From Analytical Applications to Intelligent Solutions

This post is by Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President of the Data Group at Microsoft

Today, thousands of developers gathered in San Francisco for our annual //BUILD developer conference where Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, unveiled new technologies for the era of conversational intelligence. As part of that, Satya introduced new "Intelligence" capabilities that will be integrated into the Cortana Intelligence Suite, the new name for the Cortana Analytics Suite.

We believe that the most impactful data-driven solutions will go beyond analytics, and will include built-in intelligence that augments an organization's capabilities in exciting new ways.

Imagine a world, where nurses and doctors use remote monitoring solutions not only to analyze a patient's vitals such as blood pressure, weight and heart-rate, but also to interpret a patient's mood based on speech and tone analysis during a scheduled phone conversation. Technology like this could help augment their diagnosis to better predict and prevent emergencies and have real impact on the well-being of the patient.

Intelligent solutions such as these will not only be accessed via regular websites and mobile applications, but also through intelligent Bots that you can converse with in more contextual and natural ways.

We believe that organizations creating data-driven solutions that utilize the best of Big Data, Cloud and Intelligence capabilities will be future industry leaders.

Here are the new capabilities we announced today:  

  1. Microsoft Cognitive Services (preview) : A collection of intelligent APIs that allow solutions to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret our needs using natural methods of communication. Cognitive Services expand our existing perceptual intelligence capabilities in areas such as Vision, Speech, Text, Recommendations and Face Detection to include new capabilities like Emotion, Language Understanding and Bing Search. For example, Finland-based Blucup lets their sales reps capture data while on the go with a "Zero Keyboard" app that collects information using touch gestures, voice and pictures. The results are automatically integrated into their customer relationship management (CRM) system. To get started with these APIs go here.

  2. Microsoft Bot Framework (preview) : This framework enables organizations to build intelligent agents, known as Bots. Bots let users interact with intelligent solutions as though they are conversing with another person, and interactions can take many forms, from text/SMS to Office365 mail to Skype and Slack. The Framework provides developers with a developer portal and SDK to build Bots, a Bot Connector service to connect to social channels such as Twitter and Slack, and a Bot Directory (coming soon) to discover and use existing bots. For example, a pizza delivery service can now enable users to review the menu, find price promotions and complete an order by simply conversing with a Pizza Bot on their communication platform of choice. To start building your own Bot, go here.

To experience these new capabilities in a fun way, check out This demo site showcases the Vision and Bing Search APIs along with the Bot Framework. It can take any image and create a coherent description of that image using natural language. Sometimes, if CaptionBot figures out you've taken a selfie, it will even tell you which celebrity you look like!

We are excited about the possibilities that Cortana Intelligence can bring to organizations, delivering the power of Big Data, Cloud and Intelligence to build the next generation of intelligent solutions, whether it is to re-invent healthcare, transform transportation or revolutionize retail. To learn more about what Cortana Intelligence can do for you, get started here.