14

Dec

Build Great Conversational Bots Using Azure Bot Service & LUIS (Both Services Now Generally Available)

Re-posted from the Microsoft Azure blog.

Conversational AI, or making human and computer interactions more natural, has been a goal of computer scientists for a long time. In support of that longstanding quest, we are excited to announce the general availability of two key Microsoft Azure services that streamline the creation of interactive conversational bots, namely the Azure Bot Service and the Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS).

The Azure Bot Service helps developers create conversational interfaces on multiple channels. LUIS helps developers create customized natural interactions on any platform for any type of application, including bots. With these two services now generally available on Azure, developers can easily build custom models that naturally interpret the intentions of users who converse with their bots.

We are also introducing new capabilities in each service. Azure Bot Service is now available in more regions, offers premium channels to communicate better with users, and provides advanced customization capabilities. LUIS now has an updated user interface, is available in more regions as well, and helps developers create substantially richer conversational experiences in their apps. More detailed information about the new features of Azure Bot Service and LUIS can be obtained here.

LUIS, in fact, is

14

Dec

Politecnico di Milano preserves ancient temple with a simple IoT solution

https://blogs.microsoft.com/iot/2017/12/14/politecnico-di-milano-preserves-ancient-temple-simple-iot-solution/Source: https://blogs.microsoft.com/iot/2017/12/14/politecnico-di-milano-preserves-ancient-temple-simple-iot-solution/     Forty-five feet beneath the Teatro dell’Opera (National Opera House) in Rome — the site where the Circus Maximus stood during the days of the Roman Empire — lies the Mitreo, a temple of the god Mithras. READ MORE

13

Dec

Calling All AI Innovators – Join the ‘Cloud AI Challenge’ for a Chance to Win $25,000

This post is authored by Vani Mandava, Director of Data Science at Microsoft Research.

The AI revolution is poised to unleash unprecedented innovation and impact on our society. Several research and development groups across Microsoft have hit their stride in delivering world-changing impact through the power of AI. Working together, we are creating a comprehensive Microsoft AI platform and a set of AI services that will enable the next generation of intelligent applications that will augment human intelligence.

The AI buzz has been impossible to miss at numerous conferences that Microsoft has participated in during the past year. AI was pervasive at the massive HPC conference, SC17, traditionally a supercomputing conference swarmed by the scientific computing community. Attendees spent an entire day during the Cloud Computing for Science and Engineering tutorial learning how to build parallel and scalable scientific applications in the cloud using Jupyter notebooks through the Data Science Virtual Machine. Attendees also got an opportunity to test-drive the new Azure Machine Learning tools, which provide a powerhouse of open source -based free tools to build AI enabled applications.

In this context, we are thrilled to announce an exciting new Cloud AI Challenge and would like to invite the

13

Dec

Bring clarity to complex data with graph databases on SQL Server 2017

SQL Server 2017, in addition to processing relational data, now fully integrates with graph database models, all on the same familiar system. This will bring clarity to the increasing amounts of data businesses generate every day.

What’s the difference between graph and relational databases?

Relational databases, like SQL Server, use foreign keys to manage relationships between entities and tables. Foreign keys adequately query one-to-many relationships; however, as relationships between various data entities become more complex, queries also become more complex and performance may diminish as a result.

In these cases, developers may opt for graph database models to manage complex relationships and enable operational agility. In a graph database, edges are heterogeneous in nature—a single edge can be used to connect different type of nodes to each other. This is not easy to achieve using foreign keys in a relational database. For example, consider a social graph where a person (node) likes another person (edge) or organization (node) or restaurant (node). Here the same ‘likes’ edge is used to connect three different types of nodes and entities to each other—person to person; person to organization; and person to restaurant.

So, how do graph databases work?

Graph databases are comprised of a

13

Dec

Conversational Bots Deep Dive – What’s new with the General Availability of Azure Bot Service and Language Understanding

This post was authored by the Azure Bot Service and Language Understanding Team.

Microsoft brings the latest advanced chatbot capabilities to developers’ fingertips, allowing them to create apps that see, hear, speak, understand, and interpret users’ needs — using natural communication styles and methods.

Today, we’re excited to announce we’re making generally available Microsoft Cognitive Services Language Understanding service (LUIS) and Azure Bot Service, two top notch AI services to create digital agents that interact in natural ways and make sense of the surrounding environment.

Think about the possibilities: all developers regardless of expertise in data science able to build conversational AI that can enrich and expand the reach of applications to audiences across a myriad of conversational channels. The app will be able to understand natural language, reason about content and take intelligent actions. Bringing intelligent agents to developers and organizations that do not have expertise in data science is disruptive to the way humans interact with computers in their daily life and the way enterprises run their businesses with their customers and employees.

Through our preview journey in the past two years, we have learned a lot from interacting with thousands of customers undergoing digital transformation. We highlighted

13

Dec

Announcing the General Availability of Azure Bot Service and Language Understanding, enabling developers to build better conversational bots

Conversational AI, or making human and computer interactions more natural, has been a goal since technology became ubiquitous in our society. Our mission is to bring conversational AI tools and capabilities to every developer and every organization on the planet, and help businesses augment human ingenuity in unique and differentiated ways.

