Enterprises Can Create Future-proof AI-Centric Development and Deployment Solutions with Azure
Imagine a business application that can emulate human perception and thinking. This is the promise of Artificial Intelligence or AI. The use of AI and Machine Learning has the power to transform modern industry and business processes. The age of smart algorithms and intelligent programs will define the 21st century. As businesses prepare to deal with the inevitable changes, they are increasingly focusing on integrating AI into their current technology ecosystems. A major goal of the efforts is to create AI-centric business solutions that will power the people and processes of tomorrow.
Microsoft Azure contains an entire suite of services, tools, and frameworks that help enterprises in their goal of becoming future-proof. The set of tools is called Azure AI Platform and is the most comprehensive and convenient way to leverage the power of the cloud and build smarter applications. You and your team can learn how to utilize these powerful services by signing up for Azure training and certifications such as Developing Azure solutions and Azure Fundamentals. Here we describe the three core Azure AI services that have become synonymous with enterprise-scale solutions. We also review a few common business problems that can be solved by using Azure’s AI Platform. However, first let’s understand how the process of incorporating AI into your business applications actually works.
The Three-Step Process of Building AI-Centric Solutions
The process of incorporating AI into your enterprise solutions follows three basic steps. The specifics obviously depend on the particular use case, but in general, these three steps are the backbone of the effort. Azure’s flexible pre-built tools remove most of the hassle from the overall process. You can choose from off-the-shelf technology or create a customized solution from scratch.
Data Preparation: Prepare or ingest data by connecting to data sources or streams.
Building and Model Training: Create a model and train it, using the data.
Deployment: Go live and deploy the solution while tracking its performance.
The Three Azure AI Services
The Azure AI Platform consists of three services that contain various tools and technologies that can be integrated with each other to design next-gen applications. Here is a short overview of each service and its components.
Azure Cognitive Services
Create applications that emulate human speech, vision, natural communication methods, and image processing to solve complex business problems. Azure Cognitive Services is a collection of services and APIs that allow developers to design smarter applications. AI-powered apps are more engaging because they utilize powerful algorithms that interpret human modes of communication. You can add features such as sentiment analysis, speech recognition, image recognition and more to your current solutions.
These services are divided into five categories and multiple subcategories. (Refer to the official Cognitive Services Directory for detailed information)
Cognitive Service Type
Speech to Text
Text to Speech
Bing Spell Check
Bing Web Search
Bing Custom Search
Bing Visual Search
Bing Entity Search
Bing News Search
Bing Video Search
Bing Image Search
Bing Local Business Search
Azure Machine Learning
This is a cloud-based predictive analytics service that helps your developers integrate the power of predictive models and analytics into business applications. The computing resources required are provided by the cloud infrastructure ensuring that your application remains cost-effective and scalable. The service contains pre-built algorithms that are ready to use.
Azure Bot Service
A bot is basically a smart chat app that interacts with customers. The manner of interaction mimics the natural conversational style of a human. Bots can interact via text, speech, or cards that present options to the user. Microsoft Azure combines the Bot Framework and Bot Service to create an integrated bot development environment. This environment eliminates the need for a separate editor. You can code a bot, connect it with your app, test, and manage it from any web browser. Azure also contains pre-built simple bots powered by Azure Functions that scale according to application demand.
Common Business Scenarios Implemented in Azure AI
Some business needs are common regardless of the kind of industry or the size of the business. To demonstrate the power of AI applications we have chosen to present a few general use cases here.
Demand Forecasting and Price Optimization
Pricing is often an overwhelmingly difficult task because it involves a lot of varying factors. Azure AI lets you use existing transaction data to train a demand forecasting model that incorporates a price optimizing algorithm. This allows estimation and simulation of various pricing points resulting in improved profitability.
Every user is looking for a more personalized experience when they interact with a business online. Building customer loyalty thus depends on whether you can surface targeted offers at the right time. Online retailers can take advantage of user-generated data to customize offers according to individual customer tastes and preferences. Use Azure Stream Analytics to analyze raw user activity and build a recommendation engine based on affinity values.
Anomaly Detection in Data Streams
Monitoring IT infrastructure and services is a key concern for large enterprises. The Cortana Intelligence Suite’s IT Anomaly Insights tool enables you to automatically detect and address IT health metrics.
Customer Churn Prediction
Analyze existing data using Cortana Intelligence Suite to discover patterns that estimate churn probability and predict churn rate. These specific examples were chosen because they are the most common issues enterprises are looking to solve. Check the Azure solution architectures page for more scenarios and potential solutions.
The Azure AI platform has pre-built services as well as tools that let you build custom-made enterprise solutions at scale. Equip your team to efficiently utilize these powerful tools through Azure certification and training. The demands of today’s interconnected economies have made smart solutions an essential for any firm looking to stay ahead of the competition. Microsoft has changed the game with it’s comprehensive AI stack.
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