Cisco to boost WebEx with Voicea acquisition

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Cisco to boost WebEx with Voicea acquisition

Cisco's flagship collaboration offering Webex is getting a shot in the arm as the company unveiled plans to acquire meeting and voice specialist Voicea.

"Voicea's true market-leading technology will be a game-changer for our Webex customers to experience more productive and actionable meetings," said Amy Chang, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Collaboration. "The acquisition of Voicea allows us to leap past basic transcription services and instead continue delivering on our vision of AI-driven, cognitive collaboration across our entire portfolio."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2020.

Voicea provides meeting transcription, voice search, and meeting highlights/action items with robust data privacy. Voicea’s technology will become part of Cisco’s Webex portfolio.

Voicea’s Enterprise Voice Assistant (EVA) collaboration platform blends artificial intelligence and automated speech recognition, enabling it to take commands, perform actions, capture and share highlights in meetings, and then create actionable recaps, according to Sri Srinivasan, senior vice present and general manager for Team Collaboration Group at Cisco.

“The possibilities are powerful through combining transcription EVA and conversational AI [Webex Assistant] engines,” said Srinivasan. “When you combine these two powerful engines you have an intelligent meeting assistant for every one of your meetings. Meeting users can see the live transcription, publish effective meeting summaries and highlights, and also capture and automate action items. Workflows can be pushed automatically through voice commands into systems of record like Salesforce, Trello, Teams, Jira and Asana, thereby creating uninterrupted workstreams.”

With Voicea technology, Cisco said it will enhance its Webex portfolio of products with a powerful transcription service to boost collaboration in meetings and calls. The networking giant said the new technology will turn meetings into a “treasure trove of digital meeting notes and insights,” as nonattendees can quickly gather relevant information.

The acquisition is part of Cisco’s vision of Cognitive Collaboration, interoperability and workplace transformation through combining AI, machine learning, software, hardware and the network to remove friction and to get work done faster and smarter.

The Voicea team will join the Webex portfolio led by Srinivasan.

“This acquisition, and more specifically integration of EVA into the Cisco Webex portfolio, represents another major step in Cognitive Collaboration,” said Srinivasan. “We will continue to deliver against this promise to set new standards for the employee experience.”

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