooper because they all struggle to maintain a work and home life balance when they have work near their children. One of the major reasons some employees embrace working from an office is to build a firm barrier between their home and work life. To work successfully from home with fewer distractions, you need a designated work spot, devoid of all disturbances.

Have some noise-canceling headphones to eliminate auditory distractions. Set up firm rules with your family and politely ask them to behave as if you were away at work when you are at work from home.

3. Time management

Employers have the innate fear the remote work employees will slack off in the absence of oversight. Most times, the opposite is the reality.

Most work from home employees will overwork because they find it harder to switch off. Surrounded by all the tools needed to put in extra work, they will have a harder time drawing the line. This challenge becomes even more complex when you are working for yourself.

Every remote worker needs to establish a work schedule that keeps them from overworking or slacking off. This rota will keep you productive and give you ample time to be with family and friends. Use tools such as an AI meeting assistant, Trello,  Asana, and Evernote to schedule, manage time and tasks, and organize your work hours.

4. Lack of social interaction

social interaction

Co-workers are often an employee’s main social circle if they do not have a close family. If you are working from home, isolation can be a challenge if you spend days by yourself. To lessen the feeling of being a hermit, have social breaks in your work schedule.

Go out for lunch with friends or grab yourself a snack from a friendly food shack attendant down the street. Take your computer with you to a co-working space occasionally, or work from a coffee shop and enjoy the social environment. Join local organizations and groups for meet-ups and recreation.

5. Technology hiccups

Challenges such as internet outages can make remote work a problem. You do not want your connection or computer to crash right in the middle of an important zoom meeting. To avoid such inconveniences and for your peace of mind, have a backup plan. You can, for instance, a mobile hotspot device for an alternative internet connection and a backup tablet or laptop at hand.

Conclusion

Ditching the daily commute, working from anywhere in the world, and a flexible work schedule are some advantages of working from home. The challenges above, however, can make remote work unproductive if you do not use them to create structure, routine, and discipline.

How Various Machine Learning Models Make a Successful Web Conferencing Platform

machine learning models

Technology is increasingly making its presence felt in today’s business world. Mounting data volumes, availability of cheaper computational processing, and affordable data storage have led to increased interest in machine learning models in recent times.

More than ever before, it’s now possible to create models that can analyze complex data on a large scale while delivering quicker and more accurate results. With such models, organizations can spot profitable opportunities and avoid unknown risks.

With machine learning, organizations use algorithms to set up models that uncover connections and use these to make better decisions – even without human intervention. Most industries, particularly those that handle vast amounts of data have leveraged machine technology to increase efficiency and outdo their competition. Examples of such are in:

  • Financial services
  • Government
  • Health services
  • Retail
  • Transport services


Machine Learning in the Workplace

Machine Learning in the Workplace

In many organizations, communication and collaboration pose a great challenge. This brings in the need to integrate intelligent technology within workflows in a seamless process. Such technology enables teams to leverage their synergies and talents, enhance engagement, and speed up work processes.

This approach to workplace productivity uses artificial intelligence and machine learning in ways that make work-life more productive and profitable. Besides, the use of wireless technologies, high-bandwidth internet, and the cloud already make it possible to work in spaces other than the conventional meeting rooms.

With advances in both memory and processing power, apps and devices now hold higher levels of intelligence and help create communication and collaboration tools. As such, smart meeting rooms can now give workers access to different conferencing technologies that are key to improved business processes.


Types of Machine Learning Models

Types of Machine Learning Models

a) Supervised Learning

Given that machine learning predicts an output by using sample inputs, it’s referred to as supervised learning. An example of this is facial recognition whereby a dataset composed of images of meeting attendees helps to predict the names of future meeting attendees.

b) Unsupervised Learning

While supervised learning uses pre-existing data, unsupervised learning builds its knowledge base through observation of activities such as user behavior or anomaly detection.

c) Other Variations

This form of machine learning covers many categories but reinforcement learning is the most predominant. It features a decision-making policy that gets enhanced with time, based on the outcomes of decisions taken previously. In web conferencing, it can be used in the optimal framing of users in a video or in anticipating a user’s wish to start a meeting.


How Does Machine Learning Enhance Web Conferencing and Workflow?

