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When ChatGPT Joins the Meeting

Like you probably, I have no desire to revisit the depths of the pandemic-except to use that time as a marker that can help us see how much progress communications tools have been making since then.

When everyone went home to work remotely, and was mostly unprepared for the task, the first major innovation in videoconferencing was background blur. And at the time, it really was a big and important innovation that helped people feel more comfortable working from a home that they probably had not set up to be broadcast on camera to their co-workers and clients all day long.

The world has changed a lot since the days of the Texas cat lawyer and similar amusing cultural artifacts of the feature experimentation that went on during the pandemic. And it looks like we're on the cusp of even bigger changes in the world of online meetings, thanks to AI and large language models (LLMs).

Microsoft last week announced new features for its Teams Premium tier that will be powered by LLM technology from OpenAI, thanks to the vendor''s multi-billion-dollar partnership with the company behind the phenomenon that is ChatGPT. The marquee feature for the new release is an intelligent recap capability, which promises to provide, "automatically generated meeting notes, recommended tasks, and personalized highlights to help you get the information most important to you, even if you miss the meeting," according to a blog from Nicole Herskowitz, VP, Microsoft Teams.

Herskowitz will deliver the opening keynote at Enterprise Connect 2023 on Tuesday, March 28, and while I have no advance knowledge of what she plans to present, the timing couldn't be better for a deep dive on what's new with this dominant collaboration platform.

Transcripts for recorded meetings have become ubiquitous, and this capability was a first step on the road to helping people be more productive and use the information generated in meetings more efficiently. Just being able to scroll through or search a meeting transcript makes a huge difference, whether you're looking to confirm something from a meeting you attended, or want to know what happened in a meeting you missed.

Obviously, the more intelligence you can apply to the contents of a meeting, the more effectively you can use the information generated there. Presumably the models will improve with every meeting they handle. Furthermore, sophisticated AI promises to change how people hold meetings-you can imagine that, once the technology proves out, the AI will essentially be a passive participant in the meeting, and the humans on hand will call out to the AI to note specific items or summarize things in a particular way.

I expect that the major platform vendors will all have offerings in this space to compete with Teams' intelligent recap, which means that this capability is likely to become something everyone expects as a part of the meetings they attend-and those they skip. Users will have opinions about which platform does a better job of summarizing meetings, and so IT decision-makers will find themselves factoring this into their planning for how they deploy these tools.

And in fact we're already seeing the competition heat up around AI and LLMs, with news this week that Google is testing a ChatGPT competitor called Bard. And though, again, I don't have advance knowledge of what he'll say, we have an incredibly timely keynote scheduled at Enterprise Connect, as Behshad Behzadi, VP of engineering, conversational AI at Google Cloud will take to the main stage on Wednesday, March 29.

In addition to talks by Herskowitz and Behzadi, Enterprise Connect 2023 has keynotes from the big platform vendors that are in the hunt in the area of hybrid work: Cisco, Zoom, RingCentral, and AWS. It's your opportunity to see an incredible series of presentations on where the most influential vendors are driving the industry in key areas such as this. I hope you can join us in Orlando for Enterprise Connect 2023!