Cisco, IBM To ‘Infuse’ Watson Into Cloud Collaboration Tools


Take a slice of cloud collaboration tools, add a dash of Watson, simmer gently for enhanced productivity

IBM and Cisco have joined forces in an attempt to improve cloud-based workforce collaboration and productivity tools.

The two firms have a long history of co-operating on different projects, including the cloud, smart grids, and more recently the Internet of Things (IoT).

Collaboration Tools

In this case the two firms are teaming up to offer enhanced workforce productivity and collaboration tools.

The firms said they will create a suite of cloud-based workplace tools and applications that are “infused” with IBM Watson, Big Blue’s supercomputer that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and analytical software to provide insights from large amounts of unstructured data.

To this end Cisco’s Spark and WebEx collaborative workspace platforms will be integrated with IBM’s cloud collaboration solutions, including Verse and Connections. Watson will provide its advanced analytics, and IBM’s email and social offerings will also be included.

The two firms will design joint solutions to help workers deal with all types of data (including unstructured), allowing “people get more done, in less time.” They believe correct insights in the right context, will be incorporated into all the tools, apps and documents used in the workplace.

ibm watson hq“With Watson powering a joint IBM-Cisco solution, backed by a robust partner ecosystem, new classes of solutions will emerge,” the companies said. “For example, a financial advisor could meet with a high value investor over Cisco video with a Watson service offering real-time advice and handling tasks, while files would be securely stored and available in IBM Connections, shared through WebEx for a seamless transaction.”

IBM and Cisco point out that on average nowadays, a worker is distracted once every 11 minutes and needs an average of 25 minutes to refocus on tasks. But they believe that combining collaboration and cognitive tools, they can deliver a more productive and data-driven workplace.

“The irony of many workforce tools available today is that with because there are so many to choose from, they can reduce employee effectiveness,” said Inhi Cho, General Manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions. “With our combined technology strengths and understanding of how teams get work done, IBM and Cisco can deliver the next generation of collaboration tools needed to cultivate innovation and drive productivity. By incorporating analytics and cognitive technologies into these solutions, we expect them to be able to learn what is important, in context, and take the right actions on behalf of the user.”

“At Cisco, we are constantly innovating to improve the collaboration experience and there has never been a better time to take our offerings to the next level,” said Jens Meggers, Senior VP and General Manager, Cisco Cloud Collaboration Technology. “That’s our goal here – to think exponentially and together with IBM create the next generation of collaboration. Now we can deliver amazing, next-generation ‘Intelligent Collaboration’ that allows enterprises to compete in this fast moving digital world.”

IBM Watson

IBM has been pushing Watson for a number of years now. Last December it opened its new Watson Internet of Things headquarters in Germany, along with new Watson API services for IoT and eight new IoT centres worldwide.

And in March Big Blue partnered with the University of Aberdeen to give students and staff access to IBM’s Watson Engagement Advisor, a personal assistant-style service that interacts with customers, listens to questions and offers solutions to problems.

Watson is also being used again at this year’s Wimbledon tennis championship to deliver insights to help Wimbledon 2016 attract more fans.

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