& cplSiteName &

'Hey, Spark!' Cisco Launches AI-Powered Voice Assistant for Meetings

Mitch Wagner

DALLAS -- Cisco Partner Summit -- You've got Alexa in your kitchen and Siri in your pocket. Now Cisco wants to put an AI voice assistant in your meeting, with the introduction of Spark Assistant -- the fruit of Cisco's $125 million Mindmeld acquisition this year.

Spark Assistant will launch in limited availability early next year on the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) Spark Room Series hardware endpoints for meeting rooms, which integrate voice, video, and shared whiteboards. Later, Spark Assistant will be available across all Spark clients and hardware endpoints.

Spark Assistant is based on technology from MindMeld, which Cisco acquired in May. MindMeld specializes in developing conversational interfaces that use artificial intelligence and machine learning with voice and natural language recognition.

Initial commands for Spark Assistant are limited. After activating Spark Assistant by saying "Hey Spark," users can start meetings, join WebEx rooms, call other people in the organization, and control Spark hardware endpoints to perform functions such as changing audio volume or recording meetings. But that's just the beginning -- Cisco expects the assistant to rich variety of skills to develop over time.

Cisco's Tim Tuttle.
Cisco's Tim Tuttle.

"Version 1 will help you get in and out of meetings quickly," Tim Tuttle, MindMeld CEO and founder, tells Enterprise Cloud News. Over time, Spark Assistant will learn to do more, such as share files and screens, and even record action items, highlights and meeting summaries, Tuttle says.

Tuttle sees voice assistants as hitting an inflection point for acceptance and practicality. Siri launched in 2011 and was nearly useless at first, and even a year ago accuracy for voice assistants was 80-90%, making them useless to many people. Accuracy is now hitting 98-99%, making voice assistants practical. And Cisco wants to lead that trend into the enterprise.

Spark Assistant has been a long time coming. Cisco discussed its internal development of a voice assistant, then named "Monica," in August, 2016. (See Cisco Developing 'Monica' Digital Assistant.)

Cisco led the overall collaboration market last year, with more than 15% market share, followed by Microsoft, with 10-15% market share, according to Synergy Research Group Inc. Cisco's lead is based on on-premises market, where Cisco had greater than 25% market share, compared with Microsoft's 15-20%. For the hosted/cloud market, Microsoft was the leader, with under 10% market share, and Cisco had about 5% market share.

Related posts:

— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Follow me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Wagner’s Ring
SD-WAN is about more than saving money – it also provides application delivery, insights and reliability. Find out more in this podcast sponsored by Citrix.
Platform is designed to enable enterprises to build big data analytics apps that move easily between public and private clouds.
Buying Evident.io extends Palo Alto's portfolio with API-based security capabilities and compliance automation.
Google wants to win the hearts of enterprise IT for Chrome OS on the desktop, but it has a long way to go.
IBM Cloud gets a security and Kubernetes performance boost.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders talks with VMware's Shekar Ayyar, who explains why cloud architectures are becoming more distributed, what that means for workloads, and why telcos can still be significant cloud services players.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
I'm Back for the Future of Communications
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 4/20/2018
BDAC Blowback – Ex-Chair Arrested
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/17/2018
Verizon: Lack of Interoperability, Consistency Slows Automation
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/18/2018
AT&T Exec Dishes That He's Not So Hot on Rival-Partner Comcast
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/19/2018
Facebook Hearings Were the TIP of the Data Iceberg
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/20/2018
Animals with Phones
I Heard There Was a Dresscode... Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed