Developing Chat bots in Azure


There have been a lot of blog articles about chat bots and robots that will invade our daily life. Don’t worry, they are already here. Microsoft Azure has a lot of services that can be used to create Bots of different kinds.
The Azure Bot Service helps developer to accelerate the development and testing of their bots. It offer a set of predefined templates for Basic, LUIS, Form, and Proactive bots. The bot can be developed and tested in the Azure portal, or set up environment for Continuous Integration and delivery in Azure Team Services.
Azure has some powerful cognitive services like LUIS that enable chat bot to accept user input categorized as utterance – either as voice or written text. Azure has Speech APIs and Translation APIs to convert back and forward between speech to text, in addition to translate between different languages.
By using LUIS the bot can define a language model for Natural Language Processing (NLP) to translate utterance (user input) into intents (commands). An intent indicate a task to execute with a set of parameters. These tasks can be executes as Azure functions and use a wide range of APIs and Azure services like Azure cognitive services, Azure storage and Azure compute resources.
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The past years, Microsoft Azure has released a lot of services around analytics and data management. Many of them is centered around what is called Cortana Intelligence Suite (CIS) shown in the picture below:
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This suite connect many services together and shows the way how Microsoft is defining Analytics for the future. On the right bottom side the chat bots are resides with mobile and web applications. In short, CIS collect on-premise and cloud data from a different of sources like IoT devices, external apps, APIs and similar. These data can be stored in Data Lake Store or SQL DW that is the basis for analytical services as Azure Machine Learning, Data Lake Analytics, HDInsight and Stream Analytics.  The data from the storage or result of analytics tools can be visualized with PowerBI, and queried with web/web/bot applications.
But this will be the topic of future blog posts – over and out!
Happy coding…
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