Startup Transforms Meeting Notes With Time-Saving Features

Sembly founders apply their experience in business process-management products to deliver meeting takeaways powered by AI, harnessing NVIDIA NeMo.
by Scott Martin

Gil Makleff and Artem Koren are developing AI for meeting transcripts, creating time-savers like shareable highlights of the text that is often TL;DR (too long; didn’t read).

The Sembly founders conceived the idea after years of working in enterprise operational consulting at UMT Consulting Group, which was acquired by Ernst & Young.

“We had an intuition that if AI were applied to those operational conversations and able to make sense of them, the value gains to enterprises could be enormous,” said Koren, chief product officer at Sembly.

Sembly goes far beyond basic transcription, allowing people to skip meetings and receive speaker highlights and key action items for follow-ups.

The New York startup uses proprietary AI models to transcribe and analyze meetings, transforming them into actionable insights. It aims to supercharge teams who want to focus on delivering results rather than spending time compiling notes.

Sembly’s GPU-fueled automatic speech recognition AI can be used with popular video call services such as Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. In a few clicks on the Sembly site, it can be synced to Outlook or Google calendars or used for calls in progress via e-mail, web app, or the Sembly mobile app.

The service delivers market-leading transcript accuracy and AI-driven analytics, including highlights to pinpoint important discussion topics. It also allows users to zero in on meeting speakers and easily share clips of individual passages with team members, enhancing collaboration.

Sembly, founded in 2019, is a member of the NVIDIA Inception startup program.

Improving Speaker Tracking With NeMo

One of the pain points Sembly addresses in transcripts is what’s known as diarization, or identifying the correct speaker in text, which can be problematic. The company had tried popular diarization systems from major software makers with negligible results.

Diarization is a key step in the meeting processing pipeline because many of Sembly’s natural language processing features rely on that text to be properly identified. Its Glance View feature, for instance, can identify key meeting topics and who raised them.

Attributing meeting topics to the wrong person throws a wrench in follow-ups on action items.

Harnessing NVIDIA NeMo —  an open source framework for building, training and fine-tuning GPU-accelerated speech and natural language understanding models — provided a significant leap in accuracy.

Using the NeMo conversational AI toolkit for diarization model training, running on NVIDIA A100 GPUs, dramatically improved its speaker tracking. Before applying Nemo, it had an 11 percent error rate in diarization. After implementation, its error rate declined to 5 percent.

Business Boost Amid Meeting Fatigue

With a shift to fewer face-to-face meetings and more virtual ones, companies are seeking ways to counter online meeting fatigue for employees, said Koren. That’s important for delivering more engaging workplace experiences, he added.

“There’s a concept of ‘meeting tourists’ in large organizations. And this is one of those things that we’re hoping Sembly will help to address,” he said.

Adopting Semby to easily highlight key points and speakers in transcripts for sharing gives workers more time back in the day, he said. And leaner operational technologies that help companies stay more focused on key business objectives offer competitive advantages, said Koren.

For those with bloated calendars and the need to try to dance between two meetings, Sembly can also assist. Sembly can be directed to attend a meeting instead of the user and come back with a summary and a list of key items, saving time while keeping teams more informed.

“Sometimes I’d like to attend two meetings that overlap — with Sembly, now I can,” Koren said.