Today, I’m excited to announce Microsoft Azure Bot Service and Microsoft Cognitive Services Language Understanding (LUIS) are both generally available.

Azure Bot Service enables developers to create conversational interfaces on multiple channels while Language Understanding (LUIS) helps developers create customized natural interactions on any platform for any type of application, including bots. Making these two services generally available on Azure simultaneously extends the capabilities of developers to build custom models that can naturally interpret the intentions of people conversing with bots.

This announcement delivers on our AI Platform approach, providing developers and data scientists with all the tools they need to create AI applications in the cloud and on mobile devices. In November, at Connect(); 2017, we released tools to infuse AI into new and existing applications quickly and easily with updates to Azure Machine Learning (AML) including Azure IoT Edge integration, as well as new Visual Studio Tools

13

Dec

Azure ARM API for consumption usage details
Azure ARM API for consumption usage details

As an update to the Reporting APIs for Enterprise customers we are releasing an updated usage details API. This is a first step in the consolidation of Azure cost and usage based APIs in the ARM (Azure Resource Manager) model. The updated usage details API will support:

Migrating from a key based authorization model to ARM based authentication. The benefits of this authorization mode are an improved security posture and the ability to utilize ARM RBAC for authorization. Adding support for Web Direct subscriptions, with a few exceptions documented below. The ability to use filters and expand usage details. Call the API for either a subscription scope, or a subscription and billing period scope. All calls for a subscription will return data for the current billing period. Filter criteria will support dates, resource groups, resources, and instances. Additional details on the filters are available in the Swagger.

For Enterprise customers, reporting at a grain higher than the subscription is a work in progress and until released, you will need to continue to use the existing API. The consumption ARM API is the area we continue to invest in for cost related APIs with the goals of normalizing our APIs across

13

Dec

New Azure management and cost savings capabilities
New Azure management and cost savings capabilities

Enterprise customers choose Azure because of the unique value it provides as a productive, hybrid, intelligent and trusted cloud. Today I’m excited to announce four new management and cost savings capabilities. Azure Policy, now in public preview, provides control and governance at scale for your Azure resources. Azure Cost Management is rolling out the support for Azure Virtual Machine Reserved Instances management later this week to help you maximize savings over time.. To continue our commitment to making Azure cost-effective, we are reducing the prices of up to 4% on our Dv3 Series in several regions in the coming days, and making our lowest priced Storage tier Azure Archive Storage generally available today.

Simple ways to ensure a secure and well-managed cloud infrastructure

Azure is committed to providing a secure cloud foundation, while making available a comprehensive set of services to ensure that your cloud resources are secure and well-managed. Cloud security and management is a joint responsibility between Microsoft and the customer. We recommend that customers follow secure and well-managed cloud best practices for every production virtual machine. To help you achieve this goal, Azure has built-in services that can be configured quickly, are always up to date and

13

Dec

General availability of Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner for VMware and Hyper-V

I am excited to announce the general availability (GA) of the Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner for VMware and Hyper-V. This tool helps VMware and Hyper-V enterprise customers to understand their on-premises networking requirements, Microsoft Azure compute and storage requirements for successful Azure Site Recovery replication, and test failover or failover of their applications.

Apart from understanding infrastructure requirements, our customers also needed a way to estimate the total disaster recovery (DR) cost to Azure. In this GA release, we have added detailed estimated DR cost to Azure for your environment. You can generate a report with the latest Azure prices based on your subscription, the offer that is associated with your subscription, and the target Azure region for the specified currency. The Deployment Planner report gives you cost for compute, storage, network, and Azure Site Recovery licenses.

Key features of the tool The Deployment Planner can be run without having to install any Azure Site Recovery components to your on-premises environment. The tool does not impact the performance of production servers, as no direct connection is made to them. All performance data is collected from the Hyper-V server or VMware vCenter Server/VMware vSphere ESXi Server, which hosts the production

13

Dec

Cloud storage now more affordable: Announcing general availability of Azure Archive Storage

Today we’re excited to announce the general availability of Archive Blob Storage starting at an industry leading price of $0.002 per gigabyte per month! Last year, we launched Cool Blob Storage to help customers reduce storage costs by tiering their infrequently accessed data to the Cool tier. Organizations can now reduce their storage costs even further by storing their rarely accessed data in the Archive tier. Furthermore, we’re also excited to announce the general availability of Blob-Level Tiering, which enables customers to optimize storage costs by easily managing the lifecycle of their data across these tiers at the object level.

From startups to large organizations, our customers in every industry have experienced exponential growth of their data. A significant amount of this data is rarely accessed but must be stored for a long period of time to meet either business continuity or compliance requirements; think employee data, medical records, customer information, financial records, backups, etc. Additionally, recent and coming advances in artificial intelligence and data analytics are unlocking value from data that might have previously been discarded. Customers in many industries want to keep more of these data sets for a longer period but need a scalable and cost-effective solution