Read, the app that allows meeting organizers to read the virtual room and see how engaged (or not) participants are, is now one of Zoom’s essential apps. This means that Zoom customers, Zoom One Pro Business and Business Plus users have free access to Read’s premium features, such as real-time and advanced meeting statistics, for 12 months. The app is also compatible with other video conferencing platforms such as Google Meet, Microsoft Team, and Webex.
Read is also releasing its Meeting Summary feature, which combines its sentiment analysis tools with OpenAI’s GPT language models to produce meeting summaries annotated with sentiment and engagement scores. Other new features include Meeting Playback, which shows when engagement increased or decreased, Read Workspace for organizations to set meeting benchmarks, and Augmented Reality, which displays engagement and talk time in each participant’s window.
Launched in 2021 by the team behind location analytics start-up Placed – former CEO of Foursquare David Shim, Rob Williams and Elliot Waldron – Read is backed with $10 million in seed funding from investors such as Madrona Venture Group and PSL Ventures.
Read uses a combination of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and natural language processing to gauge participant engagement and sentiment. Some of the things it tracks include whether a small number of people dominate the conversation, leave others unheard, or if people seem bored.
Read’s engagement and sentiment analysis aims to create better meetings (shorter ones, too), but it’s understandable that some people are concerned about tracking their responses. Shim told businessupdates.org that Read protects user privacy and control by allowing participants to join meetings that measure audio and voice through a recording notification. They can decline to be recorded or, if they change their mind mid-meeting, type “opt-out” into the chat to delete meeting details.
An example of how organizations have used Read to improve their virtual meetings is a technology company with 400 employees who used Read Recommendation to reduce 8 hours of meetings per month for each employee.
Shim said Read Meeting Summaries’ pilot clients are venture capitalists, whose days are usually filled with pitches, updates and board meetings. They use Read has a virtual assistant to create summaries of all meetings and follow-up items. Other Read users are merchants who use the app to see what appeals to their customers and follow up on those points.