Cisco reveals plans to buy AI biz MindMeld

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Cisco has announced the latest move to boost its machine learning prowess: acquiring AI platform MindMeld for $125 million in cash and assumed equity awards, which it will integrate into its collaboration products.

MindMeld's technology allows customers to build conversational interfaces for apps and devices, and uses machine learning to improve the accuracy and intelligence of human-machine interactions. Cisco already uses machine learning and AI tech in products like Stealthwatch.

The first suite of products to take advantage of MindMeld's tech will be Cisco Spark, which will make use of natural language commands that can be completely personalised for the user. Cisco explained adding machine learning technology to its video and telephony hardware will make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers and with colleagues.

"The workplace of the future is one powered by AI," said Rowan Trollope, the senior vice president of Cisco's 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."

MindMeld CEO Tim Tuttle and a selection of others from the company's 24 employees will join Cisco's cloud collaboration group, which is led by senior vice president and general manager Jens Meggers.

"I'm excited for the potential represented by the MindMeld team and their technology, coupled with Cisco's market-leading collaboration portfolio, to enable us to create a user experience that is unlike anything that exists in the market today," Rob Salvagno, head of Cisco's M&A and venture investment team said. "Together, we will work to create the next generation collaboration experience."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.