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This week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled a new digital strategy targeted at businesses. During the company's recent Ignite conference, the tech giant pitched its digital assistant, Cortana, as the next big digital co-worker.
According to the developers, the Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise will transform the way employees and consumers interact. The toolkit will enable enterprises to build their own skills and agents within the organisation itself.
Alexa for the workplace?
Following the success of Alexa in the home, Microsoft's digital assistant is at risk of becoming irrelevant. However, a new study from Pindrop predicts that 78% of businesses are preparing to incorporate Cortana into their internal operations over the next two years.
The technology used in Microsoft's Azure Bot Service will power the new platform. The kit also uses Language Understanding feature from Azure Cognitive Services to specifically tailor voice services to each individual company.
The Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of Cortana, Javier Soltero, highlighted why the company chose to pitch its virtual assistant to businesses. “It's important for enterprises to be able to enable their workforces to use Cortana to perform company-specific tasks," he commented.
The AI co-worker
The new platform builds Cortana functionality into business apps. As a result, employees will be able to interact with multiple devices using the power of their voice.
“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,” Soltero added.
Voice recognition could be next enterprise tech revolution. Google's head of search Ben Gomes even declared that “speech recognition and the understanding of language is core to the future of search and information” earlier this week.
How can businesses access Cortana?
At present, the new development platform is only available by invitation. However, organisations looking to create their own Cortana skills can request an invitation from Microsoft to preview the platform ahead of its official release.