Cisco has announced its intent to acquire MindMeld, a privately held artificial intelligence (AI) company based in San Francisco, for $125 million in cash and assumed equity awards.
MindMeld has developed an 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 delivers incredible accuracy to help users interact with voice and chat assistants in a more natural way, Cisco said.
Cisco said that AI and machine learning will play an increasingly vital role across all parts of its business. As chat and voice quickly become the interfaces of choice, MindMeld’s AI technology will enable Cisco to deliver unique experiences throughout its portfolio, starting with collaboration. Cisco said the acquisition will power new conversational interfaces for its collaboration products, “revolutionizing” how users will interact with its 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.
“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.”
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 fiscal year 2017, following customary closing conditions and regulatory review.