Ganesh Padmanabhan, vice president with CognitiveScale, courtesy photo.

The fourth industrial revolution is one in which machines and humans work together to solve problems and accomplish tasks.

And it’s already here.

One of the leaders in the space is CognitiveScale, a five-year-old Austin-based startup, that announced Tuesday it is partnering with Dell to create a new way to interact with customers using its software platform.

CognitiveScale’s Cortex 5 software relies on machine learning and artificial intelligence to cull through massive databases to find the golden nuggets of information companies need to better serve their customers.

“We are pairing humans and machines to improve customer relations,” said Ganesh Padmanabhan, vice president of market development at CognitiveScale. He previously was general manager of Converged Solutions at Dell and an Entrepreneur in Residence at Capital Factory.

Dell, based in Round Rock, chose CognitiveScale and its Cortex 5 software to handle its customer relations.
But CognitiveScale’s Cortex 5 software delivers much more than just a customer relations management program, Padmanabhan said.

“How do we help customers get disruptive value out of disruptive technology,” Padmanabhan said. “In a nutshell, we make AI practical, scalable and valuable.”

Dell, which merged with EMC in 2016 to form the world’s largest tech company, is on a massive transformation journey, Padmanabhan said. And CognitiveScale has built the next generation customer intelligence platform to help them serve all their customers on a variety of platforms, Padmanabhan said. It can deliver a personalized experience to Dell’s customers easily and efficiently, he said. The software taps into multiple sources of data from transaction history, support history, call center interactions, browsing on the website, and more to deliver a custom-tailored customer experience, he said.

CognitiveScale’s technology is like Waze, the intelligent traffic app, Padmanabhan said. Waze sources information in real time and makes recommendations to drivers on the best alternative route to take in traffic. That’s similar to the role CognitiveScale’s Cortex 5 software plays in making the customer’s journey better, he said.

“Dell is committed to leveraging emerging technologies to transform customer experience while helping our marketing and sales professionals meet the rapidly changing expectations of today’s empowered customers,” Cameron Sojan, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Engagement Platforms at Dell, said in a news release. “We are pleased to partner with CognitiveScale on this innovative initiative that will apply artificial intelligence in a practical, scalable and responsible manner to build deeper, more profitable customer relationships by providing real-time insights into rich behavioral data across every phase of the customer lifecycle.”

CognitiveScale, with 150 employees and 90 in Austin, also has offices in New York, London, and Hyderabad, India. The company is hiring and has 62 open positions listed on its Website.

Overall, Austin is becoming a hotbed of activity in the AI industry with companies like CognitiveScale, Cerebri AI, OJO Labs, SparkCognition, and Hypergiant. And AI Global, a nonprofit organization focused on accelerating the adoption of AI, is based in Austin.

“The Austin scene around AI is emerging and talent is hot, and hiring is hard,” Padmanabhan said. But the atmosphere is more collaborative than competitive, he said.

CognitiveScale has raised $50 million to date from Norwest Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, the Westly Group and USAA.

Manoj Saxena, formerly general manager of IBM Watson, is the company’s chairman and Akshay Sabhikhi is its CEO. Previously, Sabhikhi was the global leader for Smarter Care at IBM.

CognitiveScale focuses on creating AI solutions for financial services, healthcare, and digital commerce markets. Its customers include 25 Fortune 500 companies including USAA, Morgan Stanley, NBC, JPMorgan Chase, ExxonMobil, and MD Anderson.