If your company requires you to be on conference calls, then the endless monotony of their nature is all too common to you. As your co-workers yammer on and on and on about who knows what, it’s easy to zone out or even fall asleep. Of course, this is always the moment when you’re addressed.
Now, one man out there who has apparently been part of one too many boring conference calls may have a solution.
As part of a learning “hack” week put on by his company, data analytics firm Splunk, savvy conference call veteran Josh Newlan combined an open source speech recognition program with an IBM transcription server. The result is his software baby, “Say What,” which, when your name is said during the meeting, immediately sends you the 30 seconds of transcript that appeared before it was uttered. You have 15 seconds to react, after which a recording of your voice plays, explaining that the delay in your answer was due to the fact that your microphone was muted.
Newlan came up with the solution, which he admits isn’t fully accurate (and certainly isn’t for sale — yet), as a result of his position’s requirements to sit in on calls from around the world, some of which occur at times during which everyone around him is either asleep or just about to retire for the evening.
If perfected, this could be the remote office drone’s dream program. Now if Newlan could devise something similar for in-person conferences, he could be a millionaire. Just don’t expect him to pay that much attention in his personal accounting meetings.