Welcome to the end of daunting task management after online meetings. From now on it's a few clicks away and once you leave the call your work is done. Microsoft loved the idea and signed a new partnership in Europe. This is how Microsoft Teams has landed a new internal app with a unique feature. IsLucid is a smart digital assistant for conference calls that can finally turn our voice to text to tasks in project management systems such as Jira, Azure DevOps, and others.
“We aim to save time usually needed for task management and to capture more details that can affect the quality of project implementation” says Vytenis Pakenas, CEO and Co-Founder of Lucid Agreements, the company that developed isLucid.
He estimates that after a one-hour meeting, participants usually need at least an additional 15 mins to compile follow-ups and assign tasks. On average, one manager has about 12 meetings a week. This translates to at least 156 hours a year, or around one-month full-time just for creating and managing tasks that were raised during the meetings.
Lucid Agreements, a company based in Northern Europe, is also deepening its partnership and integration with the US giant’s communication platform. The startup became the first Microsoft partner to migrate its billing system from Stripe directly to the Microsoft Commerce platform and MS Teams.
This means that isLucid subscription can now be paid for by a single account, together with a payment for Microsoft product licenses.
In comparison, the typical process of incorporating new tools into the daily life of a company is much more complicated: usually, an employee or a team finds what is needed and tests the solution. If it fits, it’s often necessary to write requests for additional funds for these new tools. Also, very often managers answer with the IT budget in mind.
“While caring for our customers who need to try our product first, and understanding the hectic purchasing procedure for many SaaS offerings, we noticed the opportunity Microsoft has created. We can now offer SaaS experience, assisted with MS corporate knowledge under the same budget line as the majority of well-known Microsoft products,” Vytenis explains.
He adds that the Microsoft ecosystem makes life easier for businesses. Deep integration allows customers to focus on work and products, as the ecosystem itself removes barriers and provides tools for efficient development and sales.
IsLucid, after adding the app to a conference call in the MS Teams environment, can transcribe conversations in real-time. It also detects potential tasks, and allows the user to immediately add verbally agreed assignments to project and task management systems.
Vytenis states that isLucid is the first native app in its category in the MS Teams ecosystem. Currently, neither on MS Teams nor on other remote meeting platforms like Zoom or Slack are there analogous solutions. Especially those that cover the full cycle from verbal to written to task management systems in real-time.
One might say that Lucid Agreements is a COVID-19 baby.
“We started in 2019 when I sold my previous business — an IT services company. The experience gained there and in multiple other businesses with IT and managerial roles showed me that many oral tasks, arrangements, or details are lost after meetings. This lesson became the foundation of a new business — this is how isLucid came about.”
He tells the story of turbulent beginnings. First, Vytenis and several like-minded people planned to create an app for work instructions so that everyone in the company at any given point in time knew who is responsible for what. However, after consulting with investors (Katalista Ventures) and testing the proof of concept, it was decided to turn it into a contract app. It was supposed to be a solution for people who handle a lot of things over the phone — a kind of precaution that evidences what both sides agreed.
“We made a version that we all liked, and then contacted and befriended Google’s Android applications support team. The U.S. giant’s head office even helped us redesign the app. Soon after, COVID-19 struck. The world suddenly stopped, and we saw a significant drop in usage. We could have either waited for the pandemic to pass — we probably would have waited until now — or come up with a solution to apply it to remote work,” says the CEO.
The solution presented itself in a form of Microsoft API.
“Back in 2019, a bit before the pandemic, we were analyzing which way to move next and got the news that Microsoft was opening audio stream from MS Teams to external solution providers like us. In March 2020, we used early beta APIs to access the audio stream”, the entrepreneur recalls.
“We were among the first in the world to do that. We even got through to Redmond (Microsoft headquarters) and they saw that we were taking this seriously. We’ve got a lot of support from Microsoft”, he adds.
Lucid Agreements is backed by Coinvest Capital together with business angels from LitBan, Katalista Ventures, and Startup Wise Guys, with a recently closed round of $400k.
Now, according to Vytenis, the company focuses on advancing its meeting assistant by making it more human, as well as privacy and data security. For example, it offers identification with MS account and security solutions.
“We want customers to use IsLucid to improve their experiences in the MS Teams ecosystem without giving away any sensitive data. Our artificial intelligence learns from live voice-first conversation and does not store any audio information. The transcribed text is stored on our servers, but customer data is separated and isolated; everyone has their own database,” says the head of Lucid Agreements.
As for the future, encryption with the client key and other exciting improvements are coming.