Making smarter apps requires using innovative services that facilitate cognitive intelligence, and Azure Cognitive Services is making waves as a forerunner for smart app development.
This technology offers a whole host of solutions to enhance the usefulness of your apps and is ideal for integrating into your app development. Here’s why:
1. Help Customers Solve Issues
Today’s customers are short on time and patience. They want answers right away and on-demand or they often look elsewhere. A study from Nielsen even indicated that you only have 59 seconds to capture a viewer’s attention online.
A Jampp report even indicated that the human attention span shortens annually by 88 percent when using e-commerce apps. All of these studies point to a similar finding that you don’t have much time to capture the user’s attention. Conversational interfaces, such as chatbots and voice assistants, can come in and play an important role in helping users solve issues as they arise.
Azure’s Cognitive Services offer solutions for chatbot and voice assistant that you can use to integrate into your app. For instance, you can use the Q&A Maker feature to create a simple script for chatbots to use to answer user questions based on your existing content.
The technology also can be integrated with Speech APIs as a different approach to answering questions users may have. The bot can be used as additional support when your live technical support is unavailable so that you can assist your app users when they need it the most.
2. Enhance Search Capabilities
As Microsoft owns Bing, Azure helps take Bing to the next level by enhancing search on a visual scale. You can use Bing Visual Search to identify images that your app users may look for and interpret them.
For example, you can use Bing Visual Search API to identify art paintings in an app for a local museum and suggest similar paintings to the user that she may be interested in based on her initial search. Bing Visual Search API can even leverage the power of optical character recognition or OCR to recognize and read text within images.
You can also improve search capabilities for the Web with Bing Web Search integration to facilitate a location-based search. Research by comScore revealed that 78 percent of mobile searches that were local led to purchases offline. Thus, local search is essential to take into account when you’re developing an app.
With Bing Search APIs, you can search through web pages by the billions just by using one API call. As long as the programming language you use can parse JSON responses and make HTTP requests, you can use Bing Web Search API.
It provides a safe way to search the web to find relevant data locally. This RESTful service works by using an enhanced query that provides answers instantly. For example, you can use Bing Search API to search the web for local news and even subscribe to the Bing News Search API to narrow down your search results for relevancy.
3. Gain Valuable Insights
Being able to evaluate how your app is being used can provide important information for later development. So, it’s important to have the option to gather statistics. One solution you can implement when using Azure’s Cognitive Services is Bing Statistics.
With the Bing Statistics add-on, you can learn about the market distribution of your target audience. You can also use it to analyze the metrics of local search results of your app. The advantage is that you can access these insights from one central location and get a real-world view of how your app is being used in real-time.
4. Provide Enhanced Language Support
Azure’s Cognitive Services offers multiple options for addressing language interpretation. For example, you can use the Language Understanding service to support a chatbot application or social media app in helping it identify words that are spelled the same way but have different meanings based on the context the app user is using.
The service learns on a continuous basis via reinforcement learning. This helps to enhance its natural language processing (NLP) models’ quality so that it provides more useful results for your audience.
The Microsoft Translator Text API also provides enhanced language support you can leverage for your app. If you have a global audience, you can use the API to translate over 60 languages on a cross-functional format, whether you’re creating applications for the web or developing mobile apps.
The technology automates language detection so you can localize your content. For example, the API can be used to detect text string quickly for a language-learning app that teaches Japanese to English speakers so that the end-user can type their answers in their native language but still receive answers in both English and Japanese.
5. Improve Speech Recognition
Today’s app users want to use a hands-free approach to the web and use apps that help them to do this. That’s why it’s crucial to offer voice search options. However, your app should be able to interpret the diction of your audience.
You can use Azure’s Cognitive Services to enhance voice search with its improved speech recognition capabilities using its Speech API. For example, its Speaker Recognition technology can be used to verify and identify users based on saved audio samples of the user’s voice with the ability to depict accents and diction. Also, you can use the Text to Speech API to translate text into audio.
Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder and President of Arkenea, a custom software development company that helps entrepreneurs and businesses build experience-rich mobile and web apps. Rahul has been featured as a business technology thought leader in numerous media channels such as Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc, among others.