In addition to a web browser, a maps function, and a curated selection of emojis, most modern smartphones come equipped with a few note taking apps. Sometimes these take the form of a digital notebook, while others allow for voice recordings or short videos. A note taking app enables easy capture of ideas and personal reminders while folks are on the go.
A note taking app for businesses, however, features the same core functionality and capabilities as personal apps, while leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize operations and sync to relevant, existing solutions in a business’ software ecosystem. This underlying, embedded technology helps businesses log and store data, enables seamless sorting and sharing—in some cases, it replaces outdated processes altogether—and more features are being added as demand grows.
What follows are just a few areas in which AI/ML is transforming digital notebooks into powerful business tools for small and medium-sized organizations.
Note Taking App Business Benefits
Intelligent Voice Assistants
These days, vocal recognition software and voice assistants are omnipresent among smart devices, and the technology is only going to improve and expand. According to Juniper Research, there are expected to be 8.4 billion voice assistant devices in use around the world by 2024.
This technology is benefiting note taking apps of all stripes. Now, users can have their voice recordings automatically transcribed and shared accurately and at breakneck speed. Some AI engines, like Zoho’s Zia, enable voice-activated search within notes, including photos, and automatic sorting into categories, calendar events, and reminders.
Example: Traveling Salesperson
Consider the traveling salesperson, always on the way to or from the airport, and out of or into meetings. With such a limited window of time during which to communicate with the team back home, virtual voice assistants offer hands-on, yet hands-free, support. This intrepid salesperson can narrate a note while waiting for a cab, and the voice assistant could automatically know which group of teammates should receive a transcription of that note, including the ability to share them as a set of tasks.
Because of note taking app integrations with other programs, they can offer real-time collaboration within an organization, even while on a call, without switching back-and-forth between apps—including setting task reminders.
Other than hospital systems and the IRS, the fax machine is mostly obsolete as a way to transfer physical documents over the Internet. The other options are generally pretty makeshift, including sending poorly framed photos of files or counting on a PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat to allow for adding digital text and signatures.
Modern mobile note taking apps accomplish the same task and require only what comes standard with every smartphone: a camera. Simply fill out a form, snap a picture, and note apps will turn it into a properly formatted document that can be easily stored and shared. Some apps, such as Zoho Notebook, will automatically sort these photos, offering the same level of searchability as a text note.
Example: Field Workers
One potential use case is for field workers. For example, a field agent can snap photos of a faulty workstation, create a note with those images and additional comments, and share the note with their in-office support team, who can collaborate on the best course of action from within the note taking app. The technology could sort these photos into an album and send the collection to a technician.
The field worker can take photos once the problem is fixed, and the note taking app can file them for reference, including tags and time stamps, for simple sorting or to view the history of the project.
It can be intimidating to open a note taking app and be faced with dozens of text-only notes. Sure, they are sortable, but information transferred from a website, email, or chat message may be formatted incorrectly or contain too much extraneous information to be useful after the fact.
Luckily, AI/ML offers the ability to vary it up. Current AI/ML capabilities take it a step further, enabling note taking apps to format and present full websites added from only a URL or small snippets of a site. Note taking apps with this level of AI/ML also boast the ability to sense if the site should be presented as a recipe card, a video, a checklist, or a task with embedded location information, and will adapt accordingly, even from an email.
AI/ML technology might enable note taking apps to do even more with even less-organized source material. Imagine someone capturing a wealth of information across a wild assortment of websites. Note taking apps could leverage AI/ML to parse the relevant information, extract the copy, and scrub Flash images and intrusive marketing messages so the sites can be easily referenced even when offline.
What’s Next in Note Taking Apps?
The potential of a note taking app for businesses lies in how well it integrates with other apps and systems, and how seamlessly data flows between them. Advancements in AI/ML technology, coupled with the growing number of features and functions being added, could see note taking apps replace the inbox as employees’ central interface or business home page.
What we’re seeing already is note taking apps taking over many core functions of office or workplace platforms—enabling synchronized chat and collaboration, data storage, data preparation, and document creation.
Small businesses are in the best position, based on their size and relative operational simplicity, to take advantage of this rapidly developing technology.
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