Ana Lamelas


Content and Digital Coordinator

Microsoft Cognitive Services: the potential of the main APIs

Microsoft Cognitive Services is a set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and SDKs (Software Development Kits) which are available in Azure, and that allow developers to create apps that are more intelligent and dynamic, as well as to perform enriching actions for the user’s experience.

Basically, and according to Microsoft, “they are intelligent algorithms that allow their apps, machines and bots to see, listen, talk, understand and perceive users’ needs with natural communication methods”. These algorithms, which develop and enhance their own potential through Machine Learning, use background data which, in turn, is gathered through the use of mobile apps.

So, is it possible to talk about the democratisation of artificial intelligence? Yes. With Microsoft Cognitive Services, developers can implement facial or voice recognition features with just a few lines of code, without the need to develop algorithms from scratch. Therefore, Cognitive Services enable in depth readings and insights for a personalised understanding of the profile, through services such as:

  • Vision: includes image processing algorithms capable of identifying images in an intelligent manner. They can be used for facial recognition in order to work as a security mechanism with Face API, which gives the probability of an image being of a given person and identifies features such as age or sex.

It can also perceive emotions with Emotion API, detecting facial expressions of happiness, sadness, surprise or fear, for example.

  • Voice: converts spoken audio into text (with Bing Speech API) and verifies or recognises the speaker in a given app. With Translator Speech API, the user can have a translation in real time, written or spoken.
  • Knowledge: provides monitoring of information and complex data, in order to perform actions such as intelligent recommendations or semantic research (through Recommendation API or Custom Decision Service).
  • Language: processes natural language, through ready-made scripts and assessing emotions, and learns to identify the user’s needs. The ex-libris of language services is Language Understanding Intelligence Service (LUIS) which, by using intelligent voice recognition, allows the user to develop their own language models and bots to understand commands and perform actions according to what is requested.
  • Search: allows actions such as word suggestions, image or video search and actions that can be performed by APIs like Bing Web Search or Bing Custom Search.

How can Cognitive Services be used in different sectors? 

Retail: cognitive services enable the extraction of detailed insights, which will help understand the needs of your existing customers and attract new ones. For example, you will be able to understand what difficulties your customers have when buying online and address these, support your sellers in presenting the right product to the right customer, or simplify the payment process.

Education: you can find the interests of each student and modernise your teaching style with cognitive services and machine learning, or you can manage suggestions on how to improve the classroom experience.

Insurance: you can give your customers a better experience with mobile apps by using cognitive services such as facial or voice recognition. You can also use them to detect possible fraud.

Finance: they help to customise specific campaigns based on customer features or behaviours, leading to increased sales and ROI.

Health: you can develop a more personalised assistance to your clients with a bot. It can help, for example, with selecting a specialist to schedule an appointment. Another huge potential is the assistance cognitive services will be able to provide to doctors, by conducting a more detailed diagnosis.

Watch a real time demonstration of cognitive services at the 2018 Xamarin Experience event here.

Ana LamelasMicrosoft Cognitive Services: the potential of the main APIs
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The eight best books about DevOps and Agile

DevOps is a culture. The DNA of this culture is founded on collaboration, communication between teams and agility in software development. It is, therefore, the culture that allows for a perfect symbiosis between Devs’ work and the Operations team’s work.

Ana LamelasThe eight best books about DevOps and Agile
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Social Responsibility Actions: The Missão Aproximar

Xpand IT’s social responsibility mission started in 2013, and the aim was to formalise the social responsibility actions that the company had already been developing, along with the community, since 2008. The focus of the project is to support institutions that, in one way or another, are connected with the education field. Since its inception, Xpand IT has collaborated with several non-profit associations and institutional organisations, such as the Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Minho, the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, the Casa dos Rapazes, the CrescerSer Institution and the Social Center of São João.

Ana LamelasSocial Responsibility Actions: The Missão Aproximar
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Xpand IT is joining the global social movement, Pledge 1%

Xpand IT becomes the first Portuguese company to pledge 1% of profit. The company intends to integrate corporate philanthropy into its business model officially and will donate 1% of its product and profit to non-profit organisations every year through Pledge 1% movement.

Ana LamelasXpand IT is joining the global social movement, Pledge 1%
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[Free Ebook]: Retrieving Big Data business value with Hadoop

In a world increasingly driven by data, companies are using open source platforms like Hadoop to solve Big Data challenges. Although some have achieved business benefits from Hadoop, many Hadoop implementations either fail or fall short of expectations.

Ana Lamelas[Free Ebook]: Retrieving Big Data business value with Hadoop
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[Free playbook]: The 10 Coolest Add-ons for Jira Platform

As an Atlassian Expert since 2004, Xpand IT delivers top IT services and products to meet Application Lifecycle Management and Software Development Lifecycle requirements. In this playbook, we unveil ten of the coolest must have Jira add-ons that you can easily find in Atlassian Marketplace. We believe that Jira Software is an excellent tool, not only due to its issue and project-tracking capabilities, but also because you can tune it with amazing add-ons to make it an even better platform.

Ana Lamelas[Free playbook]: The 10 Coolest Add-ons for Jira Platform
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Interview: 40% of Xpand IT’s business comes from abroad

Xpand IT’s CEO, Paulo Lopes, believes the company will achieve a growth of 75% in the next three years, through a strategy built on nearshoring and product development.

With a 7,5 million euros income in the last year, Xpand IT will achieve a 30% margin profit in 2017. These are the CEO’s expectations, genuinely optimistic when it comes to the business evolution on the international marketplaces.

Ana LamelasInterview: 40% of Xpand IT’s business comes from abroad
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Interview: Solving Middleware Challenges with Red Hat

Working in partnership with Red Hat for more than five years, Xpand IT acts as a Red Hat/JBoss Premium Business Partner and a specialist in the Application Middleware area in Portugal. In a moment of growth for the open source technologies, Nuno Santos – Enterprise Solution Manager from Xpand IT, sets the path for a prosperous future between the two companies.

Ana LamelasInterview: Solving Middleware Challenges with Red Hat
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Pentaho & Big Data Ecosystem – After Event

Pentaho & Big Data Ecosystem – Live Seminar was held on 29th March at Conrad London St. James, London. This event had a total of 109 registrations and 33 participants, who represented some of the largest companies in interest areas such as Banking, Insurance, Transportation, Consulting Services, Education, etc.

Ana LamelasPentaho & Big Data Ecosystem – After Event
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