Microsoft wants to put Cortana in your business apps

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During the company's recent Ignite conference in Orlando, Microsoft revealed that it is bringing Cortana to the office in a big way with its new Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise platform.

The new development platform is currently available by invitation only but once it becomes generally available, organisations will be able to build Cortana functionality right into their business apps which will allow employees to interact with their devices and software using only their voice.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President in charge of Cortana, Javier Soltero explained why the company chose to give businesses access to its virtual assistant Cortana, saying:

“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. It’s important for enterprises to be able to enable their workforces to use Cortana to perform company-specific tasks.” 

The Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise is powered by Microsoft's Azure Bot Service and the new development platform leverages Language Understanding from Azure Cognitive Services. This allows developers to create company-specific skills for Cortana using known and trusted tools. Company admins can also control when skills are deployed and who can access them using Azure Active Directory.

While we do not yet know what skills businesses will create for the platform, IT developers at Microsoft created an IT help desk skill as a proof of concept that enables Cortana to file tickets for employees experiencing computer issues and connect them to someone who can help.

Businesses interested in creating their own Cortana skills can request an invitation from Microsoft to try out the new development platform ahead of its official release.

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