The ability to use voice commands to track time is about to take a big step forward with the imminent launch of Tali, a productivity assistant that allows lawyers and other professionals to track time using voice commands through the Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled device.
I wrote here about Tali in June, when it was still in pre-beta development. That post came just a month after I wrote about another Alexa-based time tracker, Workspace Assistant, a tool from Thomson Reuters Elite that similarly allows lawyers to perform time-management functions using voice commands. Whereas Workspace Assistant can be used only with Workspace, an enterprise-level product for large law firms, Tali is a freestanding application that can be used by anyone.
Matthew Volm, CEO of the Portland, Ore., startup ThreeMatts that is developing Tali, told me this week that the product will be formally unveiled at the Clio Cloud Conference Sept. 25 and 26 and then will become generally available on Oct. 1.
Tali will integrate with the Clio practice management platform so that time entered in Tali can be synchronized with Clio, matching activities, matters and clients. Volm said that his company is working on building integrations with other practice management platforms as well.
Tali will ship with both a free version and paid “Tali for Law” version for a subscription of $30 a month. The company is currently accepting pre-orders of Tali for Law for firms that want to help test it out. Firms that sign up for the 90-day trial period (at $90) receive a free Amazon Echo Dot.
The two differences in the paid version are that it includes the Clio integration and professional support (plus the free Echo Dot). For that reason, it is best suited for firms that use Clio.
How It Works
I have not used Tali but Volm gave me a brief demonstration. You can use it with any Alexa-enabled device and also through the Alexa app on a mobile phone.
I listened as Volm had the following exchange:
Volm: Alexa, open Tali.
Tali: Welcome to Tali, Matthew. Would you like to log an activity?
Volm: Log six hours for Jones.
Tali: Describe the activity.
Volm: Email to client regarding trial strategy and review six hours of discovery documentation.
Tali: I’ve recorded it. Yippee!
The entry immediately appears on Tali’s browser-based dashboard. Tali identified “Jones” as the client “Matt Jones” by pulling information from Clio. Time entries can be reviewed in the dashboard and, if need be, edited. They can then be synced to Clio, either individually or as a group. Once synced, the time entries are recorded in Clio.
Tali can also be used to start and stop a timer:
Volm: Alexa, tell Tali I’ve started Oregon state tax research for Thomson.
Tali: Got it. Let me know when you’re finished.
Volm: Alexa, tell Tali to stop.
Tali: Activity stopped and saved. Yippee!
So far, Tali does not allow you to run multiple timers. That is something Volm hopes to add. In the meantime, if you are, say, running a timer and a call comes in, you can simply tell her (Volm says Tali is a “her”) to record the time spent on the call. You cannot currently pause and resume a timer, but Volm says that capability will be added soon after commercial release.
I asked Volm how Tali handles identical or similar names. For example, what if you have two clients with the surname Collins? Volm said his company is building a business logic so that Tali will surface what she thinks is the most relevant match. If the match is wrong, you can edit it in the dashboard. Tali will learn from your activity and get better at making matches.
Although those who have the free version of Tali cannot sync to Clio, they still get access to all of their time records through the dashboard. The data can be viewed online or downloaded to a CSV file.
Volm has other enhancements in the works, including other methods to enter time and other integrations with third-party products.