IBM, Cisco to integrate Watson, collaboration tools like WebEx

The two companies will integrate Cisco's WebEx and Spark and IBM's Verse and Connections with a hefty does of cognitive computing form Watson.

Cisco and IBM said their collaboration tools--WebEx and Spark and Verse and Connections--will be interoperable and include Watson hooks for analytics and context.

The partnership between the two tech giants comes as they have already inked an Internet of things pact.

Under the collaboration partnership, IBM will drop Watson's cognitive computing tools into Cisco's platforms and its own applications.

Also see: Exploring IBM's vision for enterprise collaboration

Jens Meggers, general manager of the cloud collaboration technology unit at Cisco, said the aim was to better integrate IBM's software to "reduce friction" in how work is being done.

Meggers said in an interview that video demand in collaboration has surged.

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Inhi Cho Suh, general manager of collaboration solutions at IBM Analytics, said the integration will make completing work easier. "WebEx is one of the market leaders and the decision was easy to make," said Suh.

Suh added that workers should be able to choose their collaboration tools and mix together what they want. "Clients will choose experiences that work for them," said Suh. "What we can bring is cognitive, patterns of usage and contextual insights to things like a calendar and document sharing."

IBM and Cisco compete on some level in the social enterprise, but Meggers noted that the products don't overlap. "IBM is strong in social and email from the cloud and Cisco is messaging and meetings," he said.

Overall, Suh said that the combination of Cisco and IBM can bring scale in collaboration via a bevy of joint customers. As for the product roadmap details, the companies will outline more in the months to come.

More Watson:

Apple, acquisitions, and adherence: Inside IBM's Watson Health unit | IBM Watson-powered app aims to make hospital visits less daunting for young patients | IBM's bet on cognitive computing, Watson will take time to pay off | IBM acquires Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion to bulk up Watson Health |