Azure Cognitive Services

With the advancements in technology, everything turns out to be intelligent and smarter. The business organizations are trying to cope up with the technological advances and utilize the benefits and advantages out of it. Ofcourse, Artificial Intelligence is playing a vital role in the current times, paving the way for the betterment and enhancements in the business. With Artificial intelligence capabilities, chatbots are now in trend to communicate with the online website visitors. The development and implementation of artificial intelligence applications in real-time and businesses ensure a positive and happy customer experience. To implement artificial intelligence, you will need to know that it needs cloud-based technologies and development tools. Microsoft Azure is one of the platforms that help in enabling you to build artificial intelligence solutions using different artificial intelligence models. In this blog, you will gain an understanding of the Azure cognitive services, APIs, and its advantages in the real-time world.

Azure Cognitive Servicesgtre3 - Table of Content

What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure, formerly called Windows Azure is one of the cloud computing platforms that is provided by Microsoft for building, deploying, testing, and managing the applications by using the vast environment of Microsoft data centres. Azure helps in adding the cloud capabilities to the existing network by using the PaaS model (Platform as a Service Model) and entrust Microsoft with all the systems using the Infrastructure as a Service Model.

Azure is developed and implemented to provide secure and reliable access to your data in the cloud. Azure helps in the creation of the virtual machines, manages the SQL databases efficiently, provides an API for the application services, allows remote management, and follow authenticity. Azure provides its extensive support to the users by offering the flexibility to use the different tools across all the industries.

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Azure is known for its flexibility, low operating costs, the capability to recover from disasters, and offers several applications or service offerings like Visual Studio Team Services. Azure is one of the popular platforms that help in managing the business processes, obtain solutions to the organizational issues, and assist in attaining the organization's goals and objectives. 

Azure Cognitive Services:

Microsoft Azure platform has come up with an expandable feature that has provided a path for the successful organization. With the latest advancements in technologies, the users or the audience would indeed like to get engaged within the applications. Keeping this in mind, Microsoft Azure has developed and implemented the cognitive services which provide an option or chance to create, manage and deploy powerful applications that could involve speech, image, search, text analysis and many other services.

Sometimes we have a question, why do we need to use the Azure cognitive services. We all know that organizations and spending a lot of amount or costs to develop and implement applications in the real-time basis. Organizations are looking for a platform that would help in expansion and reduce the cost associated with the Hosting and storing of data.
Five cognitive services help with business or an organization to meet its business goals and objectives promptly. These services include vision, peach, language, knowledge, and search. Let us have a quick review of each cognitive service.


The first category in azure cognitive services is called vision. Azure Vision application helps in identifying and analyzing the content within the images and or videos. As we all know that Microsoft is known as the leader of cloud innovation, utilizing different Technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, this vision-based service has brought the change and diversification to accommodate and fulfil the user needs. We have certain features within each category of the cognitive service. Vision cognitive service includes image analysis, celebrity and landmark recognition in pictures, handwriting recognition, text in images, analyze videos in real-time. Let us have a quick review of the features available in vision cognitive service.

Image Analysis:

The image analysis feature in vision cognitive service helps in analyzing and classifying the various elements that are available in the picture. This application programming interface can be tested on Microsoft as your website without any charge or amount. Microsoft Azure makes use of the various domain-based models that provide the capability to describe any given picture in the world. Let's see an example of a photograph that contains faces, format, dimensions, adult content or not and identify the background or foreground, dominant colours. In the description part, it tells what artificial intelligence sees in that picture. Let us take another example. If there is a picture of people waiting for the Subway to arrive, then the artificial intelligence will use the tags such as "woman", "subway", "indoor", "luggage". It so also takes chunks of text like "people waiting for the Subway to arrive." 

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Handwriting Recognition:

As we are humans, we are not capable of identifying handwriting. It will not work all the time. Do you remember the last time that you have read someone's handwriting, handwritten notes and do not have an idea if it is written in English or material Klingon? In such scenarios, Azure's handwriting recognition feature will help you identify and analyze the handwriting on the notes. Azure's handwriting recognition uses artificial intelligence, OCR (optical character reading) that helps in utilizing the benefits and advantages of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. This OCR tool can detect, extract, and reproduce any handwriting digitally. There is a limitation to this feature. This optical character reader reading is available only in English.

