Welcome to the Nightingale HQ overview about Azure Cognitive Services.
Here we aim to introduce people to what they need to know.
Azure Cognitive Services is a Microsoft Azure product. Read more about Microsoft Azure here.
Azure Cognitive Services: A comprehensive family of AI services and cognitive APIs to help you build intelligent apps.
Cognitive Services bring AI within reach of every developer – without requiring machine-learning expertise. All it takes is an API call to embed the ability to see, hear, speak, search, understand and accelerate decision-making into your apps.
Cognitive Services are divided into five categories as outlined below.
Azure Cognitive Services comprise a collection of APIs (application program interfaces), SDKs (software development kits), and services that developers can use to make their apps more intelligent without the need to build and train algorithms from scratch.
You may need Azure Cognitive Services if:
Benefits of Azure Cognitive Services include:
To get started with Azure Cognitive Services, you need a Microsoft Azure account. Read more about Microsoft Azure here.
Setting up an Azure Cognitive Services product is quick and easy, and a free tier is available for all of the different services so you can experiment with the services before spending any money.
To set up a service:
Once you have your API key you can call the service from another application, for example:
You can also integrate the services into your own application by calling the API.
You can monitor your usage using the Azure Dashboard.
Azure Cognitive Services are built on Microsoft Azure security infrastructure and use all Microsoft Azure security measures. You can read more about Microsoft Azure security here.
The privacy of data processed by Azure Cognitive Services is maintained in alignment with Azure’s privacy commitments, which you can read about here.
Microsoft Azure carries an impressive list of compliance certifications which you can view here.
Azure Cognitive Services are pay-as-you-go services so you only pay for what you use, and there are no up-front set-up fees. Read more about Microsoft Azure and its pricing structure here.
The pricing structure differs between services. Each service offers a free tier allowance (for example, Bing Autosuggest provides 1000 monthly transactions on the free tier), and beyond the free tier the services are billed by number of transactions (calls to the API) or by amount of data processed. For example:
These billable transactions reduce in cost as monthly thresholds are surpassed.
You can read more about Azure Cognitive Services pricing here.
There are other Machine Learning APIs available from different vendors, however Azure Cognitive Services offers the most extensive collection of services. If a competitor offers a service that interests you, your choice will mostly be determined by preference between the vendors, suitability of the interface, individual features and your existing skills.
Other Machine Learning APIs include: