Jun
19
2018
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Cisco buys July Systems to bring digital experience to the real world

Customer experience management is about getting to know your customer’s preferences in an online context, but pulling that information into the real world often proves a major challenge for organizations. This results in a huge disconnect when a customer walks into a physical store. This morning, Cisco announced it has bought July Systems, a company that purports to solve that problem.

The companies did not share the acquisition price.

July Systems connects to a building’s WiFi system to understand the customer who just walked in the door, how many times they have shopped at this retailer, their loyalty point score and so forth. This gives the vendor the same kind of understanding about that customer offline as they are used to getting online.

It’s an interesting acquisition for Cisco, taking advantage of some of its strengths as a networking company, given the WiFi component, but also moving in the direction of providing more specific customer experience services.

“Enterprises have an opportunity to take advantage of their in-building Wi-Fi for a broad range of indoor location services. In addition to providing seamless connectivity, Wi-Fi can help enterprises glean deep visitor behavior insights, associate these learnings with their enterprise systems, and drive better customer and employee experiences,” Cisco’s Rob Salvagno wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

As is often the case with these kinds of purchases, the two companies are not strangers. In fact, July Systems lists Cisco as a partner prominently on the company website (along with AWS). Customers include an interesting variety from Intercontinental Hotels Group to the New York Yankees baseball team.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research says the acquisition is also about taking advantage of 5G. “July Systems gives Cisco the ability to expand its localization and customer experience management (CXM) capabilities pre-5g and post-5g. The WiFi analytics improve CXM, but more importantly Cisco also gains a robust developer community,” Wang told TechCrunch.

According to reports, the company had over $67 billion in cash as of February. That leaves plenty of money to make investments like this one and the company hasn’t been shy about using their cash horde to buy companies as they try to transform from a pure hardware company to one built on services

In fact, they have made 211 acquisitions over the years, according to data on Crunchbase. In recent years they have made some eye-popping ones like plucking AppDynamics for $3.7 billion just before it was going to IPO in 2017 or grabbing Jasper for $1.4 billion in 2016, but the company has also made a host of smaller ones like today’s announcement.

July Systems was founded back in 2001 and raised almost $60 million from a variety of investors including Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, CRV and Motorola Solutions. Salvagno indicated the July Systems group will become incorporated into Cisco’s enterprise networking group. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of fiscal 2019.

May
01
2018
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Cisco is acquiring business intelligence startup Accompany for $270M

Cisco just announced an agreement to acquire Accompany, which uses artificial intelligence to build databases of people and relationships at companies.

Founder and CEO Amy Chang has compared the product to a digital chief of staff or personal assistant, giving executives the context they need before conversations and meetings. Cisco plans to incorporate Accompany technology into its collaboration products, for example by introducing company and individual profiles into Webex meetings.

Cisco says it will pay $270 million in cash and stock in the deal.

The company probably didn’t have to search too hard to find Accompany, since Chang (who previously served as the head of product for Google’s ad measurement and reporting) has been on Cisco’s board of directors since October 2016. As part of the transaction, she’s resigning from the board, effective immediately.

In addition, Chang will be taking over the company’s Collaboration Technology Group. Rowan Trollope, who currently leads the collaboration group, is departing to become CEO at cloud software company Five9.

“Amy has proven to be an effective and innovative leader through her years as an entrepreneur, an engineer, and CEO, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have her and the Accompany team join Cisco,” said Cisco chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins in the announcement. “Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to further enhance AI and machine learning capabilities in our collaboration portfolio and continue to create amazing collaboration experiences for customers.”

According to Crunchbase, Accompany has raised around $40 million in funding from investors including CRV, Cowboy Ventures, Iconiq Capital and Ignition Partners.

Cisco also announced today that it’s selling off some of its NDS video assets.

Feb
05
2018
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Businesses with Apple and Cisco products may now pay less for cybersecurity insurance

 Apple and Cisco announced this morning a new deal with insurer Allianz that will allow businesses with their technology products to receive better terms on their cyber insurance coverage, including lower deductibles – or even no deductibles, in some cases. Allianz said it made the decision to offer these better terms after evaluating the technical foundation of Apple and… Read More

Nov
02
2017
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Cisco Spark Assistant bringing voice commands to meeting hardware

 Anyone who has used modern meeting software knows it’s still fraught with challenges trying to get everyone into the meeting, futzing with the hardware or software and smoothly integrating external documents like PowerPoint presentations. Cisco is trying to improve and simplify the meeting experience with voice commands, and today it introduced Cisco Spark Assistant, a voice… Read More

Oct
25
2017
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Google and Cisco announce hybrid cloud partnership

 Google and Cisco today announced a new partnership around helping their customers build more efficient hybrid cloud solutions. Unsurprisingly, given Google’s recent focus, this partnership centers around the Google-incubated Kubernetes container orchestration tool, as well as the Istio service mesh for connecting and securing microservices across clouds. “Google Cloud and Cisco… Read More

Oct
23
2017
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Cisco scoops up BroadSoft for $1.9 billion to boost communications tools portfolio

 One thing is clear, Cisco is not afraid to use its considerable cash on hand to fill in holes in its product portfolio. Today it wrote out a big fat check for $1.9 billion to acquire BroadSoft, a Maryland company that delivers unified communications via service providers. The purchase gives Cisco a new way to sell its communications tools as it shifts its focus from a pure networking… Read More

Oct
19
2017
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Cisco to buy Perspica and fold engineering team into AppDynamics

 Cisco announced today that it intends to acquire Perspica, a machine learning-driven operations analytics firm that has raised $8.5 million. Cisco intends to fold Perspica’s team into AppDynamics, the company it purchased earlier this year for $3.7 billion. Cisco did not share the Perspica purchase price. All of these machinations have a purpose. Cisco is of course at its heart a… Read More

Oct
18
2017
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Now part of Cisco, AppDynamics update looks to deepen understanding of business performance

 When Cisco acquired AppDynamics in January for $3.7 billion, it was a big surprise as the company was on the verge of going public. While it’s probably too soon to say how intertwined it will become in the Cisco product family, it continues to march forward announcing an update to the products set at the AppD Summit this week in New York City.
Today’s announcements build on the… Read More

Oct
17
2017
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Cisco using AI and machine learning to help IT predict failures

Cisco headquarters. We have known for some time that the number of signals coming from your IT systems surpassed the ability for humans to keep track of them years ago. Machines can help and have been for some time. The advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning has accelerated that ability and today, Cisco announced that it is using these technologies to help customers find failures before they… Read More

Jul
13
2017
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Cisco acquires network security startup Observable Networks

Digital security key concept background with binary data code Underscoring the ongoing market demand for security services amid a growing threat of cyber breaches and malicious hacking among businesses that are moving to cloud-based infrastructures, Cisco announced it has acquired Observable Networks, a company that provides real-time network behavior monitoring to help IT teams detect anomalies that might be related to security breaches. Read More

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