Landmark and celebrity recognition in Pictures:

Sometimes it is frustrating when you have to search for a particular memory or find out the landmark of the place that you visited a long time ago, the name of the celebrity, etc. In such scenarios, Azure's recognize celebrities and landmarks feature the flexibility to determine the celebrities and the locations using a database of celebrities which includes various fields such as business, sports, politics, entertainment, etc. This feature also has 9000 human-made and natural landmarks.

Read the text in the Images:

Utilizing the Microsoft optical character reading feature, Azure application is capable of detecting any English text that is present in an image and helps in transformation into a stream of characters that can be read by a machine. This application would be coming handy to embed the text shortly.

Analyze videos in real-time

This application is capable of stripping the area of your choice, frame by frame, and returns a text-based description of each one. Let's take an example, if there is a frame that captures a father walking with his son on the beach, then the text description could be like "water", "beach"," boy ", "Sandy", "outdoor"," man"," accident".


Speech is the second most crucial cognitive service provided by Azure. This service is related to natural speech recognition engines. Some of us might be familiar with some products like windows speech recognition, Dragon Naturally Speaking, sonic, we are aware of the struggle of integrating speech recognition features into the workflow. Microsoft Azure has come up with the speech services offered by artificial intelligence like STT and TTS, very accurate compared with the other artificial intelligence counterparts. Let's have a quick review of the features provided by cognitive speech service.

Text to Speech Transcriptions:

Microsoft has come up with advanced acoustic models that will help you in the loud readout area. Whenever you start writing your text, this service can be configured to be read back. This service is mostly adjusting to users with impaired hearing. In the latest times, it can also be used as a proofread text on the go.
Speech recognition and speech to text transcription:

Azure's speech engine will help you create user-tailored language models. Using these models, it is compatible to work with artificial intelligence to recognize speech effectively. Irrespective of Speech style, Geography, or technical term, this application will help you in recognizing everything that you say and transcribe the text accordingly in an effective manner. 

Real-time Translation Translations:

I think we are all aware of Google Translate or any other real-time translation software that is available in the Play Store. Azure has come up with the translation service that is capable of interpreting the text with unparalleled accuracy, irrespective of the language. At the moment this service has full-fledged support for English which is for the UK and the US, but the other languages are not available. They are soon to be in the picture as well.                                            

Speaker Verification:

We all are aware of the applications that include or verify the speaker instantly. Most of them have failed to meet the security levels when using these applications. It is not new. This feature has been in use for the last two decades. Many revisions have been taken place to ensure security. Azure has come up with speech recognition, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning capabilities, the speaker verification system is capable of identifying or recognizing the speaker on the spot without any delay. The speaker verification system has come up with the feature that can identify the internal speaker even if someone else with the same voice range is trying to attempt.

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Language is the third cognitive service that is provided by Azure. Content-based meaning and language are essential features that define communication. Microsoft Azure has come up with the additional parts or tools that help in analyzing and interpreting the chunks of text that have been written.

Text Analytics

Text analytics is one of the exciting tools that has been offered by Azure language detection services. It is also called as text Analytics API. This tool will help in analyzing and interpreting the text based on specific parameters such as languages, interlinking, key phrases, and sentiments. Everyone is very interested in knowing how it works. Let us take an example of a text: I had an awesome trip to Paris and really enjoyed taking pics of the Notre Dame cathedral". Using the given example, it will tell you that the text is written in the English language, showcase some of the key phrases(Paris, Notre Dame cathedral, awesome trip), sentiment (if it's awesome, then it must be close to 100 percent) and provides some internal links to various entities(Paris and Notre Dame, for instance).

Translator Text:

Microsoft translator helps in combining the neural machine translation and the language translation to offer a platform that is integrated. It also includes some of the features that recommend Azure translator API. Azure's Translator API includes transliteration (from Pin Yin alphabet into the Latin alphabet, for instance), alternative translations seeker using up-to-date bilingual dictionaries, offline support, a fully customizable UI.

Bing Spell Check:

Bing spell check is a tool that helps in performing spell-check of the written content. Whenever we write content, proofreading is a must, and we have to perform proofreading every time. Azure has come up with Bing Spell check that helps in achieving spell-check accurately. This tool includes different aspects like punctuation, style, capitalization, grammar inconsistencies. It is possible to check yourself using Microsoft Azure's official website.

