We are living in the age of digital revolution where smart devices like iPhone know our target destination, suggest words when we text, detect faces of our friends in images and do many other things that were unimaginable till a few years back.

Further technological marvels like Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications (Tesla– the driverless cars, Siri– Apple’s pseudo-intelligent digital personal assistant, Alexa – Amazon’s smart personal assistant etc.), robots, drones, 3D printers and more have modified the Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ to survival of the ‘fittest & smartest’. 🙂

Today in this ‘second machine age’ (as quoted by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee), be it a system or a network, it is considered a failure if it does not possess intelligence. All the smart and intelligent devices use some or the other kind of ‘machine learning’ behind the scenes to get smarter, predict and understand our natural-language questions and requests.

Artificial intelligence is one such activity that is devoted to make computers and machines function intelligently- adaptive to individual needs.

AI based applications have disrupted every single vertical and business process. Its impact is visible in education, healthcare, customer service, targeted treatment, public safety, transportation, entertainment and more sectors. It is expected to gain prominence in all the fields in the coming years.

Google, Amazon, IBM, Facebook, and other IT companies have been developing machine learning protocols and building algorithms to accelerate the delivery of new AI capabilities to their customers.

Microsoft too makes new and improved AI algorithms easily available and accessible to everyone – developers, data scientists, tech enthusiasts and students, via Azure Cognitive Services – a unique combination of Artificial Intelligence and Microsoft cloud.

Microsoft Cognitive Services – the most comprehensive AI platform for developers

Launched at the Build conference in 2015, Microsoft Cognitive Services is a suite of APIs, SDKs and services, using which developers can make their applications more user engaging by adding intelligent features like – understanding emotions, language, speech of users, recognition of facial gestures, speech, vision and video detection.

It helps developers to:

  • Augment their capabilities, build applications that are easily discoverable and create better customer experiences with unique customization options.
  • Use their own data with customizable algorithms.
  • Participate in the broader research community to develop better understanding of the cutting-edge cognitive computing technology.
  • Have more intuitive and natural experiences by controlling and interacting gestures.

How Azure Cognitive Services help developers easily add intelligent services and search capabilities to their solutions?

Intelligent applications are precisely those which understand “Why” behind “What” and Microsoft Cognitive Services enable developers to develop such applications by adding intelligent services and search capabilities to them across different devices and platforms.

The Cognitive Services APIs include:

1. Vision API- Powerful Analysis of Images

Azure Cognitive Services

This API tool helps developers to create personalized applications and derive insights from the images about emotions and faces.

Vision API tools include Computer Vision, Emotion, Video Indexer, Face, Video, Content Moderator and Custom Vision Service.

These tools enable developers to understand the visual content of an image to create object identifying tags and craft image describing sentences. Developers can further recognize handwritten text and optical characters, analyze video in real-time, and search text and content in video. Also, they can generate thumbnails to modify images best suited to their needs.

With these tools, developers can analyze facial expressions and recognize set of emotions in images and videos. The tools generate insights about video content, provide functionality for face verification, detection and face identification that help developers organize people into groups as per visual similarities.

Developers can also stabilize shaky videos, detect and track faces, detect motion, generate video thumbnails and customize a computer vision model to their own unique use cases and machine assisted moderation of text, images and videos augmented with human review tools.

2. Speech API- Speech Conversion to Text

This API enables developers to recognize and translate speech.

Speech API tools include Custom Speech Service, Translator Speech, Speaker Recognition and Bing Speech APIs.

With all the above-mentioned APIs, developers can add speech translation to their applications, convert spoken audio to text to build voice enabled apps, identify different speakers and overcome speech recognition barriers -vocabulary, speaking style, noise etc.

3. Language API- Analysis of Text

Language API gives developers the ability to recognize what their customers want by faster evaluation and understanding of sentiments and language processing.

Language API tools include LUIS, Bing Spell Check, Web Language Model, Text Analytics, Translator Text, and Linguistic Analysis.

These tools help developers to build their own custom models for user interaction, correct spell checking, automate and fix the website language, detect sentiments – key phrases, topics, and language from text, translate text from one language to other, and use advanced linguistic analysis tools for Natural Language Processing (NLP).

4. Knowledge API- Complex Information Mapping

Knowledge API helps developers to solve tasks like semantic search by information mapping.

Knowledge API tools include Recommendation, Academic Knowledge, QnA Maker, Entity Linking, Custom Decision and Knowledge exploration services.

Knowledge API tools allow developers to predict users’ interests and access academic content. It enables interactive search experience over structured data via natural language inputs, helps build question and answers based on existing content, provide functionality of data links with named entity recognition and disambiguation, and contextual decision making.

5. Search API – Build Smarter and More Engaging Apps And Websites

Search APIs help developers to bring the vast knowledge of the web to their users and benefit from improved performance, new sorting and filtering options, robust documentation, and easy Quick Start guides.

Bing API tools include Autosuggest, Video Search, Image Search, Web Search, News Search, and Custom Search.

With this API, help users search faster with suggestions, add image search options for trending images, convert any application into a news search resource, and add different video search features. This API helps your apps get intelligent search details from webpages, videos and images with a click.

Subscribe to Microsoft Azure to start using Azure Cognitive Services today.

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