Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a major talking point in the tech world for some time now, and Microsoft is no exception. Recently, Microsoft released a new tool to help developers leverage AI capabilities - Azure AI. Azure AI provides users with powerful tools that can be used to create innovative solutions using machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, and more.
In this blog, we’ll go into more detail about Azure AI, what it is, its capabilities, and its applications.
In this blog, you will find:
What is AI?
Let's start with what AI or Artificial intelligence is. AI is the ability of a computer system to learn from experience and data, understand patterns in data, and make decisions or predictions based on this knowledge, among other capabilities. It mimics human-like abilities. AI’s potential is endless, with the ability to see and interpret the world through video or images and the ability to listen by interpreting, transcribing, and translating written or spoken language. AI can also carry a dialogue, also known as Conversational AI, and reason by understanding relationships between people, things, places, and events. These capabilities can help the system recognize inconsistencies, make personalized recommendations, and much more.
What is Azure AI?
Azure AI refers to a broad suite of artificial intelligence services and tools available on Microsoft Azure. It encompasses a range of services and capabilities that enable developers and data scientists to build, deploy, and manage AI applications and solutions. Azure AI includes various components such as Azure Machine Learning, Azure Cognitive Services, and Azure Applied AI Services. It provides a comprehensive set of tools and services to support different AI scenarios, including machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and more.
Azure AI services have made breakthroughs in the categories of vision, speech, and language in AI following years of research.
Azure AI has been used in applications that you may already be familiar with:
- 🖼️ PowerPoint real-time translation for captions
- 📄 PowerPoint template generation
- ⚠️ Advanced threat detection in security tools
- 🎮 Personalized experiences on Xbox
- 💬 Transcribing speech within Microsoft Teams
Microsoft puts an emphasis on developing responsible AI, with transparency, without the use of personal or customer data, in its models and focuses on privacy concerns.
Capabilities of Azure AI: What does that mean for you?
Azure AI enables developers and other experienced professionals to create models to help with their specific business use cases, but what if you aren't a professional?
Microsoft has you covered with pre-built models and even an AI builder which helps you create models without any experience. It includes a no-code experience to train models and integrate them into apps with Microsoft's Power Platform. Microsoft offers services to help you utilize and create models that will help your organization integrate AI into your daily operations.
Azure applied AI services
Azure applied AI services consist of Azure's Bot Service, Cognitive Search, Form Recognizer, Video Indexer, Metrics Advisor, and Immersive Reader. See some scenario-specific AI services in the image above.
🤖 The Azure Bot Service enables you to develop bots that can enhance your customer and employee experience with Q&A bots or allow you to create your own branded virtual assistant.
🔎Azure Cognitive Search enables you to search through data and content to utilize all the resources in your organization. It includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and tools to help your search experience.
📄 Form Recognizer extracts key information from forms and receipts. It helps save time and automates data extraction from reports, forms, and other documents.
📊 Metrics Advisor monitors the performance of your organization's growth engines from sales revenue to manufacturing operations. It helps identify and fix problems through a combination of monitoring in real-time, adapting models to your scenario, and offering details analysis with diagnostics and alerting.
👓Immersive Reader implements proven techniques to improve reading comprehension for new readers, language learners, and people with learning differences. This includes some features like isolating text, displaying pictures for common words, highlighting types of words (nouns, verbs, etc...), translating text, and more.
Azure Cognitive Services - 4 Categories
Azure Cognitive Services provide the most comprehensive portfolio of customized AI models on the market and was the first AI service to achieve human parody in computer vision, speech, and language. Azure Cognitive Services can be split into four core categories:1. Vision - Vision AI is a technology that analyzes and identifies the content in images and videos. It can help your apps organize and label content by using prebuilt models. Vision AI can also recognize objects and extract printed and handwritten text. You can create a custom vision AI model for your specific needs by simply uploading and naming a few images.
GE Aviation uses Azure Computer Vision to quickly convert hand-written and printed documents to digital format to modernize their maintenance records system.
2. Language - Azure AI has language capabilities that allow applications, such as chatbots, to understand natural language. This includes the ability to translate over 70 languages for multinational corporations and call centers. Additionally, pre-built models are available to identify key phrases and entities in text, as well as to perform sentiment analysis.
