How an Unproductive Meeting Inspired an App Designed to End Unproductive Meetings
January 19, 2016 • Blog Post • By Todd Wasserman, HPE Matter Contributor
IN THIS ARTICLE
- A new app called Wrappup employs smart voice recording software to let users capture and organize meeting information
- Algorithms identify important measures of efficiency, like which meetings are closing on actions and which topics are taking too much time
Angelhack Dubai 2015 winner Rami Salman on the creation of Wrappup
Rami Salman was sitting in a meeting when he had an epiphany about productivity. “I was looking around the room and there’s a moment in every meeting where everyone realizes that this is an important point,” says Salman. “Like clockwork, everyone starts diving into their notebooks and scribbling down different things.”
Rami realized that while everyone was trying their best to record the point being made, some lacked a clear understanding of it. Moreover, while they were scribbling, their attention was focused away from listening. Rami had an odd realization, “This is probably what ancient Egyptian scribes must have been doing,” he said. “And we’re doing it the same way in 2015.”
That insight led to the creation of Wrappup, a productivity tool that employs smart voice recording to let users capture and organize meeting information. Since Wrappup allows a one-hour meeting to be condensed into a few minutes, Rami compares the technology to an ESPN highlight reel for business meetings.
How it works
Wrappup lets you prepare for a meeting by building an agenda and a list of targeted decisions that you can share with other meeting participants. During the meeting, users record the discussion, organize the recording by the topic being discussed and capture important moments as voice highlights. These highlights, tagged as actions or decisions, are then shared with participants as interactive minutes of meeting ready for playback.
After the meeting, Wrappup uses technology to build what they call “meeting memory.” Participants can search for keywords across meetings and the app will play back the exact moments where those words were spoken. Using a “voice-print” algorithm, Wrappup also understands who is speaking, forever answering the question, “Do you remember what Stan said?”
Using all the data, Wrappup builds metrics to let you determine how efficient the meeting was and give you tools to make future meetings even more productive. Their algorithms identify important measures of efficiency, like which meetings are closing on actions and which topics might be taking too much meeting time. On an individual level, it can help identify if certain participants regularly go off topic or, on the contrary, if when they speak they lead to more actions.
This is not merely a note-taking tool – it uses Big Data analytics tools like HPE Haven OnDemand for enabling search, concept extraction (i.e., pulling out keywords for further processing) and sentiment analysis. The information recorded in Wrappup is instantly searchable; if you want to search for all references to “marketing,” Wrappup will display meetings matching those results. Using HPE’s related concepts service, it can even suggest relevant news articles on the subjects you discuss. Mixed with Wrappup’s Speaker Recognition, HPE’s sentiment analysis shows you how excited participants are when talking about a specific topic. “We add layers of context and meaning to recordings,” Rami says.
Journey to development
Like many startups, Wrappup began in a single weekend. In this case, the impetus was the Angelhack Dubai hackathon in May 2015. Ayush Chordia and Rishav Jalan, Rami’s technical co-founders, created what’s known as a minimum viable product during the hackathon. “I came in with this basic concept of what I wanted to do and what Ayush and Rishav built in 24 hours was something I could use the next day,” he says.
Ayush, a 22-year-old cloud and machine learning enthusiast, saw the potential to do more with voice recording. In another hackathon style sprint, he developed a custom-built speaker recognition algorithm and matched it with speech to text to unleash the power of modern tech. Rishav, a 21-year-old student, worked day and night outside of classes to perfect the countless iterations of the mobile app.
Angelhack’s motto is “thoughts become things” and in this case, that was exactly what happened—the Wrappup team won the top prize at the hackathon.
Rami, who was working as a consultant at Bain & Company, took the app to a few meetings to test its viability and then entered into full-scale development. That meant many nights and weekends working with the team to build out the next set of product features, Rami says. “As a consultant, I’m used to no sleep, so when we had the hackathon, it was a given that there was no sleep and after the hackathon we just kept building up the product.” Rami then took a leave from Bain in August, and also happened to be getting married that month. “It was a rather intense period, but my wife is an entrepreneur as well so she understood.”
2016 and beyond
For Rami, it’s a question of making sure all the details are right. “For me, the thing that keeps me up at night is, ‘Am I sure that we have all the details in order? We have a talented team, but are we missing pieces? We have great traction, but is it the right customer?’”
Rami says to be an entrepreneur, you have to be a little overconfident. With that in mind, he puts little stock into such worries. He believes that Wrappup is a habit-changing product that will be a boon to productivity and even a godsend to other industries such as law, education and journalism.
To make that happen, Rami, Ayush and Rishav are working hard on deploying all the different features. Looking ahead to the upcoming year, Rami hopes to confirm a revenue model (detailed pricing hasn’t been set) and add “a few more logos” or major brands to the private beta testing program. On the tech side, he hopes to build out a SaaS platform that lets enterprises and the consumer markets tap in.
If the idea takes hold, we might have Rami to thank for saving us all wasted time in boring meetings.
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