How AI will revolutionise meetings

August 3, 2018 Charlotte Sturman

Team meetings are an essential part of a company culture that helps build teamwork but we all know that they could be more productive – if only the mechanics of the meeting itself were set up to be more helpful and less distracting.

Inspiration and spontaneity can get stifled by having to click through presentations, pass out documents, or by making sure action points are duly noted. So let’s face it: conventionally-run workplace meetings are unfit for purpose in agile company cultures.

This year is seeing development trends toward AI assistance technologies that support truly collaborative meetings that will transform how work colleagues interact – and will boost productivity.

Meeting AI will revolutionise how you conduct meetings

AI is revolutionising how we communicate using collaboration tools.

Call it 'Meeting AI'. It can intelligently connect meetings to our businesses knowledge assets. And it helps to further digitalise company culture, where the transformation of people and processes needs time to adapt to newly-introduced tech tools, as McKinsey has highlighted.

Cisco sees Meeting AI rolling-out through five levels. The process starts with transitioning the interfaces that conference applications customarily use.

Voice-controlled interfaces aren’t new.  In fact, you can already use Webex Assistant to start, end and control your meetings.   

AI_voice_controlled_meetings.jpg

However, a voice-controlled meeting management that’s also interactive to the needs of the workgroup introduces an entirely different meeting experience.

When the technology matures, these ‘virtual assistants’ will acquire knowledge of situational contexts.

This means they will be automatically informed by the subjects that are under discussion, so can help meetings progress more easily: they might put forward analyst reports or relevant financial projections. Or they might remind the group of other, related work taking place within their organisation.

Voice interface leaves teams free to focus on ideas

Using AI for everyday workplace meetings would be impossible to control with keyboards and touchpads; we have to talk to them. Voice interactions free our hands and minds to drive important projects. Teamwork and productivity become unified.

Can AI assistants help teams brainstorm and develop ideas? Isn't this what humans do best? Consumer AI assistants have become so good in the past year or so, and their guidance fits so seamlessly with our lives, that we barely notice them. And it's these algorithms that are now poised to ‘join’ our work teams.

Surveys say that people are excited at the prospect of AI ‘co-workers’.

This shouldn’t be surprising. A workplace collaboration bots’ ability to relieve us of routine tasks, leaving humans to concentrate on doing our jobs better, can only reflect well on us. And that extra scope for fresh thought should lead to economic growth and employment opportunities, reckons Gartner. That’s an outcome that challenges the cliched view of AI as a threat.

Automated decision-support tools do away with chores

AI co-workers can pick up routine meeting tasks which might normally require someone to disappear off and find. By automating information gathering, team members don’t need to tune-out of the meeting dynamic.

AI-assisted meeting-management tools can also do away with the need to keep notes of what’s said and actioned. They keep a digital record of the proceedings – no more hand-scrawled or haphazardly-typed notes – and no one’s contributions are missed.

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Next-generation collaboration tools will go even further. Expect your AI co-worker’s reach to extend beyond the physical/virtual meeting – and into your business’s collective expertise and knowledge assets. 

Bots can retrieve ‘hidden’ business intelligence

AI bots can also be trained to retrieve business intelligence – in real-time and within secure parameters. They can then present these extra resources before the end of the meeting.

AI_meetings_decisions.png

This new generation of AI-enabled collaboration solutions and collaborative meetings brings people closer together and allows more focused interactions between team members – no matter where they work from. It promotes trust, camaraderie, and complementary skills to leverage off each other.

So now that the old meetings are out of the way, let’s get on with the new ones.

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About the Author

Charlotte Sturman

Proud and privileged to work as part of the superhero (and heroine!) EMEAR Content Marketing Team for Cisco Collaboration. Writing content and telling stories about Cisco's amazing portfolio of transformational working technologies. The future of work is here!

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