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IBM unveiled IBM Watson Assistant this week at its IBM Think 2018 conference in Las Vegas. The smart enterprise assistant combines artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help deliver contextually relevant customer experiences.

IBM designed Watson Assistant for use in multiple settings, including cars, hotel rooms, retail stores, conference rooms and more. 

Officials said the assistant will combine a deep understanding of the user with awareness of these contexts when responding to requests, rather than providing publicly available information. The technology is delivered through the IBM Cloud and according to the company, will build its understanding of the user's needs with time.

"Along with IBM's deep expertise within the AI space, Assistant has a lot of variables that are setting it up for success," Juan José López Murphy, technical director and data science practice lead at Globant, said in a statement. "Alexa is just starting to integrate into more business settings and it will most likely be a while before it learns to adapt to multiple industries."

In other customer experience software news ...

Salesforce to Acquire MuleSoft

CRM giant Salesforce has agreed to acquire MuleSoft, provider of an API integration platform. The deal is valued at $6.5 billion, according to company officials.

Marc Benioff, Salesforce chairman and CEO, said in a statement the deal will help users connect information throughout their enterprise across all public and private clouds and data sources.

MuleSoft's platform is designed to help organizations build application networks that connect enterprise apps, data and devices, across any cloud and on-premises. MuleSoft will continue to build on its Anypoint Platform, and MuleSoft will power the new Salesforce Integration Cloud.

Widen Marks 70 Years in Business

Digital asset management software provider Widen celebrated 70 years in business this week. Founded in 1948, the company started as a family-owned plate-engraving business and grew into a global technology company. 

In 1948, Emily and Arthur Widen founded Widen Engraving to provide engraved plates for newspaper presses. Son Mark Widen expanded the company's services into additional pre-press services, film negatives and color printing. In 1985, Widen invested $3 million in color scanners and Scitex equipment. In the mid-1990s, the company put $4 million into digital printing services and an R&D program and then an image database system — hence the birth of its DAM story. 

About 75 percent of Widen’s revenue now comes from technology, and its team of software employees grew from 15 in 2009 to more than 100 in 2017.  

Clari Closes $35 Million in New Funding 

Clari, which provides AI solutions for sales, announced it closed $35 million in financing led by Tenaya Capital. Participating alongside Tenaya Capital were Thomvest Ventures and Blue Cloud Ventures and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital Ventures and Northgate Capital. Officials said the company will use the money to scale sales and marketing, and accelerate product innovation for Clari's AI-based Opportunity-to-Close solutions.

"We see a massive opportunity for AI to transform how sales teams operate which is clearly validated by Clari's customers and the impressive growth the team has achieved," Brian Paul, managing director at Tenaya Capital, said in a statement.

Amperity Reveals Databases 

Amperity, which provides an intelligent customer data platform, announced the general availability of its Databases functionality, which provides multiple views of the customer. 

Amperity's Databases functionality is designed to help users build multiple, unified customer views, connecting rich data stores to form customer profiles at scale. This functionality helps customers avoid the false positives and negatives that are common in legacy customer data solutions, according to company officials.

G2 Crowd Names Eisenberg to Board

G2 Crowd, a crowdsourced business solutions review website, has appointed Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB, to its board of directors. "I’ve been following G2 Crowd since the company was founded in 2012," Eisenberg said in a statement. "The explosive growth the company has achieved is a testament to the power of the crowd."

Eisenberg has worked for companies like DocuSign, ArcSight (an HP company) and TRIRIGA (acquired by IBM). In her current role with MongoDB, she leads the marketing strategy and execution. She also serves as a strategic advisor for more than a dozen tech companies including, CoreOS (acquired by RedHat), ZenIQ, Insightpool, Mintigo, TinyPulse, Apptimize, SumoLogic and Accompany.

Acquia Partners with Magento Commerce

Digital experience platform provider Acquia released Acquia Commerce Manager this week. The product integrates commerce solutions from Magento with the Acquia Platform and Drupal web content management with the goal of providing customers a "frictionless buying experience."