Machine Learning Enhance Web Conferencing

Machine learning is a subset of Artificial intelligence. It relies on quality data, patterns, and inference and uses statistical models and algorithms to perform assigned tasks – usually performed by humans.

Online meetings can be tedious and often, one half doesn’t know the other half. At times, an attendee forgets to hit the mute button and lets out a big yawn. But, machine learning models bring a new dimension to virtual meeting experiences.

Web conferencing provides an ideal forum to discuss perspectives, exchange ideas, share documents, and provide solutions to problems. It also includes the use of video conferencing and screen share. Users can also hold virtual classes through webinars.

An unlimited number of people can participate in these forums. Video conferencing, for example, allows many meeting attendants to participate without losing relevance. Meeting members also get a fair share of attention – all without affecting the bandwidth.

The use of machine learning models assists in:

  • Creating an easy to implement working environment  – employees can join meetings at the touch of a button
  • Predicting the most ideal meeting location for teams based on previous data

  • Connecting scheduling apps to the most ideal meeting venues

  • Automatic prediction of the apps most likely used in meetings
  • Creating a better web meeting experience using automated artificial intelligence-based API syncing
  • Helping to make meetings much more intelligent and contextual


Benefits of Using Machine Learning Models in Web Conferencing

Benefits of Using Machine Learning Models

Web conferencing is quickly becoming integral to the modern workplace. Companies, both big and small are embracing more innovative, collaborative, economical, and productive ways of working.

Machine learning models help to provide:

1. Intelligent Meetings Tools

Close collaboration helps in creating strong and dynamic business relationships. This calls for effective meetings. Aira is an artificial Intelligence-based meeting software that:

  • Records all meetings proceedings and transcribes the recordings for you
  • Handles mundane but time-sucking tasks like calling all meeting participants before the meeting commences and adding people to video calls
  • Helps you keep track of all your meetings and notes
  • Helps you to identify meeting participants and usher them to the meeting room
  • Notes down all meeting records and then shares them out to all meeting participants
  • Enables you to optimize your processes by providing meeting analytics

Aira is the go-to meeting companion that helps you focus on solving bigger issues by taking care of menial meeting tasks like minute taking. Besides, the tool connects your meetings to your firm’s knowledge assets which helps to organize meeting notes and set meeting agendas.

2. An Efficient and Cost-effective Way of Hosting Your Meetings

Combining web conferencing with teleconferencing makes hosting a meeting both efficient and cost-effective. Web conferences are both visual and interactive and some allow you audio access via the internet.

A successful machine learning web conferencing solution needs to cover all your company needs. You also need to ensure that the technology is based on the right foundation. Modern conferencing technologies call for a robust, reliable, and highly secure communication infrastructure to help power web conferencing services.

3. Strict Privacy Regulations

While there was a recent public outcry over Zoom’s privacy and security settings ( which was later addressed), developers build responsible artificial intelligence tools for web conferencing. They also make sure that the tools meet the needs of different groups of people and protect private information.

Data privacy can be enhanced with the use of differential privacy techniques. Also, confidential computing can help to secure the organization’s machine learning assets while policies can be applied to maintain resource control and comply with regulatory standards.

4. Increased Employee Responsiveness

For businesses that leverage BYOD (bring your own device), employees show a notable improvement in responsiveness and decision-making. Such businesses can utilize machine learning-based models that offer video conferencing platforms to enable their users to attend video meetings on the go.

5. Replacing Cumbersome Workflows with Automated Chatbots

Managing cumbersome workflows is made easy by the use of virtual assistants for video conferencing. AI-powered chatbots can also intersect your email marketing and CRM for easy workflow follow-up after meetings.

6. Trust and Collaboration

A heightened sense of camaraderie, trust, and collaboration emerges when team members use machine learning meeting tools. An elevated meeting experience also increases engagement and helps participants to stay focused during the entire meeting. This is a big win for the business.

Machine learning models can also enhance your team’s collaboration experience and help build better and stronger relationships. With reduced meeting friction points, employees can strengthen their interactions and build high-performance teams.


What You Need For Successful Web Conferencing

Successful Web Conferencing

For successful web conferencing, your preferred meeting tool needs to offer the following capabilities:

1. Ease of Use

Your web conferencing technology ought to make this experience smooth and enjoyable. If the solution is hard to use, makes processes like setting up meetings or signing in participants tedious, holding meetings will always be a nightmare.

