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14

Aug

One small step for man, one giant leap for BI

Have you ever asked yourself how much data exists and how much is stored in data centres all over the world? How much information about your company or even about yourself exists on Earth? Or how much data is created every second of every day? I believe most of us have considered this, but have possibly not grasped the full magnitude of it, so I will try to give you an idea of what we are talking about.

In the 20 or so seconds it took to read these questions and think about them:

  • 5,730 Tweets were sent;
  • 85,000 Facebook comments were posted;
  • 435,990 GB of Internet traffic was consumed;
  • 25,796,020 e-mails were sent. 

It is incredible when you start to think about it, isn’t it?

Every day, we generate millions and millions of gigabytes of data and the most important thing to consider here is: how is this large amount of data managed? Or even better, how does one extract value from it i.e. how do you convert data into information? The answer to these questions is what makes up the world of Business Intelligence (BI) and propels it forward into a very promising future.

If we look back approximately 15 years, BI was just used to produce data and create simple reports, whereas now it is amazing to see the benefits that BI brings to enterprises and personal environments. A couple of years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that business users could understand the data source, create their own dashboards and reports, share them inside their organisation, without needing the support of an IT department. But now, this a very common scenario with the use of self-service BI tools.

In this age, we must start thinking about how data analytics can be even better, faster and more accessible; how machines and devices can be smarter; and how far can we go using these technologies to improve our world. Microsoft has made valuable contributions to Business Intelligence in the last few years to help further this vision and it is worth describing two of them in particular here:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

At Microsoft, researchers in AI are coupling the explosion of digital data and computational power with advanced algorithms to enable collaborative and natural interactions between people and machines. With this in mind, Microsoft have set an ambitious objective of democratising AI for people and organisations across the globe. They are aiming to deliver new capabilities to people across:

  • Agents (objective to change how human and computer interact with each other, i.e. Microsoft Cortana);
  • Applications (include intelligence in every Microsoft application, i.e. Skype & Office 365);
  • Services (make cognitive capabilities, such as vision and speech, available to Microsoft developers);
  • Infrastructure (built the most powerful AI computer with Azure and enable people and organisation to use its power).


Microsoft’s AI vision, rooted in research, conversations

Cognitive Services

Microsoft has built a collection of powerful AI algorithms to give customers the ability to interact with machines in the most human way, such as vision, speech, language or knowledge. Microsoft Cognitive Services lets you build applications with powerful algorithms using just a few lines of code, and it’s one of Microsoft’s machine learning APIs.

“Microsoft Cognitive Services (formerly Project Oxford) are a set of APIs, SDKs and services available to developers to make their applications more intelligent, engaging and discoverable.” (Microsoft)

Cognitive Services allows your apps the capability to:

  • Process spoken language;
  • Evaluate sentiment;
  • Learn how to detect, organise and recognise faces in photos;
  • Predict customer behaviour;
  • Recognise a person by voice;
  • Translate texts with simple REST APIs.

These are just a few examples of what you can develop using Cognitive Services providing a very rich collection and documentation of APIs available to use in your apps.

In conclusion, before machine learning, could we imagine creating and improving complex mathematical algorithms to predict tendencies and guidelines for a company? Or use speech to identify and authenticate individuals into your apps? Now it is totally possible and we just need to make analytics a priority for our business.

We can create applications and services using artificial intelligence that will give customers more productivity on daily tasks, from interacting with Power BI reports to using Microsoft Cortana for voice recognition to creating advanced predictive analytics. The gains for those customers can be big when talking about obtaining and understanding data in a faster and more effective way using these new concepts of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Posted by: Danilo Castro, Junior Developer | 14 August 2017

Tags: Power BI, Data Intelligence, Digital Transformation, Less Busyness More Business, Data Analytics


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