Microsoft announced new tools for software makers aimed at making technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain easier for businesses to use.
Microsoft released the tools ahead of its software developer conference — Microsoft Build — next week in Seattle.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud and AI Group, said: “We’re delivering Azure services for developers to build the next generation of apps.”
One service from Microsoft helps online retailers recommend products based on shopping history and can be combined with a retailer’s existing recommendation engine, said Scott Guthrie.
“They’re using ours in addition to the existing system they had and seeing some tremendous wins in terms of productivity as part of it,” Guthrie said. “I don’t think it’s going to be necessarily always a winner takes all.”
Microsoft is also releasing tools to let users make artificial intelligence models without having to write the underlying code. Those models can then be “trained” using the business owner’s data in Microsoft’s cloud, Reuters reported.
The company is also introducing a cloud-based blockchain service. The block chain, a ledger for keeping track of transactions among many participants, is used in the financial technology space, and Microsoft said it is working with JP Morgan Chase & Co on the bank’s Quorum offering.
Microsoft said blockchain has other uses, such as the system Microsoft helped Starbucks to build to track the coffee as it moves from farms to stores to a customer’s cup.
Microsoft said it is releasing a developer edition of its HoloLens 2 headset that was announced earlier this year. The device, which overlays digital information on the real world, will cost $3,500 and is aimed businesses uses like safety training and complex repair work.
Microsoft announced a new set of Azure AI technology aimed to help developers and data scientists apply AI to any solution.
Azure Cognitive Services power applications to see, hear, respond, translate, reason and more.
Microsoft is launching a new Cognitive Services category, called “Decision,” that delivers users a specific recommendation for more informed and efficient decision-making.
Microsoft said this category includes Content Moderator, the recently announced Anomaly Detector, and a new service called Personalizer, which uses reinforcement learning to provide a recommendation to enable decision-making.
Microsoft is bringing AI to Azure Search, enabling customers to apply Cognitive Services algorithms to extract new insights from their structured and unstructured content.
Microsoft is also previewing a capability that enables developers to store AI insights gained from cognitive search, making it easier to create knowledge-rich experiences leveraging Power BI visualizations or machine learning models.
Microsoft introduced Azure SQL Database Edge to support the spectrum of edge compute needs. A SQL engine optimized for lower compute requirements with built-in AI, the product combines data streaming with in-database machine learning and graph capabilities to enable intelligence on the edge.
Microsoft announced IoT Plug and Play, a new modeling language to connect IoT devices to the cloud.