Market Overview

Meetings Are Expensive, But Artificial Intelligence Might Offer Cheaper Solutions

Meetings Are Expensive, But Artificial Intelligence Might Offer Cheaper Solutions

A research study conducted by Bain & Company revealed that an average company could conveniently spend 15% of its collective time in meetings. An HBR study showed that C-level executives could spend as much as 300,000 hours per year prepping for meetings, commuting to meetings, or attending meetings. Meetings are important to business communications, but an underlying thread in the business environment is that they are oftentimes a necessary evil that should be cut to a bare minimum.

Irrespective of whether you conduct your meetings the old-fashioned way in person or electronically over digital media, you’ll observe that the art of scheduling meetings is a common problem for knowledge workers and often causes a drain on productivity.

This piece provides insight into how Artificial Intelligence is coming to the rescue to help make meetings less of a hassle.

Source: HBR

The Statement of the Problem

The first problem associated with meetings is that there is no singular tool that simplifies that scheduling process. Counterparties in a meeting will first go through a back and forth via email or chat to agree on meeting times before using their scheduling tool to set up the meeting.

In addition to a simplified scheduling process, users want a system that intelligently prevents double booking events in the same time slot. Lastly, users want a solution that analyzes how their time is spent so that they can intelligently make more productive use of their time.

Granted, some tools prioritize a simple interface for scheduling meetings; you may find another tool that does a decent job at preventing double-booking of events; and a few tools have AI capabilities to generate reports. However, nobody wants to use three different scheduling apps just to set up a meeting.

In a typical one-hour meeting, about 10 minutes will be spent on chit-chat, getting all counterparties on the table, and confirming that someone is taking notes. By the time you factor in setup and glitches from audio-visual equipment, a great deal of the hour won’t have delivered productive value to the company.

Chart of Time a Business Wastes in a Meeting

Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Scheduling

Calendar is leveraging artificial intelligence to help organizations distill more productive value from their meetings. Calendar is positioned as a foundational tool for smart time management personally and at work. Calendar is already being called the ultimate productivity tool because it drastically cuts down the time you spend scheduling meetings so that you can focus on your core competencies.

For instance, the smart scheduling and smart suggestion features of Calendar eliminates the hassles that come with scheduling meetings by locating the free times in you day and providing suggestions on how best to leverage them. The AI engine that powers Calendar is also designed to become smarter the more you use it; hence, it eventually becomes intuitive to develop a uniquely tailored experience for you around your frequent meetings, locations, participants, and durations with one-click schedules, time-zone recognition, and multi-person scheduling among others.

Calendar is designed to evolve as your needs change; hence, it delivers seamless integration with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) platforms to deliver a unified calendar view across multiple devices and platforms.

Last year, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) revealed a new feature as part of its Alexa for Business suite of products called Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant. The new feature allows people to schedule one-on-one meetings and to transition between work and personal calendars using voice controls. A statement from Muthu Somasundaram who works in Product Marketing at AWS notes that “Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant expands on Alexa’s calendar management capabilities that currently include browsing the calendar, creating new events, and canceling appointments.”

Amazon’s foray into smart scheduling highlights the role that AI can play in providing tools and resources for organizations to automate processes, increase the efficiency of their systems, and boost the productivity of their workers.

AI when deployed in scheduling can unlock more productivity by finding time the schedules of participants in a meeting, manage the responses of attendees, and provide valuable reports for planning for productive meetings.

The true cost of scheduling to business

According to Doodle's 2019 State of Meetings report, the cost of poorly organized meetings in 2019 will reach $399 billion in the U.S. and $58 billion in the U.K.

According to an infographic from Atlassian, the average person spends 31 hours attending meetings every month; for context, that means the average person will have 30-minute meetings about 62 times every month.

If your management team has 8 people who receive an annual salary of $100,000 per person and each one of them spends 15 hours per week attending meetings, your annual cost on the meetings alone will be more than $200,000.

AI-powered tools such as Calendar and Alexa for business will birth a new era is smart meeting scheduling and make it easier for teams and businesses to reduce time wastage and to unlock more productivity.

Image sourced from Pixabay

Posted-In: Alexa Amazon artificial intelligence AWSNews Markets Tech General


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