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Cisco Collaboration to Acquire BabbleLabs For Noise-Blocking Know-How

The tech giant plans to incorporate BabbleLabs‘ noise removal and speech enhancement technology into the popular Webex platform to help users tune out distractions during video meetings.

Cisco Systems wants to help users block out the sounds of a rogue child, pet, or even lawn mower in the background of a video meeting.

The tech giant on Tuesday announced plans to buy privately-held BabbleLabs, Inc. for its noise removal and speech enhancement technology. Cisco said it will integrate BabbleLabs technology into the Cisco Collaboration platform, specifically, Webex.

The two companies are not disclosing financial details of the deal.

[Related: Cisco CEO: Security, Collaboration Big Areas Of Future Opportunity As COVID-19 Impacts Q3 Results]

BabbleLabs, a Campbell, Calif.-based startup, uses AI to distinguish human speech from unwanted noise. The firm‘s technology can enhance the quality of communications and conferencing applications by distinguishing speech from background noise, removing background noise in real-time, and enhancing voices to elevate communication, regardless of language, according to the company.

Unwanted background noise and sound issues on video calls are one of biggest issues facing users in today‘s work from home environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

“We’re putting an end to those noisy disruptions so you can get on with your work,” said Javed Khan, senior vice president and general manager of Webex and Cisco's collaboration business head in a blog post published Tuesday. “With the addition of BabbleLabs, we’ll bring … native noise removal capability to our Webex collaboration portfolio.”

Khan said Cisco is working on making the Webex experience “10X better” than in-person interactions. Noise removal is another way to keep video meetings running smoothly, he added. ”It’s not just remote workers at home or in coffee shops that will benefit. As we begin a safe return to the office, you’ll also be able to keep the video discussion rolling even with a noisy backdrop of coworkers crunching their chip bags and moving squeaky chairs around.”

From a security standpoint, BabbleLabs technology can process noise removal at the source or on the client side. Cisco said that BabbleLabs will align with its data policies to keep users secure.

The BabbleLabs team will join the Cisco Collaboration Group, led by Khan, which is part of the Cisco Security and Applications Business, led by Jeetu Patel, who joined the company in July.

Cisco expects the deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, to close by the end of its fiscal first quarter of 2021, which ends on Sept. 30.

 

 

 

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