BabbleLabs Acquisition Marks Important Milestone for Voice and Speech Technology

By Vijay Reddy, Srini Ananth and Arun Chetty

The announcement today that BabbleLabs will be acquired by Cisco is great recognition of the impact Chris Rowen and the extraordinary team at BabbleLabs have made with their deep learning speech enhancement software, which is powering breakthrough voice applications and devices.

And we see this milestone for BabbleLabs as validation that voice and speech technologies are getting ready for prime time in the enterprise – helping people interact with mission-critical applications in new and efficient ways.

In little more than a year from the Series A investment Intel Capital co-led with Dell Technologies Capital, the BabbleLabs team of neural network researchers, speech processing architects, signal processing researchers, and audio software experts have accomplished breakthroughs in speech enhancement, command recognition, and speech analytics both in the cloud and on the edge.

Intel Capital is committed to supporting ongoing innovation in speech and voice technologies, and excited to help companies like BabbleLabs expand the use of these systems, including integrating state-of-the-art speech and voice into intelligent agents, business intelligence applications, collaboration software, CRM, and more.

As early backers of Nuance (IPO), iFlytek(IPO), Mindmeld (Cisco), Api.ai (Google), Avaamo, ForteMedia, and Nexmo, we continue to be excited by the adoption of voice across a wide range of use cases and its path to becoming a credible interface for enterprise applications.

Humans have communicated through voice for a long time, benefitting from a seamless ability to convey information, emotion, and humor through speech. Translating those characteristics and benefits of voice to enterprise scenarios has been a challenge, but we believe voice as an interface is one of the most promising applications in artificial intelligence (AI). As Andrew Ng, CEO of Intel Capital portfolio company Landing.ai, has said: "As speech-recognition accuracy goes from 95 percent to 99 percent, we'll go from barely using it to using it all the time."

If you are an entrepreneur working on voice/speech technologies, please reach out. We look forward to partnering with you!