Content Moderator:

For any social platform or a forum, a powerful moderation tool is required. Azure's moderation tool provides the flexibility to cover anything from the images, view, and text. Even though artificial intelligence does all the heavy-lifting, it needs a human hand to keep everything on the check. In other words, the user is allowed to adjust the filters, add some exceptions to understand how restrictive it should be when you are creating content.


We all know that Knowledge Is Power. Cognitive services have come up with comprehensive, accurate database creation, and search tools. It helps you in finding the answers that you are searching for.

Question and Answer Maker:

Based on the questions received by the users, or the FAQ by the users, Azure question and answer maker can whip up a database in no time. Let us see an example. If a user types in a question such as how do I change my password, he or she will receive the answer automatically with the steps. At the same time, Azure question and answer makers also help in identifying the matching questions and provide the answers accordingly. Using the service, the website owner can build or construct a FAQ section that would help in providing the answers to the users who have any questions. One more important fact about the question and answer maker is that it will build the knowledge base by analyzing the user lines of inquiry and then cross-reference the best section within your website that can answer the questions.

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Search is the last type of cognitive service offered by Microsoft Azure. The search cognitive service is related to the way research for the thing is done online. The most popular search engine that we use is Google and next comes Bing. Though Bing is not as popular as Google, it includes artificial intelligence algorithms that are capable of searching, comparing the results, and providing only those that are relevant to your query. Let us have a quick review of the tools that are used to perform the searching on the back.

Bing Web Search:

Using Bing web search, Azure service provides the flexibility to deliver the most relevant results when the user searches for any query. This analysis is done based on the string or the search query that the user enters. You will be able to see an assortment of the image, video, text that are purely related to your search. It also allows additional filters wherein you can review the new information and perform a safe search.

Bing Video Search:

With Azure's cognitive service, you will be able to find the video or the song clip that you are trying to search for. Azure's bing video search provides the capability of providing information using the format and view count. For example, if you are trying to find out songs related to Johnny Cash, then you can simply type it as Johnny Cash songs in the search bar. You will be able to view the search results and have an option to filter them based on the freshness, video resolution, video length, and safe search is On/Off.

Bing Custom Search:

Whenever you search for a particular query, you will get the information in the form of search results. You can try playing a game a little about by using the Bing custom search API. This feature has some additional configurations that can help you narrow down your search. Let's take an example, after writing down the particular keyword or phrase, and there will be a drop-down box that will appear on the top of your search. You can use this to access the different domains such as Microsoft official, Microsoft dynamics, Xbox, etc. It provides the flexibility to filter based on the market and safe search which can be adjusted based on the user search string.

Bing Image Search:

Azure's image service is pretty much the same as the video search. For example, you are trying to search for a particular desktop background, and you are interested in abstract art. If you have searched with a specific keyword phrase,you will be given the text examples that will help you narrow down your search image. This image search will provide you with examples such as standard wallpapers papers, animals, celebrations etc. Bing image search can further be refined based on the image type, whether it can be a photo, clip art, size, automated safe search On/Off, license etc.

Bing News Search

Bing News search is a powerful Azure cognitive service platform that allows you to call up all of the information on the topic of your interest. It provides roughly the same data processing and algorithms as an image and video search. Whenever you type in the keyword, it will provide you with the contextually based examples. You can also narrow down the search using market safe search infection

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Microsoft Azure has come up with a wide range of cognitive services that will help the organizations to meet their business needs as every user is trying to search or retrieve the information. As we try to find out an identity from the search engines, artificial intelligence services have paved the path in a great way to retrieve the information in the form of face recognition, image, video, search, knowledge, spell check, etc. I hope all the information above is helpful for you. As we are living in a world of technology and advancements, it is essential to know about the services that often in applications.

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Ishan Gaba
Ishan Gaba
Research Analyst
Ishan is an IT graduate who has always been passionate about writing and storytelling. He is a tech-savvy and literary fanatic since his college days. Proficient in Data Science, Cloud Computing, and DevOps he is looking forward to spreading his words to the maximum audience to make them feel the adrenaline he feels when he pens down about the technological advancements. Apart from being tech-savvy and writing technical blogs, he is an entertainment writer, a blogger, and a traveler.