Introduction & Overview
Cognitive Services Features
Artificial Intelligence is not a future or distant concept; it is here and now, and being used by many companies of various sizes and industries. The foundational theory for AI was actually developed several decades ago, but recent advancements in big data, computing power, cloud, and algorithms have made it affordable and widespread today. With AI and Machine Learning, computers are now able to start reasoning, understanding, and interacting in ways that were never possible before.
Microsoft has created a predefined set of AI models available for companies of all sizes to start with called Cognitive Services, and best of all, they require little to no knowledge of data science. In this course, you will learn how to infuse your apps—on an architectural level—with the intelligence that Cognitive Services provide. We will cover what Cognitive Services are and how to use the various solutions they provide, including Vision, Speech, Language, Decision, and Web Search.
- Understand the functionality provided by Azure Cognitive Services
- Learn how to incorporate these services into your apps
- People who want to learn more about Azure Cognitive Services
- To get the most out of this course, you should have some prior knowledge of Azure as well as knowledge of at least one programming language.
Creating Cognitive Services is actually quite simple. I won't be able to show the creation of all Cognitive Services individually, but trust me that the process I'll show here is pretty similar across most of the non-custom ones.
So I'm here in the Portal, and I'll use Computer Vision as an example. I'll click here on the top-left corner, and select Create a Resource. Cognitive Services are here on the AI + Machine Learning section, so here it is, and I'll just click to create it.
The configuration is quite simple. I just need to setup a name, let's say CACV, for Cloud Academy Computer Vision, and I'll leave my default MSDN subscription. For location, you should ideally select the location closest to where you, or your resources are. I'll select Southeast Asia for myself.
Finally, as you can see here, we have two pricing tiers: F0 and S1. F0 is actually free, even though it has some limitations. But generally, for development and demo purposes, it serves us pretty well, so I'll select this one.
Under Resource Groups, I have one resource group for Cloud Academy, so I'll select this one and click create. This will take a few seconds, so in the meantime, let me show you a few other things.
On this tab, I have the homepage for Azure Cognitive Services. Here you can check several details, such as pricing, services available, for example, if I click here in APIs, and more. If I click here in documentation, and documentation again, I get to the root of Cognitive Services on docs.microsoft.com. Let's just scroll down, and select the Face link.
Here you can see a lot of information, ranging from overall information about the products all the way to developer-centric details. If I expand reference, for example, I see both the FACE API REST reference, and language-specific SDKs, software development kits, for several different languages. The SDKs generally give more functionality, whereas the REST API has the advantage of being language-independent. By clicking here on the Face API, and selecting, for example, Detection, I can see all the HTTP methods that this API accepts. That's a bit more of the developer's domain, but I would like you to be aware of it.
Let me now switch here to github.com/Microsoft. This is the main Microsoft repository on GitHub, and if I type Cognitive down here, I can find a lot of sample code related to these technologies.
Finally, let me come back here to the Azure Portal. My service is now created, so I'll click here at Go to Resource, and by clicking on Keys and Endpoints, I have the most important information to connect to this API: the HTTP endpoint for the service, and the keys to authorize access to it. Let's now dig a little bit deeper on the Vision technologies.
About the Author
Emilio Melo has been involved in IT projects in over 15 countries, with roles ranging across support, consultancy, teaching, project and department management, and sales—mostly focused on Microsoft software. After 15 years of on-premises experience in infrastructure, data, and collaboration, he became fascinated by Cloud technologies and the incredible transformation potential it brings. His passion outside work is to travel and discover the wonderful things this world has to offer.