Online events are becoming more and more common. They have many benefits. For one, businesses spend a lot of time and money organising and travelling to meet colleagues and clients at events or for meetings. Online events and meetings enable all involved to save this time and money, and to change their habits to adapt to the climate emergency demands which governments are beginning to put in place. Similar reasons are being cited by academics for holding their events online. Of course, what this allows is greater access to these events. With money only needed to pay for entry, as opposed to travel and, potentially, accommodation too, more businesses and students can attend events. With the increased demand for video-conferencing software, other supplementary technologies have advanced and become integral to the experience. One of these is live captions. What are ‘live captions’ and why should all online events have them?
Live captions offer real-time transcriptions of audio for video conferences or streaming platforms. With speech-to-text transcription, initial thoughts for who this technology will help tends toward differently abled people who have hearing impairment. The range of hearing impairment is total loss to partial. As such, people have different needs. Captions enable those of different ability to access content. Closed captions for pre-recorded media – everything from training videos to advertising campaigns – are already well-used for this exact reason. They want to cater to and involve as wide of a variety of people as possible. They don’t want to exclude potential customers, for obvious reasons. Online events should follow suit and embrace live captions.
Zoom calls are one place this technology can be integrated. It will be make the process easier to access for differently abled people, whether they are used for business meetings, conferences, or training, or for more personal reasons like talking to parents, partners, or friends.
Captioning for live events can also aid note taking, especially with software by, for instance, Verbit. Often, the image captions bring to mind are more like subtitles. While this isn’t wrong, per se – as captioning services like this do exist – there is another version. In essence, in Verbit’s case, the audio is logged. The transcription is a side panel with text and time stamps. It is not a series of captions which appear and disappear and can only be recovered and reread by rewinding the video or audio. The log can be uploaded to a variety of cloud-based storage. This enables the customer to revisit the transcription much easier than otherwise could be the case.
This ability to revisit the transcription can be an essential function for why a busines might implement speech-to-text service. If the technology were used for a video call to train sales people, for instance, then being able to go back and reread what seniors and supervisors said could aid development and supplement decision-making processes. Business meeting minutes might be another example of why being able to revisit the log would be of great use.
Again, what this caters to, in general, is the desire for another means of improving engagement with the content. The note taking being fulfilled by an AI-based service enables those involved to focus entirely on what is being said, rather than trying to internalise it and translate it into notes. Note taking by hand can be a distraction. AI will do it faster than a hand and without the hassle of learning shorthand. It will aid the participation.
All businesses want their content, of whatever form or topic, to be engaged with. Live captions are another means to that end. The improve accessibility and engagement.