Microsoft launches Azure cloud services for AI and blockchain

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Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has announced a series of new Azure services and developer technologies ahead of its Build conference next week that will make it easier for developers to to create new AI, mixed reality, IoT and blockchain projects.

The company will help developers and data scientists apply AI to any solution through Azure Cognitive Services which can give applications the ability to see, hear, respond, translate, reason and more. Microsoft is also launching a new Cognitive Services category, called Decision, that delivers specific recommendations to users for more informed and efficient decision-making.

The company is even bringing AI to Azure Search by making its cognitive search capability generally available. Customers will soon be able to apply Cognitive Services algorithms to extract new insights from both their structured and unstructured content.

New innovations in Azure Machine Learning will also help simplify the process of building, training and deploying machine learning models. A new visual machine learning interface will enable developers to create machine learning models without the need for writing code while MLOps capabilities with Azure DevOps integration will provide them with reproducibility, auditability and automation of the end-to-end machine learning lifecycle.

Azure Blockchain Service

Last year Microsoft announced Azure Blockchain Workbench to provide developers with a simple UI to model blockchain applications on a preconfigured Azure-supported network and now the company is taking things a step further with Azure Blockchain Service.

The new service simplifies the formation, management and governance of consortium blockchain networks to allow businesses to focus on workflow logic and app development. Azure Blockchain Service even deploys a fully managed consortium network which offers built-in governance for common management tasks such as adding new members, setting permissions and authenticating user applications.

Microsoft also announced that JP Morgan's Ethereum platform, Quorum, will be the first ledger available in Azure Blockchain Service. This will give customers of both companies the ability to deploy and manage scalable blockchain networks in the cloud.

Executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud and AI Group, Scott Guthrie provided further insight into company's recent announcements, saying:

“It’s an incredible time to be a developer. From building AI and mixed reality into apps to leveraging blockchain for solving commercial business problems, developers’ skillsets and impact are growing rapidly. Today we’re delivering innovative Azure services for developers to build the next generation of apps. With 95% of Fortune 500 customers running on Azure, these innovations can have far-reaching impact.”