Cisco is getting in on the voice recognition trend powered by artificial intelligence (AI), saying today it intends to acquire MindMeld, a privately held AI company based in San Francisco.
Cisco will pay $125 million in cash for MindMeld. The acquisition is expected to close in Cisco’s fiscal fourth quarter 2017, which ends in late July.
MindMeld owns 10 patent assets (some pending). The MindMeld team will join Cisco’s Cloud Collaboration group led by its General Manager Jens Meggers.
MindMeld’s AI platform enables the creation of human-like conversational interfaces for applications and devices.
Since Apple introduced Siri in 2011, voice technology has taken off. Amazon’s Echo, which it introduced in 2014, has added to the craze. Now everyone seems to be getting in on the action. Google has its Google Home, and just this week, Microsoft unveiled its Cortana digital assistant with voice recognition.
Cisco plans to integrate MindMeld’s technology into its enterprise communications platform Cisco Spark, which does voice and video business meetings. MindMeld’s AI technology will enable Spark business customers to interact via natural language commands.
“At the core of MindMeld’s technology is a powerful machine learning platform that is able to ingest customer data and create a highly accurate and customized natural language model, tailored to each company’s industry and requirements,” wrote Rob Salvagno, VP of Cisco’s Corporate Business Development, in a blog post.
Ultimately, Cisco intends to integrate AI and machine learning technologies across all parts of its business, the company said today.
The announcement about MindMeld “represents how the buy pillar of our innovation strategy continues to impact our strategic shift to become more of a software company,” wrote Salvagno.