Microsoft aims AI tech at businesses with Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise

The developer tool means developers can integrate more advanced AI features into their apps

Microsoft's Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise will transform the way employees and customers connect with businesses, Microsoft has revealed, explaining its new AI platform will make it easier for developers to integrate Cortana's voice capabilities in apps.

Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise is powered by Microsoft's Azure Bot Service, using Language Understanding from Azure Cognitive Services to specifically tailor voice services to the particular business. 

"At heart, we are about providing valuable assistance to users throughout their day. That assistance takes different forms depending on where the users are in their day and what they are trying to do," said Javier Soltero, the Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of Cortana. "It's important for enterprises to be able to enable their workforces to use Cortana to perform company-specific tasks."

Other skills developers can include in their apps will be helpful for HR teams managing their employees, or operations. One highlighted application could be for operations managers to organise a scheduled office clean. Rather than the employee needing to find a cleaning company and make arrangements manually, they could automate the process through Azure.

Another example could be using Cortana to respond to employee IT problems. Instead of employees needing to spend lots of time going backwards and forwards with the IT team, they could instead log a problem verbally on a support system and be automatically matched with an IT worker who can fix their issue without wasting time.

"One of the things that holds people back from getting better service from a help desk is the often-laborious task of filing the ticket in the first place," noted Soltero. "You don't bother because you're in the middle of something so you restart the app or reboot your computer. You endure pain in different forms instead of actually getting the issue resolved."

Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise is available by invitation only at the moment.

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