Microsoft simplifies ways of doing business with Azure

AS part of its resolve to take Artificial Intelligence a step further, Microsoft has introduced new ways with which business activities can be run seamlessly with the aid of its latest AI tool, Azure.

At its Ignite digital conference, Microsoft unveiled the public preview of Azure Percept, a platform of hardware and services that aims to simplify the ways in which customers can use Azure AI technologies on the edge including taking advantage of Azure cloud offerings such as device management, AI model development and analytics.

Executive Architect, Digital Transformation Services, Microsoft, John Roach, hinted that elevators that respond to voice commands, cameras that notify store managers when to restock shelves and video streams that keep tabs on everything from cash register lines to parking space availability are a few of the millions of scenarios becoming possible thanks to a combination of artificial intelligence and computing on the edge.

Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s edge and platform group, Roanne Sones, said the goal of the new offering is to give customers a single, end-to-end system, from the hardware to the AI capabilities, that “just works” without requiring a lot of technical know-how.

According to her, the Azure Percept platform includes a development kit with an intelligent camera, Azure Percept Vision. There’s also a “getting started” experience called Azure Percept Studio that guides customers with or without a lot of coding expertise or experience through the entire AI lifecycle, including developing, training and deploying proof-of-concept ideas.

Sones further said: “Ultimately, Microsoft hopes to enable the development of an ecosystem of intelligent edge devices that can take advantage of Azure services, in the same way that the Windows operating system has helped enable the personal computer marketplace.

“We are a platform company at our core. If we are going to truly get to a scale where the billions of devices that exist on the edge get connected to Azure, there is not going to be one hyperscale cloud that solves all that through their first-party devices portfolio and that is why why we’ve done it in an ecosystem-centric way.”

Microsoft Vice President and General Manager of the Azure edge and devices group, Moe Tanabian, said the goal of the Azure Percept platform is to simplify the process of developing, training and deploying edge AI solutions, making it easier for more customers to take advantage of these kinds of offerings.

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