Cisco to Acquire Noise Removal Technology Leader, BabbleLabs
Enabling Webex Video Meetings Anywhere Without Distraction
If you are working from home, your team is surely getting to know you a little better over video, maybe in unexpected ways. The cat that strolls into your meeting, kids running by in costumes. Where it can all get interesting is when a leaf blower, a vacuum, or a barking best friend barges in on the conversation. It’s tough to come off as professional when your words are lost to a lawn mower.
We’re putting an end to those noisy disruptions so you can get on with your work. Today we are pleased to announce the intent to acquire privately held BabbleLabs. BabbleLabs is at the forefront of using advanced AI techniques to distinguish human speech from any unwanted noise. That means vacuums, sirens and other distracting noises are silenced and your voice comes through clearly. With the addition of BabbleLabs, we’ll bring this native noise removal capability to our Webex collaboration portfolio.
The need is widespread. According to a Cisco global survey* focused on the future of work, 98 percent of workers say they experience frustration from distractions during video meetings when working from home. Two of the top 5 frustrations called out are about background noise—either from other participants or their own side of the call.
See noise removal with Webex in action:
Intelligence that makes calls and video meetings ‘better than being there’
We’re working on making the Webex experience 10X better than in-person interactions, and noise removal is another way to keep meetings flowing. And 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.
We’ve had a focused technology and talent strategy integrating intelligence into the Webex platform over the last three years, and BabbleLabs is an important addition. Noise removal and speech enhancement join a powerful portfolio of intelligence capabilities to help people love the way they work. Some examples:
Before a Meeting: Insight into people attending the meeting, see who’s on before you join, check video frame, touchless pair and join
During a Meeting: Best-in-class audio and video, optimized video for bandwidth, blurred or custom background across any OS, touchless sharing of ideas and files, digital whiteboarding, automated note taking, live transcription, capture action items
After a Meeting: Automatically send meeting notes and action items
The industry’s most advanced noise removal and speech enhancement technology
Background noise suppression has become table stakes; BabbleLabs’s noise removal technology goes beyond alternative noise suppression technology solutions by:
Distinguishing speech from background noise;
Removing background noise in real-time; and
Enhancing your voice to elevate communication, independent of language.
As we continue to bring work into the privacy of our homes, it’s also important that the technology is secure, and that our data is private. BabbleLabs complements Cisco’s focus on secure collaboration by processing noise removal at the source where the noise happens (on the client side). BabbleLabs will align with Cisco’s strict data policies, complementing our longstanding commitment to security and privacy and the culture of security we’ve built. All of this enables Webex to deliver a great user experience and helps our customers stay safe.
On behalf of the Webex team, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the BabbleLabs team, and am excited to deliver customers this important capability so people have an exceptional meeting experience from wherever they may work. And we’re not stopping here. We’ll continue to innovate on the video and audio experience with some exciting things up our sleeves for the months ahead.
* Soon to be released, this survey covers the changing working environment as a result of COVID 19. In July 2020 we surveyed 1,569 qualified participants globally — knowledge workers, IT, HR and facilities professionals at small to larger enterprise companies representing all seniority levels. China, APAC, EMEA, and North America.