5 Ways AI is Making Remote Meetings Feel Closer

Original article was published by TeamCalendar.ai Blog on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

5 Ways AI is Making Remote Meetings Feel Closer

Implementing AI-powered solutions for virtual calls have a chance of making the latter even more preferable than offline meetings.

Artificial Intelligence is a huge breakthrough. Investors understand the AI-related opportunities as well, that is why in the next 4 years, worldwide spending on artificial intelligence is expected to double, from $50 billion in 2020 to more than $110 billion in 2024.

One of the industries, looking forward to the AI-driven digital transformation, is the online meeting sector. After the recent switch from voluntarily Work From Home option to a mandatory WFH due to lockdowns, remote calls have been considered by some an inconvenient and at times tiresome necessity. As a result, the Internet even came up with the term “Zoom fatigue”, referring to the energy drain people experience after having multiple video calls during the day. On the other hand, artificial intelligence offers some promising solutions to render online meetings more lifelike and less tiresome. Here are 5 ways how AI is going to achieve it.

1. Video filters — from interior to appearance. With the use of face and clothes filters and virtual backgrounds, AI-powered software provides several options to make the speaker, as well as their environment, look more presentable. This feature is important because, for better or worse, a lot of people still judge others by appearance: while a sloppy looking person in wrinkled clothes sitting in a messy apartment projects unprofessionalism, a neatly dressed individual in office surroundings exudes confidence and trustworthiness. What is more, better looking people earn an average 1–2% more over a lifetime, as well as perform better at sales, than their counterparts with below average looks. Social media have been using face and environment filters for ages. It is high time these features are used in the business world as well.

2. Maintaining eye contact. Several big players, among which Microsoft and Qualcomm, are already offering artificial intelligence solutions for eye-tracking during online meetings. AI subsequently adjusts the eyes’ position, making it appear as the speaker is looking directly at the camera, creating an appearance of an eye contact with their conversation partner. As a result, by the illusion of maintaining eye contact, the speaker seems more engaged in a conversation, in contrast to being focused on the interlocutor’s small rectangular pictogram somewhere on the screen. In addition, eye contact apparently improves information retention, which is useful both for team managers guiding the work of their employees and for sales representatives explaining the advantages of the product to the client.

3. Sound adjustment features. Artificial intelligence helps to solve problems linked with the sound during online meetings. First, several developers are currently attempting to tailor the use of AI to noise suppression and echo cancellation, both of which reduce distractions, thus are inevitably bound to improve the atmosphere of at least some virtual gatherings. Indeed, not everyone has an opportunity to conduct remote conversations in a perfectly quiet environment. For example, construction works near the lead speaker’s apartment can seriously undermine the attendees’ ability to understand what is being said. Second, artificial intelligence is also used to improve the quality of sound per se by smartly processing the input of speakers with technically inferior microphones or automatically leveling the volume of the participants who speak too loudly or too quietly.

4. Speech recognition. An extremely useful feature in remote meetings for two reasons. First of all, AI-powered speech recognition tools create nothing less than subtitles for the real-life online conversation. Such subtitles are very good for people with hearing disabilities or for those who perceive information better visually, not auditorily. These advantages of real-life subtitles are already exploited on the state level, like during the council meetings in the Sweden municipality of Borås. In that regard, live subtitles are also practical for facilitating understanding among members of remote international teams because subtitles improve language comprehension. Second, already recognized speech could be helpful when arranging meeting notes. For instance, a note-taker could refer to live subtitles if they missed some part of information during the meeting itself. On more efficient methods of taking better minutes — read our article “The WWW-Method and 5 Other Efficient Ways of Taking Useful Notes During Online Meetings”.

5. AI-bots for scheduling. Programs running on artificial intelligence and integrated into videoconferencing software could solve the problem of fixing the time for the next meeting without resorting to a never-ending email chain or messenger battles. On the contrary, AI analyses the calendars of the participants and offers the best possible time for the forthcoming meeting. Although, this feature works best when all of the attendees use the same online calendar, so that the synchronization would be nearly seamless.

By introducing AI-features into online meeting software, developers hope to make virtual gatherings more convenient for everyone and, in some ways, even better than the traditional in-person get-togethers. It might prove nice to not have to worry about one’s hair, make-up, putting on business attire and constantly being aware of maintaining the right amount of eye contact. As such, AI might contribute to making online meetings more productive as well, since everyone would be concentrated on strictly professional issues.

AI-powered calendar TeamCalendar.ai automatically checks for people’s availability, allowing users to find the best possible time for a meeting, concomitantly accounting for the difference in time zones. To find out about other useful features of TeamCalendar.ai, request a demo.