Multinational IT and networking company, Cisco, has announced to acquire artificial intelligence firm, MindMeld, for $125 million in cash and assumed equity awards. According to the company the acquisition will power new conversational interfaces for Cisco’s collaboration products and change the way users will interact with its technology, increasing ease of use, and enabling new cognitive capabilities.
What does MindMeld bring to the table?
MindMeld claims to have developed a unique AI platform that enables customers to build intelligent and human-like conversational interfaces for any application or device. Through its proprietary machine learning technology, the company delivers accuracy to help users interact with voice and chat assistants in a more natural way.
How will the acquisition help Cisco?
Cisco believes that AI and machine learning will play an increasingly vital role across all parts of its business and will be able to take advantage of AI and ML and embed it across the network and the cloud. For example, helping its customers to self-manage their network and data center, stay ahead of security attacks, embed intelligence at the edge and deliver predictive analytics.
However, AI and ML technology are already a part of Cisco’s portfolio, powering products like Stealthwatch, Cisco Spark Board, and Cisco Spark Room Kit and features like SpeakerTrack and VoiceTrack across its video portfolio. Using MindMeld’s technology, the company states that it can deliver unique experiences throughout its portfolio, starting with collaboration.
For example, users will be able to interact with Cisco Spark via natural language commands, providing an experience that is highly customized to the user and their work. The company claims that the clubbed technology can bring voice AI to meeting rooms throughout the world, where Cisco’s presence of video and telephony hardware will help increase adoption of AI technology across the workplace.
“The workplace of the future is one powered by AI. This is a significant step toward making that workplace a reality. Integrating MindMeld into the Cisco Spark platform will transform how users interact in Cisco Spark Spaces, Cisco Spark Meetings, and Cisco Spark Care,” said Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President, Cisco IoT and Applications Group.
The MindMeld team will join the Cloud Collaboration group under the leadership of Jens Meggers, Senior Vice President and General Manager, as the Cognitive Collaboration team. The acquisition is expected to close in Cisco’s fourth quarter of FY 2017, following customary closing conditions and regulatory review.