Two years ago, Microsoft has introduced Azure Bot Framework and since then tech firms have been creating chatbots for various scenarios. On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that it has made two of its key pre-built AI services generally available for developers, which are Microsoft Cognitive Language Understanding Service (people know it as LUIS) and Microsoft Azure Bot Service.
The two services are both generally available via Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform. Azure Bot Service can provide a managed service to companies, and users can use the managed service to create intelligent automated conversation partners; for LUIS, it can enable customers to build intelligent engines, which is used to parse the written text into any form that other apps can utilize.
The two services belong to Microsoft cloud services’ broader portfolio, which are developed to help users make full advantage of AI technology even without domain experts. Actually, there are similar services offered by other participants in the market, but now Microsoft launches the two key services which have been already used in preview which is definitely good to help them compete with others.
According to the head of Microsoft AI and Research Group, Harry Shum introduced that now about 760,000 developers are using its Cognitive Services, the pre-built APIs, offering intelligent features.
According to the statement, it is good to Microsoft Azure, because it is planning to compete with Google Cloud, AWS, and others. And developer using Microsoft’s pre-built APIs will be more likely to take advantage of other features from its cloud platform.
Also, it shows that the tech titan has been continuing its commitment to a bot ecosystem. As Shum told that it is crucial to develop AI language interface for the future of AI. Besides, it is also important to have computers engaging in the chit-chat. That’s why Microsoft keeps building chatbots such as Zo in the U.S. and Xiaoice in China.
What’s more, Microsoft Research introduced a new project aiming at building bots that work in the healthcare environments. Now the Health Bot Project is HIPAA compliant, offering ideal environment for building intelligent helpers to answer questions related to symptoms, nearby doctors’ locations, and health insurance.
At present, the tech giant is partnering with Aurora Healthcare and Premara Blue Cross to build up bots with the system. Meanwhile, Microsoft opens application for medical providers to test it out.