Microsoft's Cognitive Services application programming interfaces (APIs) give developers a way to add features like speech recognition, language understanding, sentiment detection and more to their applications.
Cognitive Services and bots are both part of Microsoft's overall artificial intelligence and more specific "conversation as a platform" strategies. Microsoft's Cognitive Services APIs are meant to work well with the Microsoft Bot Framework and be useful in bot scenarios. (They also can be used independently of bot scenarios.) Like Microsoft's Cognitive Services, bots can be speech, language, and vision-based.
Microsoft is renaming and making available as a public preview its Custom Speech Service (formerly known during private preview as CRIS). The Custom Speech Service tool applies Microsoft's speech-to-text engine to developer-supplied data.
Microsoft has tuned its speech recognition algorithms for more than a decade so they perform in noisy areas and with jargon, dialog and accents, officials said. The Custom Speech Service takes advantage of these algorithms, as described in this blog post.
Microsoft also will make its Content Moderator and Bing Speech API generally available in March 2017, officials said today. Content Moderator allows users to quarantine and review images, text, and video data before publishing that information. The Bing Speech API converts audio to text and converts text back to speech.
Microsoft officials said more than 424,000 developers in 60 countries have tried out various Microsoft Cognitive Services to date.