Microsoft Innovates Azure with a Swathe of New Machine-learning Services


New updates on other Azure services aim to simplify the development, training, and deployment of machine learning models / Piotr Swat via Shutterstock


Microsoft Corporation announced a flurry of new services for its cloud computing service Azure, as it doubles down on developing machine learning into its services on the platform, TechRepublic reports.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) on the cloud platform is quickly increasing, according to Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate VP for communications.

"More than 1.3 million developers are using Azure Cognitive Services, and nearly 3,000 new bots are created each week," he said, adding that Microsoft's objective is to construct Azure into the "best cloud for AI."

The tech giant added a new Decision category to the platform's Cognitive Services offering. Shaw said this new category enables companies to develop a "sophisticated decision process" into services—such as image recognition—that analyzes their environment.

TechRepublic says the new category Content Moderator, Anomaly Detector, and a new service known as Personalizer. Personalizer is available on preview, the tech news site notes, and seeks to provide firms with the tools for analytics and decision-making in order to modify services to individual users.

Microsoft also unveiled two new offerings in the services' vision category: Ink Recognizer, which identifies handwritten text with the use of a digital pen; and Form Recognizer, which automates the entry of data through the extraction of text, key-value pairs, and tables from documents.

Moreover, its speech category will have a new transcription service that, according to Shaw, offers "advanced text-to-speech capability." The new service is developed to transcribe discussions in real time, as well as indicate who said what.

In the Cognitive Services language segment, Microsoft launched the new Language Understanding service equipped to have a language analytics dashboard to assess the quality of language models.

Meanwhile, new updates on other Azure services aim to simplify the development, training, and deployment of machine learning models. These include the 'intuitive UI' in the company's AutoML service—which allows easier designing of high-quality models—and the Azure MLOps, which helps firms construct continuous integration and delivery pipelines.