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Cisco launches Spark Assistant, claims we’ll all be working with AI bots in five years’ time

Enterprise tech giant Cisco has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first AI-powered voice assistant for meetings. Named Cisco Spark Assistant, the software responds to voice commands and is being touted as a way of taking the stress out of meetings and conference calls.

Cisco has designed the assistant to be an interface for its range of Spark Room hardware. In the trial phase, it will be able to start a meeting, call your colleagues or connect to a personal meeting room through commands. In time, Cisco claims it will also be able to assign action items and create meeting summaries.

The technology behind the assistant was developed by MindMeld, a company acquired by Cisco in May for a reported $125 million. Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM, applications group, Cisco, said in a statement that AI meeting bots will be “joining our work teams” during the “next five years”.

Amazon Echo and Google Home were among the most popular gifts during last year’s US holiday season. If people grow accustomed to talking to voice assistants in their own homes, they may feel confident doing so at work too. All of a sudden, Trollope’s five year estimate could start looking quite prescient.