Whether you are in government department, a corporate or a volunteer organization such as Toastmasters, meetings are a common place. And when meetings happen, it is always advisable to have minutes of meeting published for later reference (unless those are unproductive meetings) and for those who could not attend meeting. On an average, a 1 hour meeting requires around 30 minutes before the meeting for preparing agenda/invitations and 1 hour after the meeting for preparing minutes of meeting/finalization of Minutes/tracking Action items. There are tools (Example Meeting Sense software) to record conversation during the meeting but there is no solution (Xemi computers solution looks close) that may replace the person who needs to prepare minutes of meeting – the secretary, we will call Ms. Meet X.
The proposal – Birth of Ms Meet X
Integrate audio/visual recording device, capture the moments as secretary (or the person who captures minutes of meeting) would do and then the software should summarize the notes to prepare minutes of meeting. Meeting chairperson should be able to choose the template that is required for the current meeting. The software should send the minutes of meeting to Meeting Chairperson who would review/approve/modify the Minutes before final dissemination to other participants/stakeholders of the meeting.
How Ms Meet X will present herself?
At the start of meeting
- Meeting room may have audio and video recording devices. These devices are smart enough to point to who is speaking (video con camera moves to the person who is speaking and zooms on his face). There is software to identify a person from his face and eyes (example Veriface software). There is also software to identify a person by his voice (refer Speaker Recognition on Wikipedia and software from Recognition Technologies).
- It may be very helpful if meeting participants introduce themselves to each other and the software for accurate identification of person – “Hi Ms Meet X, I am Albert DeCosta, Head of Engineering Department” (fictitious name and position).
- Meeting chairperson should have already provided the minutes of meeting template to the device so it knows what all needs to be captured or at least how it should be presented.
In the meeting
- The device may capture the whole chronology of events, who said what and who showed what, and feed everything to software behind the device. Software will continue to record and segregate information based on who all are meeting participants, action items, which agenda is being discussed, diagrams or pictures associated with any agenda item etc. It can continue to make short summary of the meeting while meeting is in progress.
- Optionally, the device may be attached to a projector and the device may continue to show what is being captured in easy to understand manner for meeting participants (refer to Meeting Sense software for nice presentation). Meeting participant may request to correct anything while in the meeting if they notice that the device has captured something wrong.
- Meeting moderator may summarize after discussing an agenda item for the benefit of all meeting participants including Ms Meet X.
After the meeting
- After the meeting is over, the device may send Minutes of meeting to Meeting Chairperson who would review the information and modify if any information is incorrect.
- Chairperson may also replace screenshots of the diagrams taken during meeting with the first hand diagrams to be disseminated (may use MS Visio diagram instead of jpg/png/tiff format).
- The chairperson may then send minutes of meeting to meeting participants and other stakeholders. Alternatively, the chairperson may approve this meeting and authorize the device to send the minutes of meeting or upload the minutes to shared drive/sharepoint location/intranet as per the requirement.
Mostly corporate customers who would be willing to shell out the costly audio/video equipment along with the software.
Pros and Cons of Ms Meet X
- It may reduce the time taken to prepare minutes of meeting from average 30 minutes to may be 10 minutes. This 10 minutes is also for the Chairperson to review/modify/approve the minutes of meeting. This time may substantially reduce as the device improves over the time.
- When confidentiality is of utmost importance, only required stakeholders may attend that meeting.
- It frees up the effort of the person who would have concentrated on taking minutes of meeting and enables him/her to participate in the meeting. This may be a direct saving 1 ph for 1 hour meeting and if a company has 5 meeting rooms, booked for at least 3 hours for meeting each day then that company save 75 person hour effort per week (5 rooms * 3 hours * 5 work days). This number is really for a very small company and larger companies can save a lot more.
- Chances of any omission in minutes of meeting is very less.
- Minutes of meeting will be unbiased just as it should be.
- It may take a while for software to mature and present results that a human secretary or person who would have prepared the minutes of meeting would do. Speech recognition (words being said) and face recognition may not be accurate to begin with.
- All meeting templates may not be compatible to the device.
- Meeting participants may freely discuss negative points (problems) while this device is in operation because the device may also capture the information that is being quoted as “Off the record”. However, if we can add the feature to this device to not record if a person quotes “Off the record” then that may reduce that fear of meeting participants.
- The device may support only those languages that are supported by voice to text conversion tools/software.
Will you start this venture? If yes, go ahead and share your story. If no then stay tuned for next venture idea.