What if you could see, hear, speak to, and understand your customers in ways that you couldn’t before? It might sound too good to be true, but this technology exists. Microsoft’s Cognitive Services allows you to do just that.
What are Microsoft Cognitive Services, and what are some common use cases for this cutting-edge technology?
What Are Microsoft Cognitive Services?
Microsoft Cognitive Services are a set of AI-enabled services for organisations. They infuse apps, chatbots, and websites with intelligent algorithms. These algorithms allow firms to see, hear, understand, speak, and interpret user needs through natural methods of communication such as speech.
How do Microsoft Cognitive Services work? The technology's decision-making capabilities allow you to build apps that recommend choices to users. Thanks to AI, Microsoft Cognitive Services let you convert speech into text and back into natural-sounding speech once more. You can even translate from one language to another and enable speaker verification and recognition.
“Microsoft Cognitive Services are a set of AI-enabled services for organisations.”
In addition, Microsoft Cognitive Services help you process natural language with pre-built scripts. You can evaluate user sentiment to understand what your customers really want. Microsoft Cognitive Services can also recognise, identify, caption, index, and moderate your photos, videos, and digital content, saving you an enormous amount of time and effort.
With a single API call, Bing’s search API combs through billions of webpages, images, videos, and news to find the results you need. Locating information has never been easier.
How are organisations using these services to good effect?
Use Case 1: Computer Vision
Microsoft Cognitive Services has a number of APIs in its Vision category, which, as the name implies, gives apps the gift of sight through AI. Consider one particular use case – that of Computer Vision.
Computer Vision classifies images and recognises handwriting as well as optional characters. It also discerns scenes, activities, celebrities, and landmarks within an image. What can businesses do with those capabilities?
“Computer Vision gives the gift of sight through AI.”
One of the things that Computer Vision allows you to do is to analyse videos in near-real time. It extracts the video frames from your device and sends these frames to your chosen API calls. Given the popularity of user-generated video, this is a useful feature.
In 2013, 40 percent of Millennials admitted that user-generated videos had an impact on their decision to purchase a car. Clearly, user-generated video is a powerful force. It’s a force you can better understand with Computer Vision.
“User-generated video is a powerful force, and Computer Vision helps you understand it better.”
With Computer Vision, you can analyse user-generated videos to gain a sense of what your audience is saying about you and why. If there’s a problem, you learn about it faster (and solve it faster, as well). In contrast, if something is going right, you can determine what you’ve done and capitalise on your success.
Use Case 2: Speech-to-Text
Another of the Microsoft Cognitive Services categories is Speech. As the name implies, APIs in the Speech category allow you to “talk” to your customers, and for your customers to “talk” back.
One particular use case is the Speech-to-Text API. It enables real-time transcription of audio streams into text. Your applications, tools, or devices can consume, display, and take action as a result of these commands.
“Speech-to-Text enables real-time transcription of audio streams into text.”
The idea of speech-to-text has been around since the late 18th century. Recent advances in technology, such as the 2011 release of Siri for iOS, have brought speech-to-text to the masses.
How can you make this work for you? You could program your app to respond to voice commands. If a customer wanted to order a new product, the app could do that.
“An app could respond to voice commands, such as placing an order for a product.”
Such a capability would make it easier for your customers to do business with you. When it’s easier to do business with a company, more people want to become its customers.
Use Case 3: IoT
The Internet of Things has gone from sci-fi fantasy to a fact of life. By 2025, experts estimate there will be 75.4 billion connected devices. IoT is even taking a role in the enterprise.
Microsoft Cognitive Services offers a use case for IoT in assets and facilities management. IoT devices are connected to sensors that provide users with information on many things, including environmental conditions and how other devices are functioning.
“Microsoft Cognitive Services offers a use case for IoT in assets and facilities management.”
Suppose you run a factory with sensor-enabled equipment. Those sensors can tell you how well the equipment is working, how much it’s producing, and whether there are any glitches that will need fixing. With this information, you can engage in preventive maintenance.
Additionally, IoT-enabled thermostats and lighting can be programmed to operate at certain hours. If electricity is more expensive at certain points of the day than other times, the thermostats and lighting can adjust accordingly.
“IoT-enabled thermostats and lighting can be programmed to operate at certain hours.”
These capabilities save you time and money. By performing predictive maintenance on equipment, you don’t have to wait until it breaks down, causing expensive downtime. When you program your lighting and heating to work at less expensive times of the day, you save money on your utility bills (and you can point to your ecologically-friendly practices).
Enlighten: Helping You Get the Most out of Microsoft’s Applications
Enlighten was founded over two decades ago. Since our inception, we’ve prided ourselves on helping our customers satisfy their clients. We utilise technology that enables them to meet those needs.
We’re a proud partner of Microsoft. Enlighten works with its customers to ensure that Microsoft implementations go smoothly and satisfy our customers’ requirements. Microsoft Cognitive Services represent the cutting edge in AI; to learn more about use cases for your company, please contact us today.