Cisco Doubles Down on AI with Cognitive Collaboration
by Jim Lundy
For many, it came as a surprise last year when Chuck Robbins hired Cisco Board Member Amy Chang to run the Collaboration group. While Amy had been a Cisco Board member, she also had a small start-up called Accompany that Cisco acquired in the process of her hiring. Today, Cisco has used the technology behind Accompany to launch People Insights. The blog explores the potential impact of People Insights and what it means for Cisco’s overall artificial intelligence strategy.
Accompany Was Everything LinkedIn Promised
When it was announced that Cisco was going to buy Amy’s firm as part of the deal many were surprised, including yours truly. However, at about that time I received an invite to try out the Accompany App and have been using it as a meeting preparation tool ever since. Each day I get a reminder about the people I am going to meet with and it includes all of my recent interactions with them. This is more dynamic than what LinkedIn promised with its Calendar Sync capabilities.
Cognitive Collaboration and The Launch of People Insights
Accompany is now part of Cisco Webex, and it is now called People Insights. Now everyone will have the opportunity to see information about the other people in a meeting in real-time. To us, this cuts way down on the prep for a meeting both for executives as well as for sales teams.
Figure 1. Cisco has a short intro video of People Insights.
Making Webex Into a Work Hub
This changes the game in collaboration and helps to position Webex as more of a digital work hub. The challenge for Cisco is to get everyone to realize what it has and then get them to use it. People Insights is a strong move towards a more Intelligent Workplace.
Since I’ve been using Accompany for a year, all I can say it that it works and it saves an amazing amount of time prepping for meetings. We expect others to try to copy People Insights, but they have their work cut out for them.