Go for technology that offers you great user experience, can work from any device, and one that requires no plug-ins or downloads. It should also be flexible and easy to integrate into your work processes.

2. High Security Levels

Does your meeting assistant protect your communication from unauthorized access? Ensure that your meeting solution features in-built multi-layer security. This will allow you to have an uncompromised user experience.

3. Multiple and Advanced Features

Is holding an audio call all you can do? How about screen sharing, video conferencing, or holding audience polls? Demand more from your solution provider and elevate your meetings with enhanced collaboration. Your participants will thank you and your meetings will be more engaged.

Furthermore, meeting participants should also be able to hold web conferences via their desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Multiple meeting features also help to solve many of the challenges you might face while communicating with peers.


Conclusion

It’s no secret that machine learning has a huge impact on business. More and more organizations are taking advantage of this technology to completely transform how their teams communicate.

As many dull administrative activities get handled by machine learning models, employees will have ample time and resources to leverage their collaborative efforts, intelligence, and creativity.

Machine Learning models are dynamic. They are continually evolving and improving. Increased technological advances in both computing and mobile ability will serve to make workplace communication and collaboration more effective and streamlined.

If you want your business to keep ahead, your teams to work smarter, and to have more productive meetings, integrate machine learning into your web conferencing. This is the future of meetings.

The 7 Major AI Companies of Web Conferencing Apps Every Marketer Must Know

web conferencing app companies

AI meeting tools are founded on some key premises:

  • That meeting can and do waste time, but shouldn’t waste time
  • That meeting can cost less money and take less time to run

From your own experience, you probably agree that meetings can be a headache and they also get in the way of daily work. Your employees or teams probably agree the same thing too. Korn Ferry, a consulting firm, conducted a study on 1945 workers, and only 11% of the study participants said that they had productive meetings.

In some cases, meetings indeed are the answer. In other cases, employees can find themselves sitting in meetings that are neither relevant to their daily responsibilities nor their overarching goals. In addition, even where meetings are scheduled and attended diligently, discussion points can tend to be forgotten and follow up of action items never initiated. Without sufficient follow-up, important ideas, that come out of meetings die.  

But there are companies out there that have invested time, money and effort to innovate solutions to turn meetings into the value-add they should be. We will discuss them in this post:


The Top 7 AI Web Conferencing App Companies

1. Testfire Labs

Testfire Labs is an award-winning, Canadian-based company that creates innovative AI solutions that increase business efficiency. Testfire is the company behind CANARI.AI, an AI-powered solution that focusses on plant health, and Hendrix.AI, an AI solution that automates and optimizes meeting outcomes. Hendrix.AI leverages Natural language processing to perform meeting-related tasks such as:

  • Transcribing notes
  • Organizing, recalling and summarizing meeting action items
  • Analyzes trending topics by going through meeting transcripts

“Meetings are broken”, is the simple maxim on which Testfire labs was founded. The company’s CEO believes that meetings take up a lot of unnecessary time and money investment, a factor that propelled him to create solutions to enable people to achieve more with speed.

Testfire’s target market for its solutions are enterprises with more than 1000 people.  Some of its ardent users include companies lie NAIT, that tend to be meeting heavy.


2. Across Labs Inc

Across labs, inc is an AI company based in San Francisco, California. According to Across Labs team, company managers and executives usually have an average of 62 meetings per month. Yet 50% of meetings they attend are failures for reasons such as:

  • Being involved in meetings that are of no relevance to them
  • Lack of clear action items
  • Key discussions points are not captured
  • Meeting monopolization by certain individuals
  • Getting sidetracked from main discussion agenda

Across Labs team consider Acrossio the answer to these problems. The company seeks to transform “the future of work” through their “content in context” flagship AI meeting software, Acrossio. Users of Acrossio can accelerate knowledge sharing and learning collaboratively.  

Acrossio records discussions that happens during a meeting, including meeting minutes, file shares, etcetera, and stores it to a collective cloud. Users add context to the discussions by appending their comments, bookmarks, and chats to the recorded sessions. The stored collective group knowledge is then transformed into intelligence that can be used by the company.

