New Microsoft AI Products Include Context IQ and Azure Cognitive Services for Language


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At Ignite 2021, Microsoft launched a line of products in its cloud-based industries that leverage AI to find patterns and make predictions from vast data stores. The highlight could be Context IQ, a Microsoft 365 technology that can predict, search, and suggest the information employees might need. Others involve tasks such as translation and synthesis, as well as inference about hardware, from the edge to data centers.

During the pandemic, digital transformation efforts have prompted many companies to embrace AI-powered solutions to address emerging back office and customer challenges. At PricewaterhouseCoopers white paper found that 52% percent of companies have ramped up their AI adoption plans. At the same time, spurred by this adoption of AI, public cloud spending is increasing – Gartner predicts it will hit $ 332 billion in 2021. This is doubly good news for Microsoft, which over the course of of its last quarter, posted a record profit of $ 20.7 on cloud services. billion.

Contextual IQ

According to Jared Spataro, vice president of Microsoft 365, Context IQ uses Microsoft Graph to glean information about a person’s work throughout the day, then predict, research, and suggest the information they need. As a reminder, Microsoft Graph connects to various Microsoft 365 services to provide access to data and functionality of Exchange, OneDrive, Teams, and other productivity platforms.

“The promise of AI has always been to increase human capabilities in a way that seems magical. It becomes reality with Context IQ. It turns ideas into action, ”Spataro said in a blog post.

Context IQ powers the improved Microsoft Editor, the AI-based writing assistant that Microsoft introduced last year for Word, Outlook, and Chrome as part of Office 365. Previously, Editor only corrected grammar and spelling, providing contextual suggestions and autocomplete sentences. . But now, with Context IQ, Editor offers predictive assistance, such as suggesting a file to attach to an email based on similar topics or because a user has already created or worked on it.

The editor with Context IQ also recognizes when a user wants to schedule a meeting and will recommend times when all participants are available. Beyond that, when an ampersand is added to a comment, the upgraded editor will recommend potential people to tag based on the colleagues the user is currently working with, especially on documents or stakeholders that the user is currently working with. the user has previously marked for document revisions.

The publisher with Context IQ can suggest related plugins for Dynamics 365 sales records as well as plugins from third parties such as Jira, Zoho, and SAP. And the service will allow users to enter information without switching between emails or other apps. In Teams, by pressing Tab, the editor must complete a sentence, for example adding a frequent flyer number when booking a flight online.


On the Azure side, Azure Cognitive Search – Microsoft’s AI-based service that can ingest and act on digital content from multiple sources – has added preview support for more than 50 languages. Machine learning techniques help understand user intent, according to Microsoft, by automatically and contextually ranking the most relevant search results.

The update follows a SharePoint connector and semantic search capability for cognitive search that allows developers to deliver search results based on intent. Semantic search leverages natural language techniques, particularly concept matching and synonym searching, to improve the relevance and ranking of search results and provide a more personalized search flow for users.

Cognitive services

Elsewhere, Microsoft introduced a new offering called Azure Cognitive Service for Language designed to consolidate functionality previously available in Azure services, like Text Analytics, QnA Maker, and Language Understanding. Azure Cognitive Service for Language additionally includes the new Language Studio, which provides various language features in a single, unified location.

Microsoft also announced a commitment to a tiered pricing model for Azure Cognitive Services, intended to provide large Azure customers with a more “cost-effective” alternative to the current pay-as-you-go option. Starting today, businesses can use large volumes of services – which cover text analysis, facial detection, speech and visual recognition, and natural language understanding – at a reduced cost by making payments. regular in advance for a defined capacity.

Azure Arc

Complementing Azure Cognitive Services enhancements, Azure Arc-enabled machine learning inference, which enables customers to build, train, and produce machine learning models in on-premises, multicloud, and edge computing environments. A fully managed machine learning add-on, it allows inference to be deployed on Arc-enabled Kubernetes and supports Kubernetes clusters of Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.

Azure Arc, introduced in 2019, is a hybrid cloud platform supporting a range of compute environments running in the data center. Here, “hybrid cloud” refers to a mix of IT, storage and services comprised of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and public cloud.


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