IBM and Cisco will be taking the chat bot to a whole new level, as the companies announced yesterday a new partnership to develop what they’re calling “intelligent collaboration.” If you ever wanted your own real life HAL 9000 computer, well it looks like we might be one step closer.

Intelligent Collaboration?

Together IBM and Cisco will develop a new joint collaboration solution, leveraging IBM’s Verse email hosting solution, Connections, the companies’ business social networking platform, and of course Watson – along with Cisco’s WebEx and Spark collaboration suites. This new “Watson powered solution” will offer a personal assistant in a totally new way.

The announcement explains that through combined advanced analytics, email, social and collaboration solutions, together the companies will provide “the right insights in the right context.” This means Watson will be involved in almost every step of the way, providing insight and analysis at a totally new level.

Watson differs from your generic, run of the mill super computer, in that it is able to answer questions in normal, natural language – you don’t have to try and dissect or translate any binary code. This gives Watson a pretty big edge, allowing it to drop in and offer insight directly into your conversation with natural language, written as if it was one of your colleagues.

“Open the Q2 sales analysis sheet, Watson.” “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that.”

In a more serious note, this opens up a huge new field for powerful, and more importantly, contextual insight and analysis. Jens Meggers, GM of Cisco’s Clould Collaboratrion Technology Group explained in a recent Cisco blog post introducing the partnership. Watson is a powerful tool that will add a whole new level of functionality to your collaboration, directly in your workflow.

“This integrated platform will leverage the power of Watson to analyze the unstructured data in our conversations, content, and workflows, providing insights and expertise to continuously improve the way we work,” he wrote.

In their announcement, IBM provided an interesting example for how this new system can enable a next level of collaboration. Through the new Watson-powered collaboration tool, a “financial advisor could meet with a high value investor over Cisco video with a Watson service offering real-time advice and handling tasks, while files would be securely stored and available in IBM connections, shared through WebEx for a seamless transaction.”

So What’s It All Mean

IBM also explained in their announcement how the new solution will incorporate structured and unstructured data in any form from desktop, cloud or on-premise. “With applications to handle hundreds of work-related tasks, they are built to seek, consume and analyze all types of data, uncover meaningful workflow patterns, and provide actionable insights through the course of daily activities and interactions,” the announcement said.

Safe to say both companies are hoping to combine their unique offerings into an incredibly powerful, all round solution. One of the major pain points of productivity seems to be the sheer number of apps workers are tasked with managing, but Cisco and IBM seem to have a deeply integrated solution that will keep everything working together without any hiccups.