Cisco to Acquire MindMeld for $125 Million
Cisco plans to acquire MindMeld Inc., a privately-held artificial intelligence (AI) company based in San Francisco, for $125 million in cash and assumed equity awards. MindMeld offers a platform to enable customers to build intelligent and human-like conversational interfaces for any application or device. Through its machine learning (ML) technology, MindMeld helps users interact with voice and chat assistants in a more natural way.
The acquisition is anticipated to close in Cisco's fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
The workplace of the future will be powered by AI, according to Rowan Trollope, senior vice president, Cisco IoT and Applications Group, who noted that 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 has AI, software and engineering talent and expertise to add to 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.
Citing its industry leadership in networking, collaboration, data center, analytics, and unified communications, Cisco says it is well positioned to take advantage of AI and ML and embed it across the network and the cloud. Cisco is adding capabilities through AI that to allow customers to self-manage their network and data center, stay ahead of security attacks, embed intelligence at the edge, deliver predictive analytics, and improve the workplace. AI and ML technology is already represented across Cisco’s portfolio, in products such as Stealthwatch, Cisco Spark Board, and Cisco Spark Room Kit and features like SpeakerTrack and VoiceTrack across in its video portfolio.
As chat and voice quickly become the interfaces of choice, Cisco says that MindMeld's AI technology will enable Cisco to deliver unique experiences throughout its portfolio, starting with collaboration. According to Cisco, the acquisition will enable new conversational interfaces for Cisco's collaboration products, improving how users will interact with our technology, increasing ease of use, and enabling new cognitive capabilities.