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Microsoft Brings “Cortana Skills Kit” For Developers

Additional features include control via Azure Active Directory over when skills are deployed and who can access them

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Microsoft launches e-commerce portal for Telangana's handloom weavers. Pixabay

To help businesses create custom voice apps for their employees and users, Microsoft has launched the “Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise” for developers.

The kit will help enterprise developers use digital assistant’s natural-language processing to create custom voice skills for businesses.

Currently available by invitation only, the development platform was unveiled at “Microsoft Ignite” conference in Orlando, Florida on Monday.

“At heart, we are about providing valuable assistance to users throughout their day. That assistance takes different forms depending on where the users are in their day and what they are trying to do,” said Javier Soltero, Microsoft Corporate Vice President in charge of Cortana.

“It’s important for enterprises to be able to enable their workforces to use Cortana to perform company-specific tasks,” he added.

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Currently available by invitation only, the development platform was unveiled at “Microsoft Ignite” conference in Orlando, Florida on Monday. Wikimedia Commons

According to Vivek Goswami, a programme manager on Soltero’s team, the platform is powered by the Azure Bot Service and leverages Language Understanding from Azure Cognitive Services, allowing developers to create company-specific skills for Cortana using known and trusted tools.

Additional features include control via Azure Active Directory over when skills are deployed and who can access them.

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“The specific skills that enterprises will create for Cortana remain to be revealed,” noted Goswami.

As a proof of concept, IT developers at Microsoft used the enterprise platform to create an IT help desk skill that enables Cortana to file tickets for employees who are having computer problems and connect them to someone who can help. (IANS)

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AI Helping Differently-abled to Become More Independent: Microsoft

The showcase will feature technology-based projects from non-profit organisations, assistive technologies developed by leading technology companies, Microsoft partners as well as Microsoft solutions, the company added

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions are empowering differently-abled people with tools that support independence and productivity, a top Microsoft executive said here on Friday.

The software giant last year launched its five-year, $25 million “AI for Accessibility” programme that harnesses the power of AI to amplify human capability for the more than one billion people around the world with a disability.

“At Microsoft, we believe there are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it,” Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director, Microsoft Research India, said on the inaugural day of the two-day “Accessibility Summit – Empowering for Inclusion” here.

Real time speech-to-text transcription, computer vision capabilities and predictive text functionality are just a few examples of how AI is useful to people with disabilities.

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Logo of Microsoft outside it’s office. Pixabay

Inaugurating the summit, Shakuntala Doley Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities at the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, said that a strong public-private partnership can go a long way in empowering the differently-abled with equal access and opportunity.

Microsoft hosted the summit in collaboration with the National Association of the Deaf and National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People (NCPEPD), a non-profit organisation.

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The two-day conference will also combine a rich mix of master classes and access to Microsoft’s “AI for Accessibility” resources for the developer community with a showcase of inclusive technology, Microsoft said.

The showcase will feature technology-based projects from non-profit organisations, assistive technologies developed by leading technology companies, Microsoft partners as well as Microsoft solutions, the company added. (IANS)