Cisco announced a partnership Monday with bot-building platforms Gupshup and API.ai that allows thousands of bots to quickly join Cisco Spark and Cisco Tropo platforms. It also turns up the intensity in competition between enterprise team communication chat apps like Skype and Slack.
The announcement was made during Cisco Live, a four-day Cisco event taking place in Las Vegas this week.
Gupshup built an SMS social network of more than 50 million users, mainly in India, before becoming an enterprise messaging service company in 2010. Today, it processes four billion messages a month. Machine learning and bot builder company API.ai is an early leader in conversational user interfaces. In 2014 API.ai opened the API to its auditory personal assistant, which predates Cortana, Alexa, and Siri.
The integration extends Cisco’s reach to more than 50,000 API.ai developers. Roughly 2,500 developers have made 4,000 bots since Gupshup opened its bot platform earlier this year, said CEO Beerud Sheth. More than 30,000 SMS developers also use Gupshup.
Cisco Spark has been busy in recent months.
Following an $80 million investment in developers’ bot ideas made by Slack in December 2015, in March, Cisco created the Spark Innovation Fund, a $150 million pledge to direct investment in Cisco Spark bots.
Last month, Cisco partnered with IBM to integrate software from the legacy tech giant and Watson’s A.I. and natural language processing with its own products, starting with Cisco Spark. That partnership will begin by pairing Cisco and IBM software for chat, email, and video conferences.
“Every bot on our platform will now automatically work with Cisco Spark,” Sheth said.
Both Gupshup and API.ai allow the quick creation of bots for a dozen voice or chat apps, from Slack to Facebook Messenger to Twilio.