Cisco to buy artificial intelligence company MindMeld for $125 million

Cisco, has announced its intent to acquire MindMeld Inc., a privately held artificial intelligence (AI) company based in San Francisco. MindMeld has pioneered the development of 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 (ML) technology, MindMeld reportedly delivers accuracy to help users interact with voice and chat assistants in a more natural way. Cisco believes that AI and machine learning will play an increasingly vital role across all parts of its business.

Cisco is working to unlock capabilities through AI that were unthinkable in the past – for example, empowering customers to self-manage their network and data centre, stay ahead of security attacks, embed intelligence at the edge, deliver predictive analytics, and revolutionise the workplace.

AI and ML technology is already represented across its portfolio, powering products like StealthwatchCisco Spark Board, and Cisco Spark Room Kit and features like SpeakerTrack and VoiceTrack across our video portfolio.

As chat and voice quickly become the interfaces of choice, MindMeld’s AI technology is hoped to enable Cisco to deliver unique experiences throughout its portfolio, starting with collaboration. This acquisition will power new conversational interfaces for Cisco’s collaboration products, revolutionising how users will interact with our technology, increasing ease of use, and enabling new cognitive capabilities.

For example, users will be able to interact with Cisco Spark via natural language commands, providing an experience that is highly customised to the user and their work. Together, Cisco and MindMeld can bring voice AI to meeting rooms throughout the world, where Cisco’s near-ubiquitous 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,” said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president, Cisco IoT and Applications Group. “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.”

With 10 patent assets to its name, MindMeld brings industry-coveted AI, software and engineering talent and expertise to further the evolution of Cisco’s collaboration suite. 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.

Cisco will acquire MindMeld for US$125 million in cash and assumed equity awards. The acquisition is expected to close in Cisco’s fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017, following customary closing conditions and regulatory review.

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