Microsoft in March announced a new generation of its data platform that adds artificial intelligence capabilities designed to allow enterprises to enhance their databases and applications with intelligent features.
“Leveraging intelligence out of the ever-increasing amounts of data can make the difference between being the next market disruptor or being relegated to the pages of history,” Microsoft announced in its SQL Server Blog.“…we will make several product announcements that can help empower every organization on the planet with data-driven intelligence.”
The heart of the AI platform announcement concerned Microsoft’s move to closely integrate AI processing capabilities into databases, data lakes and the cloud. The company announced release of a preview version of its SQL Server 2017, which Microsoft described as the world’s first relational database management system (RDBMS) with built-in AI.
The system is designed to bring AI to the location where the data resides by using graphics-processing-unit-based deep learning within the RDBMS. This allows AI processing to be conducted without having to develop statistical and analytical models outside the database. For enterprise developers, this results in an easier path to building enterprise-grade AI applications.
For the first time, Microsoft is adding support for the Python programming language to SQL Server. Python has proven to be suitable for a wide range of AI tasks, from artificial general intelligence to machine learning, to natural language processing, to neural networks.
To facilitate the infusion of cognitive intelligence into cloud-based enterprise apps and its overall data platform, Microsoft announced that three of its AI application programming interfaces (APIs) were made available on the Azure portal Face API, Computer Vision API and Content Moderator. These APIs can endow applications with AI functionality, including facial recognition, object recognition and machine-assisted moderation of text and images.
Microsoft also said it’s leveraging its AI technology to improve data security to data stored in the cloud. The company announced Threat Detection in Azure SQL Database, which uses machine learning to detect possible attempts to compromise security.
Microsoft also announced enhancements toCortana Intelligence, its collection of fully managed big-data and analytics services that can be used together to build sophisticated AI applications on Azure. The company rolled out Cortana Intelligence solution template that are designed to simplify the composition of services and the implementation of common design patterns.
These templates include Personalized Offers, which might be used in retail applications, and Quality Assurance, which could be employed in software used in manufacturing processes.
Microsoft said the templates could reduce development times for a complex architecture to minutes, down from days before.
Stephan Cunningham is vice president, product management at Veritone. Working in concert with core internal teams including industry-specific general managers and engineering as well as directly with clients and prospects, he leads the disciplines and business processes which govern the Veritone Platform.