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Cisco Acquires BabbleLabs to Improve Remote Collaboration

The News: Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced its intent to acquire privately held BabbleLabs, Inc. headquartered in Campbell, CA.

BabbleLabs uses advanced AI (Artificial Intelligence) techniques to distinguish human speech from unwanted noise, enhancing the quality of communications and conferencing applications. Read the full news release

Analyst Take: BabbleLabs touts a small team of 33, but don’t let that mislead you to think this isn’t an important acquisition by Cisco for its growing Collaboration portfolio.

With Covid-19 putting the vast majority of knowledge workers in home and remote office environments, and similar impacts taking place in education and government, there is a growing need for smarter meetings.

The acquisition of BabbleLabs meets a very specific need in the space–enabling users to collaborate effectively in spaces that aren’t optimized for collaboration.

We all know the disruptive nature of collaboration calls where participants are driving, outside in a windy or harsh environment or perhaps have children or animals in the background. It is distracting and with the current situation, the distraction isn’t out of some lack of consideration, but rather due to the reality of our world’s circumstances. BabbleLabs offers technology and IP that can help Cisco improve the Webex platform to deliver better meetings with less noise, without users having to go on and off mute or try to find optimum meeting space when such a thing doesn’t exist.

Overall Impressions of the BabbleLabs Acquisition

The acquisition of BabbleLabs is another great example of fast moving, material M&A moves made by Cisco to add value to product lines and users without breaking the bank.

While the numbers weren’t disclosed, I presume this to be a small acquisition in terms of price, but a timely and highly relevant tool for the growing remote workforce, which is in need of a better answer to collaborating in less than ideal collaboration environments.

Even as work returns to normal (whatever that may be), this technology will go from being nice to have, to standard issue. AI can deliver optimized meetings on a wide swath of devices and environments. BabbleLabs shortens Cisco’s route to delivering this, and that is what makes this such a smart buy for the company and its users.

Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

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Image Credit: BabbleLabs

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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