Featured Article from Conferencing

Cisco Launches Digital Voice Assistant for Meetings

November 10, 2017

Cisco launched a new AI-powered digital voice assistant for managing boardroom hardware. Cisco Spark Assistant will fuse with existing conferencing equipment, and used for such tasks as joining meetings, sound adjustment, and audio commands.

"During the next few years, AI meeting bots will be joining our work teams. When they do, people will be able to ditch the drudgery of meeting setup and other logistics to become more creative than ever," said Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM, Applications Group, Cisco. "The future of great meetings is Spark with AI and our partners have an incredible opportunity to help customers take advantage of this game-changing technology."

Cisco Spark Assistant will be distributed in phases, starting in early 2018. Phase one will offer starting a meeting using just a voice, typing and dialing eliminated. Examples: "Hey, Spark. Join the meeting." "Hey, Spark. I want to start the meeting." "Hey, Spark. Let's get started." Users, in phase one, will also be able to smoothly join personal Cisco WebEx meeting rooms or that of a co-workers’, the same way one would start a meeting.

The way Spark Assistant is presented much like the voice operations of the Amazon Alexa, Echo, or Siri. It has that ease and feel yet Assistant will evolve through user trial feedback. The ultimate goal is for the Assistant to assign action items, adding items to to-do lists, and generate summaries of meetings for businesses, relieving the workload.

All of the technology within Spark Assistant comes from MindMeld, which was purchased by Cisco in May for $125 million. Spark Assistant has been built with machine learning and speech recognition technology. Question answering has also been integrated into Cisco Spark to enable user interaction.

Are your meetings looking to the future of voice assistant technology? 

Edited by Maurice Nagle