As it hopes to keep pace with Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Cisco is acquiring noise removal and speech enhancement firm BabbleLabs to add another layer of noise reduction features to Webex meetings.
Cisco will bring that native noise removal capability to its entire collaboration portfolio, beginning with integrating BabbleLabs for Webex Meetings users on any device. The technology processes noise removal completely at the source of the noise, which aligns with Cisco’s strict data policy and security practices.
BabbleLabs utilizes advanced artificial intelligence to distinguish human speech from unwanted noise like barking dogs, loud vehicles driving by, lawnmowers and other unwanted sounds. The technology aims to go a bit further than existing noise suppression solutions by distinguishing speech from background noise, removing background noise in real time and enhancing speakers’ voices.
Once the acquisition closes in Cisco’s fiscal 2021, the BabbleLabs team will join the Cisco Collaboration Group.
According to Cisco, the move builds on the company’s investments in AI over the last three years as it hopes to make collaboration more intelligent, secure, effective and productive.
“A great meeting experience starts with great audio,” said Jeetu Patel, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Security and Applications Business Unit, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to welcome BabbleLabs’ team of highly skilled engineers. Their technology is going to provide our customers with yet another important innovation – automatically removing unwanted noise – to continue enabling exceptional Webex meeting experiences.”
In a statement, BabbleLabs CEO Chris Rowen said the team is excited to become part of Cisco’s collaboration group.
The Cisco team shares our passion about speech as the core of collaboration and communication. Cisco’s Collaboration platform will enable us to quickly scale our exceptional speech enhancement technology for the hundreds of millions of Webex users,” Rowen said.