News & Insights for the AI Journey|Sunday, August 18, 2019
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Cisco Adds AI-Based Meeting Transcriber 

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Cisco Systems is beefing up its Webex collaboration platform with new AI and automated speech recognition tools acquired through its purchase of Voicea, an AI-based transcription and voice search specialist.

Webex is the keystone of Cisco’s Cognitive Collaboration portfolio that is being steadily upgraded with automation tools designed to preserve notes and assemble action items from conference calls. The AI assistant transcribes those notes for future reference.

The three-year-old Bay Area startup built an “enterprise voice assistant,” or EVA, to take meeting notes and identify action items. Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) said the automation tool would be added to its Webex and collaboration platform that “slipstreams” AI across business interactions. The result, the company claims, is transforming a “simple meeting into a treasure trove of digital meeting notes and insights.”

EVA blends AI and automated speech recognition that allows it to take notes and commands while capturing meeting highlights that can be used later as action items. Cisco said it would combine EVA with its Webex conversational AI assistant. Along with transcripts and meeting summaries, the combined tools can automatically push workflows via voice commands to Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) and other enterprise platforms.

The combination would, for instance, quickly learn to accurately transcribe corporate acronyms, Cisco noted.

Cisco’s venture arm was an early investor in Voicea, a privately-held company based in Mountain View, Calif. The acquisition is expected to close by this fall. Other terms were not disclosed.

Cisco said its Webex service is used by more than 130 million individuals each month, with more than 360 million Webex meetings a year.

"The acquisition of Voicea allows us to leap past basic transcription services and instead, continue delivering on our vision of AI-driven, cognitive collaboration,” said Amy Chang, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s collaboration unit.

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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