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The human-machine barrier

When humans interact with systems, the principal barrier is that machines traditionally recognise only strictly codified input. As a result, applications bristle with buttons, switches, toggles, menus and sub-menus for users to tell the system what they want to accomplish, making the user experience slow and frustrating. The need for rigidly defined input also raises development costs and has spawned a whole industry dedicated to improving the user experience.

Whether your applications are aimed at employees, partners or customers, recent advances in cognitive services could help you to understand what users are trying to achieve in a much more intuitive way. Cognitive services can be plugged into web pages and applications to enable them to see, hear, and understand user inputs in natural language.

Understanding what users want

New cloud-based cognitive services provide simple APIs for the seamless integration of sophisticated new capabilities into apps, websites and bots. Image-recognition services can identify and caption both still images and video, and can accurately recognise different users for simpler authentication. Speech-recognition services can compare new voice samples against known users for security purposes, and can accurately transcribe speech into text even for heavily accented speakers.

With natural-language processing, businesses can understand the intention behind user queries. While the current state-of-the-art technologies do not yet come close to human capabilities, they already provide sufficient power for useful process automation. For example, cloud-based systems can triage incoming phone calls, recognising queries that can be dealt with automatically and passing more complex queries to human responders. This shows the core benefit of cognitive services: the ability to scale up capacity without adding headcount.

Put knowledge to work

Businesses can now take advantage of cognitive services in the cloud to add advanced intelligence to existing solutions without needing to employ an army of data scientists. By marrying together multiple solutions – made easy through point-and-click integration – it is possible to parse incoming queries in natural language (whether spoken or written), determine intent, perform semantic searches in existing knowledge bases, make intelligent recommendations that combine multiple sources of data, and return answers in synthesized speech.

It is now even possible to use sentiment analysis of text, voice or facial expressions to accurately understand how your employees or customers are feeling. In a helpdesk context, this capability could enable a business to prioritise serious complaints and deal with them first.

Hit the ground running

The sheer variety of cognitive services on offer from major cloud vendors can make it hard to know where to start. Northdoor has a clear understanding of the market and of where other organisations are seeing the most value in applying technologies to their business processes. Starting with a cognitive workshop, we determine your business needs and the best starting points. We then design and execute a proof of concept to demonstrate the art of the possible.

Northdoor also understands how to integrate new technologies seamlessly into existing business processes, so that they deliver smarter outcomes without disrupting business-as-usual. Backed by the latest and greatest offerings from major cloud vendors, Northdoor can help you create, launch and scale your AI capabilities.