UC3 News — 08 November 2017
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Cisco Announces Spark Assistant, a Virtual Assistant for Enterprise Meetings by Robbie Pleasant

At the Cisco Partner Summit, Cisco announced the release of a new enterprise-ready voice assistant for meetings. The new Cisco Spark Assistant will be available on the Cisco Spark Room Series portfolio, which in turn features the newly-announced Cisco Spark Room 70.

Cisco Spark Assistant was created with the intention of adding AI meeting bots to work teams, allowing the virtual assistant to handle the logistics of meetings. It was built using machine-learning technology from MindMeld, following Cisco’s acquisition of the company earlier this year, along with speech recognition technology, natural language understanding, dialogue management, and question answering.

The new virtual assistant will be released in early 2018, but its rollout will be in phases, with new features being added as the technology improves based on user feedback. The first release offers a range of features for meetings, including starting and ending meetings, joining in Cisco WebEx personal meeting rooms, and calling people, all by simply asking (just say  “Hey Spark”).

Following the feedback and trials, it will gain more features, such as the ability to create meeting summaries and assign action items. Spark Assistant will be able to help users find and book meeting rooms, share screens, find relevant documents, find meeting times that match everyone’s schedules, organize these meetings, and more.

Additionally, Cisco announced the release of Cisco Spark Room 70, which is designed as a replacement for its MX800 video system. Cisco Spark Room 70 offers 70” 4l screens, utilizing Cisco’s industrial design for video and audio, and quad 5k cameras. Built at the heart of Spark Room 70 is the NVIDIA Jetson platform, leveraging and creating AI capabilities.

Cisco Spark Room 70 provides “built for both” investment protection, so it can be registered on-premises and easily migrate to gain the benefits of cloud collaboration when needed. It offers voice controls, automatic noise suppression, and facial recognition.

According to Blair Pleasant, co-founder of UCStrategies, “Intelligent Assistants like Cisco Spark Assistant are making it easier for meeting organizers and participants to focus on the content of the meeting, rather than the logistics of setting them up.” She added, “I expect that as Cisco adds capabilities like integrating with users’ calendars and corporate directories, Spark Assistant will help users save time and effort, making them more productive and effective, while making the meeting experience less painful.”

For more information, visit www.cisco.com.


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