Cisco brings some (real) friends to the chat-bot party

The next time you chat with someone on Cisco Systems’ Spark messaging service, that someone may not be a co-worker — or even a person. Welcome to the world of bots.

On Monday at the Cisco Live conference, Cisco said it’s working with the messaging company Gupshup so more developers can bring their bots into Spark. It also introduced a partnership with Api.ai, a natural-language software company, in part to help developers build interfaces where users can just talk to bots.

Bots aren’t brand-new to Spark, but Gupshup prides itself on its chat-bot development platform, which is designed to make it easy to build bots and make them available through popular communications channels. The list already includes Facebook, Skype, Twitter and Slack.

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