Case Study

A Benefit to Everyone in the Room: How a Global Media Company Uses Otter for Accessibility & Productivity Across its 20,000 Employees

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DE&I has been an important corporate initiative for several years now. But accessibility has been on the fringes of this pursuit, not necessarily getting the attention it deserves— even when, according to a study by the center for Talent Innovation, 30% of working professionals have a disability and 62% of those disabilities are invisible. While the rapid increase in remote work has largely been seen as a benefit, the corresponding growth in video conferencing often presents challenges for those with certain disabilities, including those who are hard of hearing. study by the Center for Talent Innovation

You don’t know who’s talking, especially if they don’t have their camera on.

explains a senior manager at the company who is deaf with a cochlear implant. “You’re trying to read the closed captions, but they go very fast —or you’re trying to take notes at the same time. It’s very hard to multitask for people who have a hearing disability because it requires a lot more energy to focus and listen on virtual calls.

”That’s why, when the senior manager started at the company last year, he asked about bringing Otter on as a company-wide accessibility solution. What they found was that Otter was not only able to increase accessibility for those with disabilities, but that it also accelerated productivity across the organization.

Building a Use Case for Otter ata Global Company

Before Otter was adopted as a company-wide accessibility solution, company execs looking at the request to bring Otter to the company discovered that many employees were already relying on the technology for a variety of reasons.

Many of the company’s journalists were already using Otter on their own to record interviews. That way, they could go back and listen to their interviews, and also use it for notetaking as well. The senior manager, meanwhile, used Otter in almost every type of meeting and conversation he had at work for accessibility purposes. “I can always go back and understand what people were saying. I can highlight places so I know where to go back to, instead of having to go through the whole transcript 10 times.” As a result, he describes,

It helps me to keep myself accountable. I can’t hear well so I learn better by reading. It’s been a lifesaver in that sense.

Because of this, it was clear that Otter could have a big impact on a diverse number of people at the company. “Once I gave [company execs] the use case and showed them how it’s beneficial to all of us,” he describes, “they were more than happy to help pay for the Enterprise license.”

Although the team did explore other options before implementing Otter, the speed and accuracy of Otter’s AI-powered transcriptions were driving factors in its adoption. “My boss put the different companies open in multiple windows and we started talking. We quickly saw that Otter was the most accurate in transcribing what we were saying.” This accuracy was particularly important for the team. “We don’t have time for a tool to figure itself out or wait to the end of the call to have a better understanding,” the senior manager explains.

Supporting the Diverse Needs of Multiple Teams

“One of the major driving factors that helped us make the case [for Otter] is that this is absolutely necessary—not just for accessibility, but also because of the nature of the work we do at the [media company].”

In particular, the team emphasizes Otter’s searchability, as reporters can use Otter’s centralized notes to easily search through all of their existing transcripts in one place. Otter also gives reporters a greater sense of confidence because it records the audio and provides the transcript.

We know we captured notes accurately.

We know they’re up-to-date and accurate. We don’t have to question ourselves, because we know what was said and we have a record of it,” he explains.

“Even people who don’t have hearing disabilities have brought up, ‘How does anyone keep track of what 10-12 people are saying on a call?’,” he continues. “A lot of people tend to forget what they’re supposed to be doing, especially if we don’t meet every week. They need to know what they need to come back with. The people who I introduce to Otter use that because they don’t want to forget what they said.”

Expanding Beyond Accessibility

Although Otter was initially introduced to the company as an accessibility solution, many are now appreciating Otter’s ability to help everyone on the team to achieve more.

“When the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) passed, companies had to build wheelchair ramps, with the purpose of enabling people in wheelchairs to enter,” the senior manager describes. “But over time, [the ramps] became helpful to people carrying heavy stuff or who have other physical disabilities. It’s that same kind of concept with Otter. Even if people don’t have hearing loss,

Otter helps them to be better at their job in other ways. They can be better team players and hold each other accountable.

In fact, the company encourages other organizations to look beyond Otter’s potential as an accessibility solution. “Companies think, ‘Oh, it’s just 1-2 people who need accommodations.’ They don’t see how it benefits everybody else in the room as well.”

To learn more about how Otter helps make company meetings more accessible schedule a demo today.

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Joshua Hori
Assistive Technology Analyst

We have a lot of notetaking requests, and we were proactively looking for ways to improve it since it was a volunteer based program.

Tim Van Norman
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We have a whole mix of ages and abilities, technologically.

Justin Lackey
Chief Financial and Revenue Officer

We wanted to find if we could better equip our current folks that were here today….we wanted to find if we could make our folks today more productive, more efficient, more effective.

Supporting the Diverse Needs of Multiple Teams

It helps me to keep myself accountable. I can’t hear well so I learn better by reading. It’s been a lifesaver in that sense.