zoom ai companion

Zoom AI Companion is Here: Worth the Wait? (2023)

Zoom introduced its Zoom AI Companion (previously known as Zoom IQ) today, a generative AI assistant integrated within the Zoom platform.

What’s Zoom AI Companion’s Unique Advantage

Zoom has been the world’s most popular virtual meeting platform since 2020 with hundreds of millions of daily users. But I can’t say that we have been waiting for Zoom’s AI features since Zoom’s Marketplace already offers tools with meeting summaries and other handy features such as Fathom. However, there may be a benefit of native AI features as part of Zoom.

Main Features of Zoom AI Companion

From Zoom’s newsletter: “Preparing for that big meeting. Writing emails. Catching up on a backlog of chat messages. Repetitive tasks like these can take up 62% of your workday, not to mention sap your productivity and hurt your ability to collaborate with your team. But now, you’re empowered to do more using Zoom AI Companion.”

Here’s what you can do with Zoom AI Companion available in the latest version 5.15.12 (22445) released on September 5th, 2023.

  1. Composing Zoom chat responses with suitable tone and length.
  2. Providing recaps of ongoing Zoom meetings for late joiners.
  3. Dividing Zoom cloud recordings into chapters, highlighting vital information, and suggesting follow-up actions.
  4. Offering summaries of missed meetings, detailing key discussions and next steps.
  5. Assisting in email composition based on tone and length (upcoming feature).
  6. Summarizing chat messages for a quick overview (upcoming feature).
  7. Detecting intent to schedule meetings from chat messages and facilitating scheduling (upcoming feature).
  8. Generating ideas on a digital whiteboard and categorizing them (upcoming feature).

Zoom AI Companion’s Future Enhancements

  • Users will interact conversationally with AI Companion, much like with a human assistant.
  • AI Companion will help prepare for meetings, consolidate summaries, and retrieve relevant documents from third-party apps.
  • In-meeting assistance includes filing support tickets and researching real-time information.
  • Post-meeting, AI Companion will offer summaries, highlight action items, and recommend next steps.
  • With Zoom Phone, AI Companion will analyze recorded calls and summarize SMS messages and voicemails.
  • AI Companion can produce new images based on existing Whiteboard content.
  • It will serve as a digital coach, offering real-time feedback on speech rate and balance between talking and listening.

Zoom AI Approach and Data Privacy

  • Zoom emphasizes responsible AI use and doesn’t utilize user content (like audio, video, chat, and screen sharing) for AI model training.
  • Control is provided to administrators and account owners to enable or disable specific AI Companion features.
  • Zoom employs a federated AI approach, integrating its large language model (LLM) with others like Meta Llama 2, OpenAI, and Anthropic for enhanced quality and performance.

How to Get Started with Zoom AI Companion

  • AI Companion is available at no extra charge for users with a paid Zoom plan.
  • Users can explore the support page for activation details or opt for a paid plan to benefit from AI Companion features.
  • Zoom encourages users to stay updated with forthcoming AI Companion features and invites them to attend Zoomtopia 2023 for the latest on Zoom AI.

Implementations of Zoom AI Companion and Other Virtual Meeting AI Tools

Will AI tools such as Zoom AI Companion and similar virtual meeting AI tools help us run better meetings and become more efficient?

It’s not yet clear. Just like any system, there are people who take advantage it and those who abuse it.

On one hand, I can see hosts and meeting schedulers learning to be more efficient and smart about who to invite, how long meetings will and should run (likely shorter), and being clear about the next steps before letting everyone go. With Zoom AI Companion, hosts can review the Next Steps and share them with attendees even if she didn’t have time to conclude the meeting (although I highly recommend that they do!).

On the other hand, does Zoom AI Companion train hosts to skip steps because she thinks AI will simply capture the details and automatically share them with attendees without reviewing the accuracy? It’s possible. Hosts/Project Managers are quite busy, I can see the possibility of automatically sharing the meeting details and then having to come back to correct them and inform the team regardless. AI simply isn’t 100 or 99% accurate at interpreting transcripts, needly to say that what’s being said in meetings isn’t always clear either.

Another aspect is about being on time. As a project manager in my previous career running hundreds of meetings, tardiness was a big issue. There are always people who are late to meetings (and they are often the same people). Are there going to be more attendees (with more excuses) to delay or avoid their attendance at important meetings? It’s very possible. I’m curious to see how Zoom AI Companion shifts people’s behavior for better or for worse.

Conclusion: Zoom AI Companion – Worth the Wait?

Yes and no. It’s a little early to tell if people will like it, and how it compares to other existing AI tools from Zoom’s Marketplace.

Is it worth trying as a host and meeting attendee? Yes, for sure. You have to experiment with any AI tool a few times to make an informed decision. Remember that Zoom AI Companion will continue to push out future enhancements, so I’ll sure keep an eye on them.

What are your favorite AI tools for virtual meetings and remote work? Please let me know in the comments below.

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