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  • 6 min read

Companies of all sizes tackle real business problems with Azure AI

Over the past few years, we’ve seen incredible transformation across industries as companies harness the power of AI to transform business processes and drive impact for their customers.

There are incredible transformations happening across industries through the application of AI. We have a front row seat with customers who are successfully digitizing core business processes and creating more engaging and personalized customer experiences. With Microsoft’s AI platform, Azure AI, our vision continues to center on helping our customers innovate with purpose, using productive, enterprise-scale, secure solutions. This vision is made stronger by recent partnerships like our investment in OpenAI to develop a hardware and software platform that extends Microsoft Azure capabilities in large-scale AI systems.

Today, through a number of AI innovations, we continue making it easier for organizations to adopt and apply AI in a way that meets their needs, where ever they are in their AI journey. Product updates include new capabilities in Microsoft Azure Machine Learning that boost the productivity of developers and data scientists of all skill levels, new innovations in Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services and Microsoft Azure Bot Service to simplify the creation of AI apps and agents, and new enhancements to Azure Cognitive Search to enable the development of knowledge mining applications.

Tremendous customer momentum

We are humbled by the tremendous adoption of Azure AI. Organizations large and small have adopted Azure AI solutions to deploy AI at scale and build with confidence knowing that they own and control their data. With our proven AI technologies, customers like Novartis, Humana, and UPS, as well as others across sectors like manufacturing, retail, aerospace, and animal conservation are deploying Azure AI services to drive meaningful outcomes with AI at scale.

We’re pleased to share that Azure AI now has more than 20,000 active paying customers – and more than 85 percent of Fortune 100 companies have used Azure AI in the last 12 months. In addition, Azure AI customers run over 1 million machine learning experiments per month, use Azure Cognitive Search to process over 6 billion documents per day, run over 5 billion cognitive services transactions per month, and process over 1 billion bot messages per month.

Accelerating machine learning adoption

Our new Microsoft Azure Machine Learning capabilities including the new machine learning designer, automated machine learning enhancements and built-in notebooks are designed to meet the needs of data scientists and developers of all skill levels. New machine learning operations (MLOps) capabilities help data-science and IT teams better collaborate and increase the pace of model deployment with more governance and control. We continue to invest in open ecosystems with support for R and availability of ONNX Runtime 1.0 which simplifies the process of optimizing machine learning models to run a variety of chipsets. You can get started for free with Azure Machine Learning today.

Customers like Schneider Electric are using Azure Machine Learning to significantly minimize worker risk, save time, and lower costs. By leveraging the automated machine learning capabilities within Azure Machine Learning, Schneider Electric reduced the process of identifying the right models for predictive maintenance, from one month to one day.

“All the data scientists on our team enjoy using Azure Machine Learning service. Why? Because it’s fully interoperable with all the other tools they use in their day-to-day work, no extra training is needed, and they get more done faster now.” —Matthieu Boujonnier: Analytics Application Architect and Data Scientist, Schneider Electric

Lexmark is using Azure Machine Learning to glean valuable insights from the data it collects from millions of IoT-enabled printers and make more informed business decisions.

“Our Connected Field Service takes data from our Lexmark IoT Hub, augmented by Azure Machine Learning, and feeds information into Dynamics 365, so we can make predictive diagnostics for individual machines and alert service technicians to be ready.”—Brad Clay, Senior Vice President, Chief Information and Compliance Officer, Lexmark International

The wildlife crime team from Africa’s Peace Parks Foundation (PPF), in partnership with the South African conservation agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, is using Azure Machine Learning to monitor and prevent rhino poaching.

Simplifying the development of intelligent apps and agents

Azure Cognitive Services are a comprehensive set of domain-specific, ready-to-use, AI models. Today, we are announcing the general availability of a new Azure Cognitive Service called Personalizer, the industry's first AI service based on reinforcement learning. Personalizer allows businesses to create rich customer interactions by prioritizing the most relevant content and experiences in each customer interaction. New Speech service capabilities are available in preview, including Custom Neural Voice which enables customers to create branded voices using deep neural networks, and the ability to use Office 365 data to automatically create optimized custom speech models. Updates to Text Analytics include the ability to detect and extract personally identifiable information in documents and expanded entity type support for more than 100 named entity types. A new Bot Framework Composer helps simplify the creation of bots through a graphical user interface. You can get started for free with Cognitive Services and Bot Service.

Customers like the European aerospace manufacturer, Airbus, are using Azure Cognitive Services to provide predictive maintenance for mixed aircraft fleets:

“Innovation has always been a driving force at Airbus. Using Anomaly Detector, an Azure Cognitive Service, we can solve some aircraft predictive maintenance use cases more easily.” —Peter Weckesser, Digital Transformation Officer, Defence and Space, Airbus

Spotify is making it easier for anyone to create podcasts with their Soundtrap for Storytellers application. Using Speech Service, Spotify is helping content creators streamline the entire podcast editing process by auto-transcribing podcasters’ audio tracks and allowing them to edit directly within the transcribed document.

In hospitality, Caesars Entertainment, which operates brands including Harrah’s, Caesars, and Horseshoe, is using Azure Bot Service to deploy a text message bot to answer users’ questions.

In the insurance sector, Nationwide has built a bot, NOVA, that handles 25,000 interactions per month using Azure bot service. Currently available to customers via Nationwide's Login and Claims websites, NOVA makes it easier for customers to submit loss claims for processing, address frequently asked questions, and grant password resets, while freeing up call center agents to focus on more complex asks.

Uncovering latent insights from content with knowledge mining

Azure Cognitive Search, formerly known as Azure Search, is the only cloud search service with built-in AI capabilities that enables you to discover patterns and relationships in your content, understand the sentiment, extract key phrases and more. Updates to Azure Cognitive Search, including new data connectors, additional built-in AI skills, and expanded region availability, make it easier for enterprises to build knowledge mining applications that ingest, enrich, and search structured and unstructured information, influencing better business decisions. You can get started for free with Azure Cognitive Search.

The Atlantic is using Azure AI to catalog and preserve 160 years of published history. Leveraging Azure Cognitive Search, the publication is transitioning from hard copy to a digital system where its archives can be explored by the public as well as used as a resource for writers to build connections between stories and enrich their content.

Archive360, an intelligent information management solution provider, uses Azure Cognitive Search to enable their customers to ask complex questions of petabyte-sized archive datasets both quickly and cost-effectively.

“By using Azure Cognitive Search to provide customers with the search performance and simplicity they need, we can deliver deeper data insights than ever before.”—Tibi Popp, Chief Technology Officer, Archive 360, which serves more than 5 million Canadians monthly in the market for a new or used car, has been using Azure Cognitive Search to launch new growth opportunities including a dealer-to-dealer auction site, as well as plans to replace their old search engine with a more cost-effective, scalable, improved search experience for their consumer marketplace.

“Azure Cognitive Search enabled us to launch the dealer auction site. We couldn’t have been able to do it otherwise, and we’re really excited about using Azure Cognitive Search for the marketplace. It gives us an opportunity to provide better and better services to our customers with instant, seamless experiences across all devices.”—Allen Wales: Vice President of Technology,

While we’re pleased to see start-ups to enterprise companies adopting Azure AI, we remain focused on addressing barriers that hinder companies’ ability to take advantage of all the benefits of AI.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months, we’ll have some exciting things to share. In the meantime, we look forward to helping you and your company explore how you can tackle your hardest business problems with the power of Microsoft’s AI platform, Azure AI. Get started with a free trial of Azure AI today. 

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