'Time is money.' Though coined in 1748 the old adage is still a firmly anchored principle in today's business circles. Time efficiency and increasingly resource efficiency are some of the many pressures facing businesses operating in Europe today, often forced to do more with limited resources.
Lack of an agenda, digression and a failure to follow up with outcomes are commonplace in today's office meetings but at the same time such outcomes are essential to achieving goals and objectives. Workers estimate that a quarter of all time spent in meetings is wasted. With the average office worker spending 16 hours each week in meetings, it is vital that organisations, particularly SMEs, have the adequate tools to exploit the knowledge and decisions generated in meetings.
Tackling this conundrum brought together researchers from Spain, Switzerland, the UK and Germany under the collaborative DOCUMEET project. The team aim to design an integrated platform that will allow organisations to better structure and manage their meetings and to easily document, disseminate, search and implement the conclusions of each meeting.
The researchers began by identifying the hurdles SMEs face. A common response was the lack of an organized structure to support recording meetings. Respondents pointed out that recording meeting minutes is expensive in terms of human resources and minutes are rarely distributed properly or integrated into the company's knowledge base. This means key ideas are lost, decisions fail to be followed up and meetings have to be repeated.
Although various products in the market support transcription or meeting management, comprehensive, reliable and affordable solutions providing automatic meeting documentation are yet to be exploited by the majority of SMEs.Toward this goal, the DOCUMEET platform will automatically record, transcribe, summarise and document meetings using a dedicated recording unit. Integrated into the platform is advanced automatic speech recognition, speaker adaptation and a summarization paradigm.
While the potential market for DOCUMEET includes any organisation that holds meetings, the product will initially be targeted to meeting room providers and business centres.
The project partners hope SMEs across Europe and particularly those operating within markets represented by the consortium will not only be able to integrate DOCUMEET in their meeting rooms and into their service offering but also to generate profits worth over EUR 5 million to the consortium after 5 years.
DOCUMEET is a collaborative European project funded by the European Commission to the tune of EUR 1 147 925, and managed by the Research Executive Agency, under the Research for the Benefit of SMEs of the Seventh Framework Programme.
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