The Azure Bot Framework was introduced two years ago by Microsoft and companies have been building chatbots for a variety of situations ever since. Today, the Microsoft Azure Bot Service and Microsoft Cognitive Language Understanding service (known as LUIS), were made available by the tech giant.
“Making these two services generally available on Azure simultaneously extends the capabilities of developers to build custom models that can naturally interpret the intentions of people conversing with bots,” Lili Cheng, corporate vice president at the MS AI and Research division announced.
Microsoft has created a whole set of tools for developers to create their bots, including the Bot Framework and Cognitive Services. Cheng says flexibility is at the core of the Chatbot service. You don’t even need to host it on Azure if you don’t want to. The Bot service is actually part of a broader set of Azure services Microsoft has created to help developers build applications with artificial intelligence underpinnings.
Cheng said more than 200,000 developers have signed up for the Bot service, and they currently have 33,000 active bots in areas like retail, healthcare, financial services and insurance. Companies building bots with the Microsoft tools include Molson Coors, UPS and Sabre.
“You can build a bot and auto provision on Azure and you can publish on Facebook Messenger, Slack and most of the Microsoft channels [such as] Cortana, Skype and Skype for teams,” – Lili Cheng
You also can embed the bot in a web page or in an app and customize the UI as you see fit. When you combine the bot building tools with the LUIS language understanding tool, you get what should be a powerful combination.
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