Cisco open-sourced its conversational AI for developers to build bots, intelligent assistants and applications for businesses. Previously leveraged by major brands, MindMeld which made its debut in November 2016 was acquired by Cisco for $125 million. Cisco’s webex assistant is made on the same platform. Cisco wants to strike a balance between providing access to advanced chatbot platforms such as TensorFlow to non-technical users such as Amazon Lex or Google DialogFlow.
MindMeld’s framework comes pre-built with a combination of machine learning and Python capabilities along with documentation. Moreso, the package holds blueprints for certain models that data scientists can use and build quickly. The result is bot development that can support rich media and adaption in industries such as –
- Food ordering
- Home assistant
- Media discovery templates
MindMeld’s former CEO stated that the platform will be released for free on Cisco’s DevNet portal and will come with a comprehensive user manual. However, so far, only 100-odd developers have tried this platform and with similar platforms such as Kasisto and Microsoft available in the market, Cisco may have a hard time seeing adaptability. Cisco says though that the market is ready to leverage tools that allow them to build advanced assistants. the platforms currently available are simple in functionality.
“Most NLP platforms really only solve half the problem. They allow you to build machine learning models that can understand entities and do simple dialog management, but for most conversational applications that’s not enough. You can’t do NLP and dialog management,” Tim Tuttle told a popular science daily. “For many real applications, you need to build a custom knowledge base and a question-answering system, and so our platform provides those pieces as well, and nearly all the other platforms don’t, so we think our platform is one of the most comprehensive, and we’re open-sourcing it so developers can learn how to build these applications.”