With Acrossio,

  • Capturing opportunities, risks and ideas coming out of discussions is made easier
  • You can also build up on old knowledge/meetings with points from new discussions
  • Acrossio can listen, record, transcribe and share content from meeting and discussion sessions
  • You get to know your team better and learn their strengths in problem solving, idea generation or visionary thinking
  • You can find out what teams are talking about and their moods and opinions around topics


3. Second Rise LLC

Second Rise LLC is an innovations company that provides services such as research, training, software development and publishing to over 5000 organizations including governments and non-profits.

Based in Portland, Oregon, SecondRise LLC is the brains behind Lucid Meetings, a cutting edge AI tool that improves team reporting and collaboration. Lucid meetings:

  • Facilitates meeting efficiency before, during and after a meeting
  • Keeps track of meeting results, through real time action items and keeping records in shareable formats
  • Distributes meeting items via email
  • Focusses on training to equip employees with knowledge on how to run efficient meetings
  • Provides templates for running meetings


4. MeetingSift

MeetingSift was founded by individuals with:

  • An urgent need to eliminate time wastage during meetings
  • A need to ensure that every meeting yields value by running efficiently.
  • An impressive level of collective expertise in communication, technology and collaboration, to make these two needs a reality

Although meeting minutes in MeetingSift are recorded by humans, assignment of note-taking duties is done intelligently to ensure meetings are captured collaboratively and with ease.

MeetingSift team seeks to make meetings more engaging and productive by:

  • Providing company executives with useful meeting intelligence
  • Encouraging individual output within groups
  • Enabling visualizations of what is happening in the group in real time
  • Integrating content in slide format. This also includes other presentation formats such as keynote and PowerPoint

MeetingSift also uses the Eisenhower quadrant and the effort vs impact quadrant to help teams prioritize what they choose to focus on.

A very important feature of MeetingSift is the “Linked activities”, which allows you discuss your brainstorms within the context of the quadrants, and rank projects by priority levels.


5. Cisco (Voicea + WebEx)

Cisco is a technology giant behind several innovative software products, including WebEx, an AI-powered meeting assistant.

Recently, Voicea, a company whose founders are from FaceBook, Oracle and LinkedIn, became part of Cisco’s WebEx platform.

Voicea are the creators of EVA, an AI meeting assistant that takes notes for you, allowing you to stay focused on your meeting. According to Voicea, 40% of your time is spent following up on meetings. Voicea’s ability to follow up frees up that time for you to use more efficiently.

Webex is a leader in video conferencing and when combined with Voicea’s note-taking and activation feature, it becomes a powerful tool for turning conversations into actions that leave an impact.


6. LogMein

LogMeIn is a Boston-based company that enables customer engagement, IT management and team collaboration through its cloud-based and SaaS remote connectivity products.  

LogMeIn owns a couple of products and solutions, among them GotoMeeting, an online tool for hosting web, video and audio meetings.

GotoMeeting has many innovative features, some of which include:

  • Commuter mode for people attending meetings while travelling or just out of the office
  • Siri voice command for joining meetings
  • Cloud recording, for seamless on the go meetings
  • Secure web conferencing that requires you to log in through your company’s page
  • Admin center for managing user access and monitoring app use

LogMeIn is currently being acquired by Francisco Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation, in a $4.3 billion deal that was slated to be finalized in mid-2020.


7. Eduba

AIRA

Eduba was founded in 2020 and for such a fairly new company, it has made quite an impact in the nascent field of AI meeting software.

Eduba is the team behind Aira, an AI meeting software that:  

  • Records meetings
  • Transcribes the recordings
  • Manages meeting attendees
  • Tracks action items
  • Manages meeting agenda
  • Integrates with your CRM to improve service delivery

Eduba serves brands across the software industry, sales and marketing, web development, digital marketing, lead generation, among others.


Final Words

There you have it. The field of AI meeting tools may be new, but it is still growing. As such, with time, we are likely to experience an upsurge of new AI meeting solutions.

Featured Image Credits: Freepik.com

Top 10 Platforms for Hosting Online Meetings

Online meetings

Meetings in a company are inevitable; they sustain continued business. But with company operations and offices spread over wide geographical areas -some even global- it can be a challenge to conduct meetings.

Traveling for a meeting is always an option -and it has been done before- but the cost of travel is high, and the ROI is hardly ever justifiable given the length and/or output of the meeting. In addition, as the world grapples with how to do business in the era of covid19, online meeting tools are useful now more than ever. Travel is not an option for anyone and even when travel resumes, having the option to hold online meetings while saving costs will still remain a preferable option.

