Cisco Collaboration Doubles Down on Artificial Intelligence
by Jim Lundy
Cisco just held its Cisco Live Event in Barcelona as well as its annual analyst meeting. While there have been many product updates in the the Webex product family over the last year, it is Cisco’s strategic move to invest in and deliver AI capabilities for its entire UCC portfolio. And this new investment in the future of artificial intelligence is turning heads. This blog highlights some of the recent moves related to AI and what Cisco calls cognitive collaboration.
Phase I of cognitive collaboration was all about people insights—this was about providing all the necessary contextual information about the people you are meeting with. This capability, which came from the Accompany acquisition and was featured last year at Enterprise Connect, goes much further than Linkedin and is now shipping in Webex Meetings. Many other Collaboration vendors will find it hard to match this level of insight on people.
Webex Assistant Is the Real Deal
Phase II of Cognitive Collaboration just arrived. The news from Barcelona two weeks ago was all about the Cisco Webex Assistant. Powered by the deep learning engines Cisco got from the Voicea acquisition, the Webex assistant can listen to meetings, transcribe in real-time, and take notes. Users can also tell the Webex Assistant important items in the meeting to highlight. Cisco claims that hours of productivity are reclaimed and we are inclined to agree with them.
Cisco Contact Center Adds AI
Cisco also announced that it is leveraging the Voicea acquisition and contact center AI to add new Webex assistant (aka virtual agent) to the Webex contact center offerings. Like Webex meetings, for contact center, call transcripts, and action items can be automatically added to the CRM record after the call.
With Google partnership, Cisco is allowing people to build chatbots using Google contact center AI, which leverages Dialogflow enterprise edition. So here we see Cisco hedging its bets and allowing customers to decide how they deploy AI.
Cisco also announced that is integrating the omni-channel capabilities of its Cloud Cherry acquisition into Cisco contact center. These new offerings are central to the renewed focus on contact center. With its new general manager Omar Tawakol, former founder of Voicea, Cisco has been winning a number of very competitive contact center deals.
All of these announcements come on the heels of last year when Cisco made a significant number of updates to its product line. Some of these updates will be discussed in our upcoming research, including the Aragon Globes on web and video conferencing, UCC platforms, and intelligent contact center. It is clear that Amy Chang has built a powerful team that is now starting to execute. Cisco has been a little shy about touting its success but it did have many customers provide briefings at its analyst event. We have the feeling that was just the tip of the iceberg. Cisco is definitely ready to rumble in the world of cognitive collaboration, a market that we predict will depend more and more on artificial intelligence in the years to come.
Editor’s Note: See all of our Collaboration and Communication Research here.