Developers at British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) use Azure's language understanding service to help their virtual assistant with user requests.
3. Speech - Integrate speech processing into your apps and services to translate text to speech, speech to text, or even to create an enabled virtual assistant. It has the ability to translate languages and terms in real-time through speech.
Motorola uses Azure's text-to-speech and speech-to-text models to help emergency first responders gain faster access to important information through a voice-powered virtual assistant.
4. Decision Making - Make smarter decisions faster and create safe and positive user experiences with content moderation capabilities that can detect and filter potentially inappropriate messages, audio, video, and images. Deliver personalized experiences for people who use your website or application with models that improve over time based on consumer behavior.
Azure's Machine Learning
Azure Machine Learning will enable you to quickly build, train and deploy advanced or no-code machine learning models for all experience levels. On this platform, you can create models not knowing anything about coding with their drag-and-drop experience. If you are experienced, you can use code to create machine learning models through Azure's Machine Learning platform.
It can be difficult to understand all the capabilities of Azure AI and how they can benefit your organization. To help spark ideas, here are some industry-specific use cases that demonstrate how this technology can be leveraged.
Azure AI Use Cases by Industry
Enable predictive care - Use health data to provide tailored patient care and improve their experience, ensuring they receive the appropriate treatment at the necessary moment.
Improve operational outcomes - Transform disorganized health documents into digital format and update processes to facilitate the extraction of valuable insights and data related to health on a large scale.
Accelerate innovation - Use AI to speed up clinical research and scientific innovation, resulting in improved care delivery, faster drug discovery, quicker diagnoses, and modernized treatments.
Improve customer experiences - Utilize machine learning to identify customer trends and patterns to create targeted campaigns and personalized experiences that maximize the return on investment. Additionally, ensure accurate data tracking and organization.
Optimize customer assistance - Use virtual agents powered by AI to manage many customer service requests and gain insights into customer emotions, which can help enhance procedures and improve accountability.
Optimize stock replenishment - By utilizing spatial analysis, it is possible to gain a better understanding of where the high-traffic areas are within a store aisle, allowing optimization of product placement. In addition, real-time insights on checkout lines with high queue length or dwell time can also be obtained.
Azure AI and AI have already shown what they can do; here are some current applications of this technology with some brands you may know.
Azure AI Success Stories
National Basketball Association (NBA)
The NBA was sitting on a lot of data, not knowing what to do with it. Leveraging Azure AI, NBA rolled out a new direct-to-consumer platform where they can deliver personalized and meaningful content to fans. Azure AI was used to turn billions of data points into insightful metrics about the games, teams, and players to engage fans.
With all the competition in the market, it was important to provide their consumers (fans) with the most immersive, frictionless, and personalized experiences to set themselves apart.
As a trailblazer in the aerospace industry, Airbus consistently strives to meet the evolving demands of its aerospace and defense clientele with groundbreaking solutions. Leveraging the power of Azure AI, Airbus has achieved remarkable advancements, revolutionizing pilot training and revolutionizing the prediction of aircraft maintenance issues. Furthermore, Azure's containerization capabilities have enabled Airbus engineering teams to deliver air-gapped solutions, catering to their most stringent regulatory requirements.
Azure AI and Azure Open AI have a lot of potential in many different industries. Whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, there are options to find the right level of AI that best works for your organization's needs. With already existing success stories such as Microsoft, the NBA, and Airbus, it is evident how powerful this technology can be in the right hands. Technology is here and here to stay, so don't get left behind.
Harnessing the Power of Azure's Artificial Intelligence for a Smarter Future
Azure AI has powerful tools and capabilities for businesses of all sizes. With the right implementation, organizations can leverage these technologies to improve their customer experiences, optimize operations and decision-making processes, and gain valuable insights into consumer behavior. As demonstrated by the NBA’s direct-to-consumer platform and Airbus’ pilot training and predictive aircraft maintenance capabilities, this technology has a wide range of applications in different industries. Organizations should be aware of the potential benefits that Azure AI offers so they don't get left behind as more companies start leveraging its power.