In this article, we will explore online meeting tools that make having business meetings easier, cost-effective, collaborative, and productive.


Top 10 platforms for hosting online meetings

1. ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting is a reliable meeting platform that comes loaded with many useful features. It’s ideal for video conferencing, hosting webinars, online conferences and holding online meetings.

It’s easy to use, making it ideal for anyone with little to no technical skills. Click meeting runs online, so you do not need to download or install anything.

Features:

  • Host online conferences with thousands of attendees and multiple presenters
  • It works straight from your browser
  • Customize with your logo and colors to suit your business or event
  • Stream live on FaceBook and Youtube and reach new audiences through those channels
  • During Q&A sessions, use “question mode” to control your audience 
  • Translation feature allows attendees speaking a different language to participate
  • You can share your screen
  • Recording feature is available, making it ideal for record purposes and future analysis
  • A call-to-action feature, to increase productivity
  • Record up to 10 hours of meetings

Pricing:

Free: for 30 days

Live: $25

Automated: $40

Enterprise: Contact for more details


2. Skype

Skype

Skype has been around for a long time. It is online meetings platform that is trusted by brands and individuals alike for its reliability and security (thanks to the Microsoft brand name). Though skype is great for chat, its video conferencing capability is its most hyped feature.

Most people use the free version of skype, but paid options are available for meetings hosting 50 or more participants.

You need to download and install Skype on your computer, although the process is quite easy to follow. After installation, you can sync Skype to your address book, making it easy to access and call your contacts in one step.

The search feature allows you to find and invite anyone who is not in your contacts, to connect witty you.

Features:

  • Free for up to 50 people
  • You can chat, group chat, call or video
  • File sharing enables collaboration
  • It has versions for web and mobile
  • Skype has subtitles feature
  • You can call phone numbers from skype

Despite its popularity, Skype is a bit of a heavy app and may sometimes have unclear output on calls having many users.

Pricing:

Free for up to 50 participants. Otherwise, contact for more details


3. BlueJeans

BlueJeans

BlueJeans is an online meeting and video conferencing app trusted by enterprise brands like Facebook, LinkedIn, Zillow, among others. BlueJeans was acquired by Verizon in April 2020, a move that will see the app leverage Verizon’s 5G technology for better video conferencing.

Its analytics, live meeting controls, minute-taking and enterprise-level security are some of the features that make BlueJeans an enterprise meeting tool of choice for most.

Other features include:

  • One-touch-access allows users to join from their browser or device
  • It is integrable with more than 30 apps
  • Confiture to suit many meeting room systems
  • Make phone calls for free to more than 40 countries
  • Customize to suit your brand
  • Record meetings and save to the cloud

As with most enterprise-grade apps that host many users, video and audio quality may be unclear when using BlueJeans. However, the acquisition by Verizon may just fix this issue.

Pricing:

Standard: $9.99/month

Pro: $13.99/month

Enterprise: contact for pricing


4. Aira by Eduba

AIRA
Aira

Aira is an online meetings platform that offers quite a number of interesting features that make it unique. These include:  

  • Its Voice AI feature automatically records meetings. The AI continuously upgrades, enhancing performance and productivity
  • Recordings are available as transcriptions.  Therefore, you don’t have to miss out on meeting discussions or take minutes later on
  • Aira will attend multiple meetings for you, allowing you to still keep up with your busy schedule without missing out on important meeting details
  • Aira uses Zapier to integrate with your CRM
  • The analytics feature allows you to suggest ways to optimize future meetings and improve performance

To use Aira for online meetings, you can sign up for a free trial.

Pricing:

Available during the demo.


5. Blizz by TeamViewer

Blizz

The Blizz Collaboration Companion™ is a video, voice and instant messaging application created by TeamViewer.

TeamViewer specializes in providing remote support through cloud-based technologies to businesses around the world. Boasting installations on more than 2 billion devices, TeamViewer’s popularity as a collaboration tool is unquestionable. Blizz leverages some of TeamViewer’s features, allowing screen sharing and remote access to all your essential meeting and communication tools.

