The merger between social intelligence firms Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon — announced Thursday — will lead to a new platform that integrates social media listening and research about markets, brands and consumers.

That’s according to Brandwatch CEO and co-founder Giles Palmer. He acknowledged that both companies have essentially “solved the same problem” of helping brands understand what was being said about them, and about topics that interest them on social media.

More machine learning, better UI. But, he added, Crimson Hexagon, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company founded on Harvard research, has more extensive capabilities for AI and machine learning than his company’s few data scientists.

On the other hand, he said, Brandwatch offers a greater scale and a better user interface. In the integrated platform that will emerge in about a year, Palmer said marketers will get the best of both, as well as an improved customer service that draws from Brandwatch’s more tech-focused team and from Crimson’s more customer-oriented service.

Additionally, he said, the newly enlarged firm — called Brandwatch — will pursue innovative technology through an engineering team of nearly 200.

Palmer noted that existing Crimson Hex customers will be able to continue their accounts for up to three years if they so desire, even past the point when the integrated platform will launch. Crimson Hex will continue its Cambridge office, and Brandwatch, based near London, will expand its New York branch.

Why it matters. This evolution of Brandwatch into a social media-based business intelligence platform echoes Sprinklr’s announcement last year that it was evolving into a social media-based customer experience platform. Given social media’s power as a mainstream communications tool for U.S. Presidents and others, it’s likely that other social platforms will similarly expand their capabilities into related areas.

This merger with Crimson Hexagon is Brandwatch’s latest addition to its intelligence arsenal. A year ago, it announced the acquisition of content/influencer tracking platform BuzzSumo, which found such things as trending topics. In 2014, Brandwatch bought social influence startup PeerIndex, and turned its data and tech into its Audiences product.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.

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