Cisco said it would acquire Voicea, a company that provides real-time meeting transcripts, voice search, and highlights, in a bid to bolster its WebEx collaboration platform.
WebEx competes in a crowded field that includes companies ranging from BlueJeans to Microsoft to GoToMeeting to collaboration darling Zoom. WebEx is used by more than 130 million people a month.
Cisco said the Voicea purchase is "another proof point in Cisco's continuous commitment" to WebEx. Cisco plans to use Voicea's technology to provide meeting notes and analytics and ultimately "turn talk into action." Cisco was already an investor in Voicea along with Google Ventures, Workday, and other tech players.
The move could differentiate WebEx since so many meetings usually include someone tasked with taking notes. With transcription, companies would be better suited to run analytics to find influence as well as participation rates among employees.
Voicea has an AI assistant called EVA, short for Enterprise Voice Assistant, that takes commands, takes notes and captures highlights for recaps. Cisco touted Voicea as a way to engage employees in meetings, add calls to messaging streams, personalize and limit the fear of missing out since there are transcribed notes.
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In addition to transcription, Voicea will enhance WebEx with artificial intelligence and automated speech recognition engine. The Voicea deal also plays into Cisco's strategy to create cognitive collaboration that leverages AI and machine learning to enhance video and voice meetings.
The deal is expected to close in Cisco's first fiscal quarter. Voicea will join Cisco's WebEx unit and report to Sri Srinivasan.