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Cisco announced a few days ago it was opening up MindMeld as an open source platform. This is interesting. MindMeld seemed like a strange acquisition a few years back. Cisco was playing in both the natural language understanding and IoT space. MindMeld, originally a SaaS solution, eventually became a private hosted solution. Its selling feature was that companies could own the data and knowledge being generated through the software.

Maybe Cisco, noticing how NLU services are becoming commodity, is turning to another strategy. It might be giving out MindMeld for free in hopes that it will block clients from going with Google DialogFlow or Amazon Lex. Or maybe being open source, MindMeld will spur the development of new private offshoots that will form competition. This is similar to CoreNLP.

While NLU services are being driven to commodity, the next generation of services will do more than just slot filling and intent recognition. They’ll try to understand the context of a discussion and perhaps surface information during the interaction. For those looking to get into the game, maybe building off MindMeld will jumpstart their projects.

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