Features:

  • Blizz is free for up to 5 participants but has the capacity to support up to 300 people on one call.
  • It supports sharing on multiple 4K screens
  • Records calls and store in the cloud
  • It’s a secure application that uses 256-bit end-to-end encryption
  • Message indexing for easier tracking of conversations and ideas

One downside with Blizz is that it doesn’t support whiteboarding, which limits interactive use of shared documents during video conferencing.

Pricing (billed annually):

  • Free: for 5 users
  • Core: 6€ / Month
  • Crew: 14/€month
  • Company:19€/month

6. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams is an ideal online meeting tool for large businesses, as it supports as many as 10,000 participants on one call.  Microsoft teams support chat, call, video and file sharing on iOS, Windows, Android and web, all while ensuring the privacy and security of participants.

Features:

  • Navigating within Microsoft team is easy; with just one click, you can for instance navigate from group chatting to video.
  • File sharing on Microsoft teams makes team collaboration easy even when traveling or away from your workstation, as you can access and edit relevant files through TeamViewer.
  • Powerful search,
  • Live training online
  • Task management

Although Microsoft Teams has great features, it does not do audio calls, nor does it integrate with third-party software.

Pricing (annual commitment):

  • Microsoft Teams (free): free
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: USD$5.00/ user/month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: USD$12.50/ user/month
  • Office 365 E3: USD$20.00 user/month


7. Google Meet

Google Meet

Google Meet is a free service that started off as a secure meeting service for businesses. It is now open to everyone. Google Meet integrate with Gmail, google drive, docs and google calendar, letting you manage your video calls straight from your communication resources.

Features:

  • Live streaming on google meet supports up to 100,000 participants.
  • In addition to enjoying Google’s security feature, GoogleMeet benefits from extensive AI research by google, giving the app powerful abilities like adjusting to environmental noise, so that calls remain clear even in noisy environments.
  • GoogleMeet can adjust Performance to suit different network speeds. This ensures high quality calls in spite of network strength.
  • You don’t need to download googlemeet.
  • G Suite integration allows participants to join calls without internet

GoogleMeet is reasonably priced, making it ideal for a small budget

Pricing:

Free


8. GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is an online meeting tool through which users can host or join audio or video meetings from anywhere. It works on MacOS, Windows OS and mobile.

GoToMeeting has a high price tag, making it suitable for enterprises or businesses that can meet the budget.

Features:

  • The GoToRoom kit allows you to turn your meeting room into a collaborative space.  
  • GoToMeeting helps you to fully leverage your video conferencing hardware
  • Integrate with third-party apps like google calendar, salesforce, or Office 365.
  • Use Siri voice commands
  • Enjoy unlimited meeting time with screen sharing and HD video
  • Get MP4 recordings of your meetings
  • Enjoy end to end security feature

Pricing:

Professional: $14/organizer/month

Business: $19/organizer /month

Enterprise: Call for details


9. Zoom

Zoom

Zoom only went public in 2019 and has in a very short time soared in popularity as online meetings and conferencing tool.

Features:

  • Zoom offers free 40-minute calls for up to 100 participants
  • It is intuitive and easy to use
  • You can hold video calls, voice and chat
  • You can share files and make presentations on zoom.
  • Video and audio quality on zoom is good even on slow connections
  • Supports dual screen sharing and HD video

One downside of zoom, according to the intercept, is that it does not offer end to end security encryption.

Pricing:

Basic personal meeting: Free

Pro: $14.99/mo/host

Business: $19.99 /mo/host

Enterprise: $19.99 /mo/host


10. EverWebinar

EverWebinar

EverWebinar is a reliable and fast online meeting platform that allows you to set up calls and webinars in as little as 3 minutes. it’s a great tool not just for meetings but also for offering live training and webinars.

EverWebinar can automate your trainings, all while giving your audience flexible scheduling options for specific dates, managing recurring events and managing time zones.

Other EverWebinar features include:

  • Manage all your chats, videos and statistics in one compact screen
  • Access all your communication and analytics safely and securely
  • Download previous chat history
  • Send notifications by email or sms

EverWebinar however requires a bit of time to learn the features but when you do, the ROI will be worth it. The testimonials on the app’s webpage bear this out.

Pricing:

Installment plan: 3x$199/year

Annual plan: $499/year

Biennial plan: $799/2 years


Final Words

That’s it for now.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right software. But this list of 10, feature-rich online meetings apps has something for everyone, and should make doing business in 2020 and beyond a lot easier.