There are very few businesses today that are not seriously considering what artificial intelligence (AI) could do for them. AI’s potential for improving productivity, saving time, and boosting efficiency are impossible to ignore. Indeed, recent surveys show that 35% of businesses are already using AI in some form in 2023, and 42% are planning to adopt it soon.

But what if you don’t have the in-house development skills, computer scientists or computing power to set up your own AI service? The fact is that few companies today have the capacity to build AI tools from scratch by themselves. And this is where Microsoft’s Azure Cognitive Services help.

What are Azure Cognitive Services?

Azure Cognitive Services bring together multiple cloud-based AI tools which are accessible through Microsoft Azure. They allow developers to integrate ready-made AI technologies into their own apps, without having to build the underlying AI system themselves. To use them in your apps, you need to connect to the services using application programming interfaces (APIs). Once you’re connected, you can start using some incredibly advanced technologies.

Azure Cognitive Services were first introduced in 2015, and the number of AI services has grown consistently since then. In early 2023, Microsoft added a new connector to the Azure OpenAI services (OpenAI are the people who built ChatGPT). So, you can now use this ground-breaking technology in your apps too. Many well-known businesses are already using Azure Cognitive Services – including familiar names such as Uber, Volkswagen, KPMG and beyond.

Microsoft sets fairly competitive per-use rates for using these services. A list of costs can be found here.


Related: How Microsoft Azure makes continual innovation possible

What can you do with Azure Cognitive Services?

When you use Azure Cognitive Services, you can connect to around 20 different AI services today. These services can be broken down into the following five categories:


Services include computer vision, facial recognition, character recognition and object recognition.

How could you use this service? A car hire company may want to use an app to cross reference a customer’s face with an image of their driver’s license that they previously uploaded to their account. Using Azure’s computer vision service, the car hire company’s app could verify the user’s identity by asking them to take a selfie with their smartphone before they drive away.


Services include speech to text and text to speech, speaker recognition, hands-free commands, and translation.

How could you use this service? A financial advisory company wants to use voice recognition in their app to verify a customer’s identity when they log in. They could use the speaker identification API in Azure Cognitive Services to help verify a customer’s voice to improve security and the user experience.


Services include text analytics, language understanding, sentiment analysis, and chatbots.

How could you use this service? A fashion retail business wants to provide a chatbot on its website to answer people’s questions about product size, fit, delivery options and so on. Azure Cognitive Service’s question answering API would let the company build a smart chatbot that can analyse and understand the way people answer questions and serve up answers based on you’re the company’s internal documents.


Services include an anomaly detector, a personalizer, and a content moderator – among others.

How could you use this service? A media business could use the personalizer tool to identify which kinds of content different types of users consume in their app, and uses this information to provide a more personalised experience.

For example, one user might open their local newspaper’s app and mainly view business articles, whereas another person might mostly click on sports stories. The personalizer means the app would learn about each individual’s tastes and serve up more similar content to them – thereby encouraging them to use the app more.

OpenAI integration (ChatGPT)

As of March 2023, Azure Cognitive Services allows users to connect to the power of ChatGPT, and bring it into their apps.

How could you use this service?

A university decides to create a piece of software that summarises all the research papers produced by its academics and publishes them automatically as updates on their website, intranet, and social media. They use the OpenAI integration in Azure Cognitive Services to connect with ChatGPT. It ‘reads’ the papers, then produces a bitesize summary.


How will you start using Azure Cognitive Services?

With a wide variety of APIs and many powerful technologies at your fingertips, the possibilities for creating intelligent apps with Azure Cognitive Services are almost unlimited.

So, are you ready to start using Azure Cognitive Services in your organisation’s apps? If so, FITTS can help. Our consultants can support you to begin using the technology so you can create smarter, more responsive apps.

Contact us today to talk about how you’d like to start using Azure Cognitive Services.