Introduction to Azure Cognitive Services

Azure is an cloud computing service developed by Microsoft for building, testingdeployingmanaging apps and services through Microsoft managed data centers. It provides three kinds of Services such as Saas, Paas and Iaas.

Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Machine Learning(ML) is now a mainstream technology used by most of the applications. Mainly it’s used for automation and reduce the work which is done manually. Azure marked their footprint on AI and ML using Azure Cognitive Services.

In this blog, we will see an detailed description about Azure Cognitive Services.

What is Azure Cognitive Service?

Before going to explore about what is it, we shall see about what is cognition? The Wikipedia says,

the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understand through thought, experience, and the senses.

In the above image,

  • It’s an picture of Satya Nadella
  • It’s an image of a person
  • The person is speaking.

Bases upon the image, we just made an cognition to describe about the image. Microsoft Azure have made some services to do cognition which is known as Azure Cognitive Services.

Azure Cognitive Services are API’s, SDKs and services that helps developers to build intelligent AI and ML applications without having deep knowledge on AI or data science skills. The main goal of Azure Cognitive Service is to help developers who can create applications that can see,hear,speak and understand.

Why Azure Cognitive Service?

There are various reasons for choosing Azure Cognitive Service such as,

  • Easy to integrate with your applications.
  • Azure provides all kinds of cognitive services.
  • The pricing is based upon the request made to the respective cognitive service(pay-as-you-go model).
  • It would give you smarter suggestions, which will increase your profit in business process.
  • It can provide language analysis, sentiment evaluation, speaker recognition etc.
  • It’s one of the most powerful cognitive service available.

Pillars of Azure Cognitive Service

Azure Cognitive Services can be categorized into five main pillars such as,

  • Vision
  • Speech
  • Language
  • Knowledge / Decision
  • Search


Vision API’s provides you six functionalities that can be done at ease.

  • Computer Vision – Process images using Advanced Algorithms and will return you proper information.
  • Custom Vision Service – You can build custom image classifiers
  • Face API – Process face attribute detection and recognition using Advance face algorithms.
  • Form Recognizer(Preview) – Extract key-value pairs from a document
  • Ink Recognizer(Preview) – Helps you to analyse digital ink store data, shapes and handwritten content.
  • Video Indexer – Extract insights from the respective video.


Speech API’s provides you four functionalities such as,

  • Speech Service – Allows you to add speech-enabled features to your application.
  • Speaker Recognition API(Preview) – Using algorithms it will identify the speaker based upon the audio.
  • Bing Speech(Retiring) – Bing Speech API is one of the strongest speech API which you can make use of it in your applications.
  • Translator Speech(Retiring) – It is an machine translation service.


Language API’s provide you four functionalities such as,

  • Language Understanding – Language Understanding Service(LUIS) helps to understand the requirements of an user based upon the words given.
  • QnA maker – Allows you to build question and answer service.
  • Text Analytics – Provides natural language processing over raw text.
  • Translator Text – Provides machine-based text translation in real time.


Search API’s provides you ten strong powerful functionalities.

  • Bing News Search – Returns a list of new’s articles based upon the given query.
  • Bing Video Search – Return a list of videos based upon the search.
  • Bing Web Search – Returns you appropriate list of search results based upon the given query.
  • Bing Autosuggest – Allows you to send a partial search query such that it will give a list of suggested queries.
  • Bing Custom Search – Allows you to search on a focused query.
  • Bing Entity Search – Allows you to search based upon entities.
  • Bing Image Search – Returns a list of images based upon the users query.
  • Bing Visual Search – Return the insight of the uploaded image.
  • Bing Local Business Search – Allows you to find contact and location information about local business users.
  • Bing Spell Check – Allows you to perform contextual grammar and spell checking.


Decision API’s provides you around three functionalities.

  • Anomaly Detector(Preview) – Allows you to detect abnormalities over your data. 
  • Content Moderator – Provides monitoring for undesirable content.
  • Personalizer – Allows to read the user actions and based upon that you should be give proper suggestions next time.


If you have Azure subscription, you can create Azure Cognitive Service straight away from the portal. And using the API key, you should be able to access the respective Cognitive Service from your applications. You can try out all these Azure Cognitive Services in this link.

There are lot of AI and ML services available but Microsoft Azure Cognitive Service is keep on evolving day by day. And the results provided by these API’s are almost accurate.

In our next blog, we will explore about Azure Bot Framework.

Happy Coding!

Cheers! 🙂

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