AI-first content understanding, now across more types of content for even more use cases

This post is authored by Elad Ziklik, Principal Program Manager, Applied AI.

Today, data isn’t the barrier to innovation, usable data is. Real-world information is messy and carries valuable knowledge in ways that are not readily usable and require extensive time, resources, and data science expertise to process. With Knowledge Mining, it’s our mission to close the gap between data and knowledge.

We’re making it easier to uncover latent insights across all your content with:

  • Azure Search’s cognitive search capability (general availability)
  • Form Recognizer (preview)

Cognitive search and expansion into new scenarios

Announced at Microsoft Build 2018, Azure Search’s cognitive search capability uniquely helps developers apply a set of composable cognitive skills to extract knowledge from a wide range of content. Deep integration of cognitive skills within Azure Search enables the application of facial recognition, key phrase extraction, sentiment analysis, and other skills to content with a single click. This knowledge is organized and stored in a search index, enabling new experiences for exploring the data.

Cognitive search, now generally available, delivers:

  • Faster performance – Improved throughput capabilities with increased processing speeds up to 30 times faster than in preview. Completing previously hour-long tasks in only a couple of minutes.
  • Support of complex data types – Natively supported to extend the types of data that can be stored and searched (this has been the most requested Azure Search feature.) Raw datasets can include hierarchical or nested substructures that do not break down neatly into a tabular rowset, for example multiple locations and phone numbers for a single customer.
  • New skills – Extended library of pre-built skills based on customer feedback. Improved support for processing images, added ability to create conditional skills, and shaper skills that allow for better control and management of multiple skills in a skillset. Plus, entity recognition provides additional information to each entity identified, such as the Wikipedia URL.
  • Easy implementation – The solution accelerator provides all the resources needed to quickly build a prototype, including templates for deploying Azure resources, a search index, custom skills, a web app, and PowerBI reports. Use the accelerator to jump start development efforts and apply cognitive search to your business needs.

See what’s possible when you apply cognitive search to unstructured content, like art:

Tens of thousands of customers use Azure Search today, processing over 260 billion files each month. Now with cognitive search, millions of enrichments are performed over data ranging from PDFs to Office documents, from JSON files to JPEGs. This is possible because cognitive search reduces the complexity to orchestrate complex enrichment pipelines containing custom and prebuilt skills, resulting in deeper insight of content. Customers across industries including healthcare, legal, media, and manufacturing use this capability to solve business challenges.

“Complex customer needs and difficult markets are our daily business. Cognitive search enables us to augment expert knowledge and experience for reviewing complex technical requirements into an automated solution that empowers knowledge workers throughout our organization.”  Chris van Ravenswaay, Business Solution Manager, Howden

Extending AI-driven content understanding beyond search

Many scenarios outside of search require extracted insights from messy, complicated information. Expanding cognitive search to support unique scenarios, we are excited to announce the preview of the knowledge store capability within cognitive search – allowing access to AI-generated annotations in table and JSON format for application in non-search use cases like PowerBI dashboards, machine learning models, organized data repositories, bots, and other custom applications.

Form Recognizer, a new Cognitive Service

The Form Recognizer Cognitive Service, available in preview, applies advanced machine learning to accurately extract text, key-value pairs, and tables from documents.

With as few as 5 samples, Form Recognizer tailors its understanding to your documents. You can also use the REST interface of the Form Recognizer API to then integrate into cognitive search indexes, automate business processes, and create custom workflows for your business. You can turn forms into usable data at a fraction of the time and cost, so you can focus more time acting on the information rather than compiling it.

Container support for Form Recognizer supports use on the edge, on-premises, and in the cloud. The portable architecture can be deployed directly to Azure Kubernetes Service or Azure Container Instances or to a Kubernetes cluster deployed to Azure Stack.

Organizations like Chevron and Starbucks are using Form Recognizer to accelerate extraction of knowledge from forms and make faster decisions.

We look forward to seeing how you leverage these products to drive impact for your business.

Getting Started

Source: Azure Blog Feed

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