Azure Cognitive Services

Posted by Ram Narasimhan on Mar 12, 2021 2:15:42 PM

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Azure Cognitive Services is a segment of Microsoft's cloud-based services. It has REST APIs and client library SDKs. This helps you build cognitive intelligence into your applications. The biggest advantage is that you need not have skills in AI or data science to pull that off. This is a significant contribution in the world of IT, where businesses without knowledge of machine learning and the like can delve into the realm of intelligent applications. The library of cognitive features enables you to simply add pre-made templates to your application. With the help of Azure's Cognitive Services, various cognitive solutions that can see, speak, hear, and understand are built. It can even make its own decisions. 

The solutions provided by the cognitive services include-

  • Vision 
  • Speech 
  • Language 
  • Decision 
  • Search

Vision APIs

  • Computer Vision- With this API you can analyze various parameters of an image you upload, depending on the inputs you provide. This API processes images and returns useful information. 
  • Custom Vision- As the name suggests, custom vision is used to customize specific labels you want to identify in your pictures. It works on a machine learning algorithm where you feed images with and without the particular characteristic for the computer to learn. 
  • Face- This algorithm helps in the detection and identification of faces based on attributes fed into the machine learning algorithm. It is an advanced level service. 
  • Form recognizer- Using unsupervised learning algorithms, this service can extract key-value pairs from a document and provide you with an output of structured data, including the relationships present in the original file. 
  • Ink recognizer- Ink recognizer uses algorithms to recognize ink strokes, handwriting, and various shapes in a document and provide the same as the output.
  • Video indexer- This solution helps you extract insights from a video. It can be a visual, vocal, or voice insight. Training the model further can help you to custom pick specific attributes in a video that you need for your work. 

Speech APIs

The speech service helps in translating text to speech, speech to text, speech recognition, and translation paradigms, and other speech-enabled capabilities. 

Language APIs 

  • Language Understanding- To perform any task, language understanding enables you to explain the task to the application in your own words. 
  • QnA Maker- As the name suggests, QnA Maker helps you frame a question-and-answer format from your semi-structured data content.
  • Text Analytics- This is a natural language processing tool that identifies certain attributes in raw text, including sentiments, language, key phrases, and named entities. 
  • Translator- This solution uses REST APIs to provide translations in the form of machine language text in near real-time. 
  • Immersive Reader- It is a tool that makes your reading experience more immersive and comprehensive. This is especially useful for people with learning differences or anyone trying to master a new language. 

Decision APIs

  • Anomaly Detector- The anomaly detector is used to detect anomalies in data over a given time. The volume of data can be large, but the tool can work efficiently. 
  • Content Moderator- This machine-learning algorithm contextualizes content and moderates it based on possible offensive material, or dangerous content. 
  • Metrics Advisor- A metrics advisor works on multivariate parameters and provides output in terms of data ingestion, diagnostics, and anomaly detection without the need for machine learning knowledge.
  • Personalizer- It is a real-time tool that provides the best experience for your users by learning about their browsing habits and patterns in real-time. 

Search APIs

A different search technology uses cognitive services of Azure.

  • Bing News Search- This news search will provide a list of articles that are relevant to a user's query. It can help you build apps and services to find various search items without advertisements. 
  • Bing Video Search- Video search provides results as a list of videos based on the search query. 
  • Bing Web Search-This search scours the web for relevant information related to your search query. 
  • Bing Autosuggest- Autosuggest helps you complete your search query when you provide partial queries in your search. It is aimed at improving the user's search experience. 
  • Bing Custom Search- This helps you customize your web browsing experience by choosing topics you care about and do not care about. It learns from your experiences and provides you with particular web pages relevant to your searches. 
  • Bing Entity Search- This search specifically fetches results that include entities and places. If the query name matches a particular business, then it shows up in the search. 
  • Bing Image Search- Similar to entity search, image search uses capabilities of the API to get high-quality images of your search. 
  • Bing Visual Search- This search is used to return valuable insights about an image, like similar images or shopping sites for the particular product in the image. Coupled with image search, visual search gets the best results. 
  • Bing Local Business Search- In a local business search, you can find local businesses relevant to your search queries as results. The contact details, location, and additional information are provided in the search. 
  • Bing Spell Check-The spell check tool is used to correct your contextual grammar and check your spelling.

With these solutions, you can develop tools with-

  1. Integration and automation capabilities, like Power Automate and Logic Apps. 
  2. Deployment capabilities, like the App Service or Azure Functions. 
  3. Secure access options like containers in Cognitive Services Docker. 
  4. Big Data handling measures, like Azure Kubernetes Services, Databricks, Synapse Analytics, etc. 

Thus, Azure Cognitive Services provides a large variety of solutions to permute and combine and form an IT solution convenient to your user base and relevant to your application. The benefit of this cognitive service is the ability to design complex AI-based services with predefined templates and client libraries. This removes the prerequisite of having background knowledge of machine learning algorithms. A strong community of developers is also present to help you with the questions you might have. With a layered security model and containers for in-cloud operations, Cognitive Services of Azure can readily be used to make an application more receptive to user requirements in real-time. 

Topics: Big Data & Data Science