Ignite 2022 : Improvements and new features for Azure

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At this year’s Ignite conference, Microsoft announced a long list of new features and improvements for a variety of Azure services. As you might expect, the focus remains on machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. Below are some of the new features or enhancements that you can expect or are already in preview.

Responsible AI dashboard

The Azure Machine Learning Responsible AI dashboard will soon be generally available, enabling customers to easily implement Responsible AI by debugging machine learning models and making informed data-driven decisions. The Responsible AI scorecard includes an on-demand UI to generate PDF scorecards that allows no-code/low-code customers to generate reports for their models.

Cognitive Service for speech

New capabilities are added to the speech-to-text and text-to-speech services offered by Azure Cognitive Service for Speech. These services will change the way businesses deliver media experiences, accessibility and customer service.

This includes adding new languages ​​and emotions to Neural Text to Speech to expand voice assistant abilities and doing other things, and synthetic voice training with Custom Neural Voice, which includes multiple tones such as happy or sad. This also includes Embedded Speech, which enables companies to use Azure speech services on their devices, customization features such as lexicons to increase speech recognition accuracy, and improved audio processing of all pre-packaged Azure voices.

Form recognition features in preview

A pre-built AI model that automatically extracts contract-specific elements such as parties and payment terms, and expanded language support for 275 languages ​​worldwide are among the additional features currently in preview for Azure Form Recognizer.

computer vision

Image Analysis 4.0 and Spatial Analysis on the Edge are two services that Computer Vision is introducing and are currently in preview. Image Analysis 4.0 is an enhanced model designed to extract a wide range of visual information from photos to improve customer accessibility and digital asset management.
By absorbing live streaming footage from cameras, deriving insights, and producing events that other systems can exploit, Spatial Analysis on the Edge increases security.

cosmos DB adding distributed PostgreSQL support

With added support for distributed PostgreSQL, Azure Cosmos DB now delivers open-source relational data with a fast, customizable, and scalable service. The new Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL, powered by the Hyperscale (Citus) engine, offers everything developers love about PostgreSQL and the powerful Citus extension to Microsoft’s fast and scalable database for building cloud-native apps. Now developers can use the same well-known database service to build apps that use both relational and non-relational (NoSQL) data.

The developer interface for open source technologies has been improved in Azure Cosmos DB.
Because Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB now supports documents up to 16MB in size, MongoDB developers can store larger documents. Most of these modifications are accessible.

For more information on this and other news, visit the Microsoft Ignite 2022 official website.

What do you think of these new features and improvements? How do they compare to offers from Google or Amazon? Do you think Microsoft is innovating fast enough to catch up and fend off the competition? Let us know in the comments below.

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