Voodle wants companies to ditch boring group calls for 1-minute videos


Even before the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a massive shift to remote work, businesses relied heavily — in some cases, too heavily — on long group conference calls and meetings to share team updates. Today, Voodle is debuting an alternative: an app that lets business teams share short video updates, complete with automatically generated captions and transcripts.

Available today from Apple’s App Store, Voodle’s eponymous software is as efficient in execution as it is in concept. After setting up a free account and joining a team, you can record a 60-second video with a single button press. Voodle processes the recording, transcribes it, and adds captions in about a minute more. You can then post the video for viewing by members of your team, share the link externally, and adjust who has access to it. Thanks to the transcriptions, salient videos can be discovered from a team’s collection through text-based, AI-powered searches.

“Similar to how Slack disrupted the email inbox,” explained Voodle CCO Rachel Lanham, “Voodle streamlines video communications by providing a smart alternative for all the times a quick 60-second video — shared with the right people — works better than a video conference call that takes so much more time.” Whatever the nature of a team member’s update might be, video conveys emotion and personality in ways group chats and emails cannot.

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Voodle’s playback is similarly streamlined and thoughtful. Viewers can choose between 1X, 1.5X, and 2X speeds, watch with or without captions, or switch to a full transcript view as the audio continues to play. There’s also a heart button to “like” the video, but no other form of feedback. For better or worse, there are no comments to read or manage. If someone wants to respond, they can create a Voodle of their own or follow up outside the app.

In hands-on testing of the Voodle app, we found the transcription and captioning features worked almost perfectly with an unaccented voice, interpreting around 99% of the words correctly and synchronizing each sentence to its place in the video. Similarly, the option to speed up playback left audio intelligible while reducing listening time, easily making the case for one-minute or shorter video updates to take the place of dragged-out presentations — at least in some situations.

The business video-sharing app is a pivot for Seattle-based Voodle, which previously focused on mixed reality video tools and VR training experiences as Pixvana before sunsetting its XR-specific offerings in early 2020. Voodle is backed by corporate venture groups from Microsoft, Cisco, and Hearst, as well as Madrona, Vulcan, and Raine Ventures, all of which were involved with the Pixvana team.