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Cisco bought communications tech firms to boost application business

  • Cisco acquired IMImobile and Slido as the company continues its effort to boost its software applications business.
  • And the pandemic’s impact on remote work highlighted Cisco’s need to bolster software offerings for clients trying to augment their contact center capabilities.
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Cisco acquired UK-based IMImobile, a customer service software-maker, for $730 million in an effort to build up capabilities for cloud-based contact center services. The company also announced it was acquiring privately held Slovakia-based Slido, a provider of video conferencing audience-interaction tools, for an undisclosed sum.

enterprise use of collaboration tools

Cisco is looking to boost its software applications business.

Insider Intelligence


The IMImobile deal is focused on managing cloud-based customer communications with cloud-based contact center technology, while the Slido deal adds interactivity to Cisco’s Webex communications service. Both acquisitions are expected to close in early 2021 and will be incorporated into Cisco’s Collaboration business unit. Taken together, the deals reflect Cisco’s continuing effort to boost its applications business amid sagging sales in its core networking business.

The pandemic’s dramatic impact on remote work has highlighted Cisco’s need to bolster software offerings for clients trying to augment their contact center capabilities. Cisco noted that its enterprise customers are increasingly moving towards adoption of contact center technology in a cloud-based services model.

One reason for this is that contact centers have had to adapt quickly to stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic; a cloud-based delivery model enables customer service representatives to work remotely with a full-featured set of tools. Cisco’s goal is to enable better customer experiences through faster interactions on any communication channel the consumer is using, according to the press release. Upon completion of the acquisition, the IMImobile team will join Cisco’s Contact Center business unit.

Webex has been a growing part of Cisco’s business, but competitors like Zoom have been staying ahead by adding new features and making the product easier to use than traditional video conferencing services. Webex was acquired by Cisco in 2007 for $3.2 billion. In that regard, Cisco was far ahead of the curve in video conferencing, but as the pandemic spurred adoption of web-based conferencing and collaboration tools, consumers rapidly migrated to newer competitors like Zoom which focused on ease of use and offered features like customizable backgrounds and background noise-cancellation technology.

With Slido, Webex customers will gain the ability to manage interactive elements such as polls and surveys in video conferencing platforms. Slido, whose technology works with all major video conferencing platforms, has managed to accumulate 7 million users and become profitable, according to TechCrunch. The Slido acquisition comes after the October 2020 acquisition of BabbleLabs for noise reduction and speech enhancement technology and its purchase in August 2019 of Voicea, which provides automated meeting transcriptions.

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