21-01-2020 4:27 am Published by Nederland.ai Leave your thoughts

Microsoft is one of the world's largest technology companies, so naturally it invests a considerable amount of time, energy, and resources in artificial intelligence. In addition to industrial applications, mainstream tools have received a steady influx of predictive tools into their services. Take for example the predictive typing, which is now present in everyday applications such as Microsoft 's Outlook and Google ' s Gmail. However, that is only scratches on the surface.

The technology, as we know it today, has a much larger application in business and industry, but consumer applications have been largely keyword-centric, or behind the scenes, to say the least. With the new AI tools as part of the Microsoft 365 suite, the company wants to make them visible while they work. In other words, they want to make these tools more relevant to your daily work. But while the benefits are clear, they may not be most suitable for almost everyone.

What they do

Microsoft's AI tools have a wide range of applications. Aneesh Dhawan, director of selling solutions at Microsoft India, gave a smooth demonstration of Microsoft's AI work tools. While some range from separating pools of data into neatly mapped spreadsheets, others include ways to export a printed sheet directly to digital form without having to type, and live subtitle tools that transcribe and store both audiovisual and textual records through video conferencing. Computer vision, machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) form the core of these technologies, and that is not surprising – if you've heard of AI, you've probably heard of all three technologies.

In many ways, Microsoft AI tools for workplaces are pretty good – impressive, indeed. For example, if you have a video call planned with a new business partner who speaks a different language at home, Microsoft's new live captioning and transcription tool, embedded in Teams, will instantly capture the call for you live capturing, thereby reducing communication barriers . I saw a glimpse of this at the round table conference organized by Microsoft, and it seemed to have no problem picking up the average Indian-English accent. In addition, live-text transcription from conferences is crucial for someone like me, for whom manually transcribing an interview is unbearably painful.

Other tools include Cortana-powered automatic meeting scheduling and hands-free email writing, a visual app that can scan a sheet of paper to automatically export spreadsheets, and an associated data tool that can further separate the data from messy spreadsheets for graphing. generate, subsections in tabular form and much more. Furthermore, NLP and visual data processing tools in Microsoft PowerPoint can convert scribbled notes into digitized forms. In essence, from what I learned from the brief demonstration, Microsoft's new AI tools are robust and accurate enough to replace large data-processing employees and even EEAs at work.

Who are they for?

However, here is the snag. Although everything Microsoft has shown seems to work pretty well, and I have no reason to think they won't – Big Tech companies make technologies that are to the point, but I'm not entirely sure if they are suitable for everyone. A majority of Indian workplaces and companies are small or medium-sized, and many offices mainly work with a limited workforce. For such companies, it is often sufficient to use a free service such as Google Drive, or even Microsoft's own OneDrive. Microsoft's current pricing, on the other hand, is linked to the Microsoft 365 suite at a basic price of Rs 125 per user per month, while the full productivity suite is priced at Rs 1,320 per user per month.

Then comes the need for a uniform ecosystem – to make all Microsoft tools work, it is important that everyone in your organization uses a Microsoft system and is subscribed to the Microsoft 365 suite. While this is something that a service provider should not be punished for, it is important to note that most workplaces that work on a smaller scale in India usually stick to WhatsApp or Slack for communication, and the above services for the rest. The question remains whether these tools are attractive enough to even justify those who work on freeware to switch to paid services.

The preview round table shows that Microsoft's AI tools are great, but they are tailor-made for larger organizations that process heavy data and host cross-language conferences on a daily basis. While collaborative and digital workspaces are emerging, Microsoft's AI tools alone may not be the unique selling point to encourage a company to join the company's ecosystem.

What this means

In short, Microsoft can hold a winner if you consider that there is a growing need to digitize years of paperwork. Questions about privacy will be answered at a later stage, but for the time being Microsoft guarantees its cyber security data. It also states that all data collected from its services is stored anonymously within the boundaries of a “select” few countries. It also states that all data collected and managed in India remains within Microsoft's Indian data servers.

For the time being, however, Microsoft AI tools and services in the Microsoft 365 suite are better suited for large companies. They are great at what they do, but they may not be the ones who definitively change the definition of human effort in the average daily workplace.

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