Microsoft has launched a new transcription feature for its online collaboration platform Teams that allows users to devote their entire attention to meetings.
The utility of the feature is two-fold, providing near real-time captions to ensure all participants can follow the thread of conversation, and creating a full transcript that can be accessed after the Microsoft Teams meeting has ended.
The AI-powered feature uses a combination of voice analysis, meeting invitations, participant names and attachments to discern which attendees are speaking and when.
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“Delivering live transcription with high accuracy, minimal latency and cost efficiency at enterprise scale has been one of the toughest challenges in the industry,” said Shalendra Chhabra, who heads up an initiative to bring greater intelligence to Microsoft Teams.
“Over the last two years, we’ve made significant strides in solving this problem and have dramatically improved our models for accuracy using meeting context and real-time and cutting edge AI.”
Microsoft Teams update
The ability to consult a full meeting transcript will be celebrated by many Teams users, especially those tasked with taking meeting minutes or noting down actions. With Teams doing all the heavy lifting where notetaking is concerned, users are free to engage more directly in sessions.
The feature also provides an important resource for members of the hard-of-hearing community, who have faced an uphill struggle with the rise of video collaboration during the pandemic.
The main catch, however, is that the new transcription feature isn’t open to all users and nor is it available across all platforms.
The feature can be accessed via the Teams desktop app or web client, but is not currently available to users of the mobile app. Further, the feature is not currently compatible with the Teams Meet Now feature, although Microsoft has suggested support will arrive “soon”.
Access to transcription will also be determined by the user’s Teams license. Geared primarily towards business customers, the feature is only available via Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium plans - and even then, only in English language.
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