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As the landscape of automatic recording and transcription matures, are you using the platform that best suits your use case?

Now that everyone is getting familiar with AI note taking and transcription, it’s worth taking a look at the features offered by more apps than just the native ones. Just a few months ago, it probably seemed like choosing the best notetaker app was more like deciding which video and voice calling software you wanted to use; after all, Teams had its own recording and transcription platform (Stream) and Zoom had its own—if you like one more than the other, that’s how you could make the decision. Third-party apps in this space, however, offer some really nice interfaces and functionality that, while not integrated with your chat and conferencing software, can really give you an edge in organization, ease of use; the licensed versions of these products also provide process-specific knowledge about your meetings. Today, we’ll revisit the AI note taker and look at a couple that are well worth getting out of the native solutions for.

Native Note Taking in Zoom and Teams

It seems that most everyone is using Zoom and Teams for their online meetings and calls. Virtually everyone can use the two without any issue, and because they’re so widely adopted, it’s really helpful to not have to negotiate a platform when setting external meetings with vendors and partners. It would be really simple to just stay in Teams for everything since it’s very well integrated with your Outlook calendar. Of course, Zoom is too if you use it that way. I prefer to limit the amount of calendar access that apps have, just to make sure that my workflows are straightforward and unchanging. Still, when I create a Zoom meeting, Outlook pops up to take care of the meeting invites.

The recording/note taking in Zoom is good, but only if you’re a licensed (paid) user using the Smart Recording feature. Without a license, you’ll be limited to local recording, which makes it difficult to share the files when finished. Of course, you can just pop the videos in a SharePoint or OneDrive folder to share them internally, but they won’t have transcriptions readily available. Smart Recording, on the other hand, lets you go to your Cloud Recordings directly in the app, where you can simply see the transcript of the text along with the video. Here you can also find the coaching metrics, which give you insights into some conversation dynamics like talk-listen ratio and filler words.

Teams has a great workflow for saved recordings that takes them natively into your Stream app, using either your OneDrive or SharePoint storage. Once the recording is saved, you can go into Stream (a part of 365) and automatically generate the transcript to go with the video. This makes it possible to search for various things that were talked about in a call and pull them up immediately. Another cool feature is editing the transcript, which helps those that you share with find essential information as well. If a person’s name or a product name keeps being spelled wrong, you could fix it to help others follow along and find the information that they need in the video.

Copilot, if you add it to your 365 subscription takes over the recording and transcription functions in Teams (in real time). This means that you can start the transcription (if a licensed user owns the meeting) and talk to Copilot about what has happened so far in the meeting. When you’re done with the meeting, Copilot gives the video to Stream to work with the transcript the same way you do with any other meeting recording in Stream.

Why Move to Third-Party Note Taking Apps?

Third-party apps are less integrated with your meeting software, but typically provide more robust features. Two of the most functional ones are Fathom and


We’ve written about Fathom before, and they’re constantly adding new features to both their free and team offerings. Their desktop application is probably the easiest one to use, since it pops up before your scheduled meetings and launches whatever call platform you are using. Once you ask it to start the meeting, then it will record the videos and make them available on their website, Along with great transcription comes a good, AI-generated summary of the video, as well as helpful functions like a list of questions that come up in the meeting.

That’s where the free version of Fathom is limited, but the paid features are very helpful ways of working with videos and transcripts. Where the free version had one summary that is chronological, the paid version offers different models for summary, including Sales, Customer Success, Project Updates, and other ways of viewing the content in your meeting. These models give you better understandings of what actually happened in the meeting because they are specifically trained to get a specific sense of what the point of the meeting was. Fathom can help you sell better, prioritize, and plan projects with this functionality. Similarly, the subscription gives you access to “Extract Action Items from Transcript,” meaning that you never miss a requirement that might have sneaked past you while you got a text during the meeting, or the phone was ringing.

Similarly to Fathom, is a multiplatform AI assistant that works to transcribe your meetings. Its free version has many handy features for working the transcription and audio of a meeting or call. When you share the meeting with colleagues afterword, they get an AI-generated overview, notes in bullet-point, an outline that’s chapterized, and action items along with the full audio recording and transcript. This makes it very easy to catch up on a meeting that you weren’t at, and lets you plainly see what relevance the meeting may have had for your role, even in your absence. handles the meeting recording slightly differently than Fathom, since can be automatically evoked for every meeting (an option that you select when you first sign up) or can be invited to the meeting by including the email address of Fred, the notetaker, by including its email address. Once invited, Fred will sit in the waiting room, but fair warning—Fred is usually two minutes early. It’s strangely helpful to have Fred join the meeting since he usually is the first one there, setting off the “Someone started the meeting” notification in Teams, for example. He also sends an email about an hour before the meeting to all recipients, letting them know that there will be a recording on

There is far more to in their paid tiers, just like Fathom. They have different use cases that span virtually every business process and offer a ton of integrations with your company’s other software solutions. You can use it for hiring, for instance, to automatically fill out any application tracking system that you might use. Just like in the free version, it summarizes and gives soundbites of relevant parts of the interview, so a second interview doesn’t need to be repetitive or cover the same ground when it’s conducted by a hiring manager. Of course, this is just one example; whatever business process is your focus this quarter could be enhanced and streamlined by using

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the features offered by third-party notetakers are just more robust than what’s offered by the native notetakers. There aren’t buttons for them in the meetings, but they each have their own notetaker process that joins the meeting and stays out of the way. There’s still something of a privacy concern attached to any AI notetaker, since you’re handing over the content to a third party that will be able to use your meeting data for developing their product. This risk should be understood but is likely not a dealbreaker for most businesses.

In return for that risk, these apps deliver more specialized features that go deeper and are less generalized than the native notetakers. Of course, to get the most functionality out of them, you’ll need to subscribe, but it seems that if they deliver even a little more specialized knowledge on sales or HR processes, they probably free up your team’s time and efforts in a way that generates value for your business.

-Written by Derek Jeppsen on Behalf of Sean Goss and Crown Computers Team