Microsoft's Cortana Intelligence Aimed at Transforming Businesses

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Microsoft's Cortana Intelligence Aimed at Transforming Businesses

Here's a look at how companies are using Microsoft technology, including Cortana Intelligence, to power their big data, advanced analytics and AI environments.

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Portugal Telecom

Portugal Telecom's MEO subsidiary is the nation's largest telecom operator, offering 200-plus channels, a vast catalog of video-on-demand content and a state-of-the-art user experience that enables its 1.4 million subscribers to navigate through an extensive range of live and on-demand content. One of the issues the company identified was that although subscribers of its bundled services had a wide variety of content available to them, customers typically accessed only a small selection of familiar content. MEO used Microsoft Cortana Intelligence technologies to provide its Recommendations service to users, transforming content consumption data into meaningful insights and helping customers find relevant content matching their preferences. This helps maintain user loyalty and increase revenue.

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Created by and for family-focused home cooks, Allrecipes has been making cooking more accessible and enjoyable since 1997. In that timeframe, the company has seen several trends emerge regarding how people interact with food content. Providing a personalized experience meant finding the most relevant information in the vast proliferation of online content. To provide each user with a unique experience, tapped Microsoft Cortana Intelligence to analyze data about the recipes and user interactions. Now, instead of just returning search results, provides recipe recommendations based on cooks' historical interactions.

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Flight delays and disruptions cost the airline industry millions of dollars every year. Even a small reduction in "aircraft on ground" time can translate into a significant amount of money. Rolls-Royce has more than 13,000 engines for commercial aircraft in service around the world, and for the past 20 years, has offered airlines comprehensive engine maintenance services to help keep aircraft available and efficient. Using Microsoft Cortana Intelligence, Rolls-Royce will be able to analyze a rich set of data and perform data modeling at scale to accurately detect operational anomalies and help customers plan relevant actions. When fuel consumption optimization of as little as 1 percent can save millions, applying analytics and intelligence to data promises tremendous value.

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QuarterSpot's name sums up its lending model: a small business in need of funding can apply for a loan on the QuarterSpot website. As with traditional lenders, the key to QuarterSpot's model is its ability to accurately assess risk and appropriately price a loan—in short, to be able to tell a good borrower from a bad one. To gain competitive advantage, QuarterSpot needed to expedite and automate its underwriting process. Using Microsoft Azure Machine Learning in the Cortana Intelligence Suite, the company developed and tested multiple complex algorithms to better explain data. This analysis, in turn, helped QuarterSpot reduce default rates by more than 50 percent, saving the company millions.

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REACH Initiative

Millions of people across the world live in a state of "water insecurity," or fear of not having enough water on a daily basis. A team from University of Oxford is trying to break this cycle in Kenya with the REACH Initiative. The time spent finding and carrying water, if local wells are not reliable, steals precious time from farming, making a living or going to school. Understanding groundwater depth is critical to mapping the "health" of an entire water system and helping decision-makers know when water supplies are running low, understand how they fluctuate and forecast availability. The REACH Initiative has widely deployed sensors on water wells, employing Microsoft Cortana Intelligence and machine learning models to help solve this problem accurately by predicting water levels, availability and thus optimizing resources.

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Sandvik Coromant is at the forefront of developing manufacturing tools and solutions that help their own manufacturing customers produce parts in the most efficient, reliable and cost-effective ways possible. To maximize the benefit of its deep knowledge of the machining process, Sandvik Coromant has developed a solution that integrates all elements of the production flow—people, machines, tools, and data—to empower customers to make the best possible business decisions. The solution combines the company's human brainpower and Microsoft's business applications, including advanced analytics solutions, to optimize processes, planning and predictive maintenance scheduling. This helps Sandvik Coromant customers avoid downtime and lower costs.

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Hendricks Motorsports

Hendrick Motorsports fields four of NASCAR's most successful teams and holds a record 11 championships in NASCAR's premier division. With strict regulations governing stock cars, engineers have a limited number of ways they can legally change a car to make it faster. Hendricks developed a customized proprietary universal Windows 10 app powered by Cortana Intelligence to collect data and distill it quickly enough to inform decisions during a race. Prior to using the solution, much of the data was collected manually and could take many hours and multiple engineers to parse it into a manageable format.

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At casual-dining restaurants in the United States, chances are good there'll be a Ziosk tablet at the table. Restaurant guests can use the devices to view menu items, play games, watch news, order food and pay for their meals via a built-in credit card reader. As Ziosk continues to grow, it plans to make its service increasingly valuable to restaurants and their guests and to Ziosk's content and sponsorship partners by providing a personalized user experience for each guest. Ziosk used Microsoft HD Insight and Azure Machine Learning, part of Cortana Intelligence Suite, to aggregate a broad range of user experience data and create models that predict offers, content and user interface elements, developing that personalized experience for guests.

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Tacoma Public Schools

Is it possible to predict whether students are at risk of dropping out of school? Tacoma Public Schools thinks so. A 2007 national study dubbed the 30,000-student district's five high schools "dropout factories," where many freshmen never made it to graduation. As recently as 2010, just 55 percent of the district's high school students—well below the national average of 81 percent—earned their diplomas on time. Using predictive analytics tools, such as Azure Machine Learning from the Cortana Intelligence Suite, the district is providing comprehensive data snapshots of student success indicators that have already helped improve graduation rates from 55 to 82.6 percent. Today, the district is recognized nationally for its educational achievements.

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A leader in energy management with a 180-year history, Schneider Electric is headquartered in France and has customers in more than 100 countries. Seeking to balance access to electricity with sustainability, Schneider Electric wanted to find a more efficient way to monitor and manage remote electrical components like solar arrays. Nigeria and Schneider Electric collaborated with Microsoft and the Lagos State Electricity Board to address the country's power challenges by providing sustainable solar power to more than 200 schools and clinics. In close collaboration with Microsoft, the company developed its IoT platform, based on the Microsoft Azure IoT and Cortana Intelligence Suite, to attain real-time insight into sensors, equipment and systems that might operate almost anywhere in the world.

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Transforming Business With Advanced Analytics: 5 Scenarios

This portion of the slide show offers five scenarios in which businesses can capitalize on advanced analytics.

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Personalization and Customer Insights

Businesses can create the products and services that their customers are asking for by harnessing all kinds of customer data. Advanced analytics solutions allow them to predict outcomes with machine learning and create analytics solutions to anticipate not only a customer's next move, but also glean targeted insights into high-value customers. Businesses can use techniques such as sentiment analysis or churn analytics to reduce churn, increase engagement and build customer loyalty. Personalization also enables businesses to develop customized experiences for their users, such as online shopping cart recommendations on items frequently bought together, or suggestions of next best alternatives.

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Remote Patient Monitoring and Clinical Analysis

Health care executives estimate that by using the cloud and analytics instead of older technologies, they're able to cut costs in half while improving patients' lives. Advanced analytics and sensor data can be used to non-intrusively monitor seniors living at home or in assisted-living situations to determine whether a patient is following a treatment protocol correctly. Medical practitioners analyze this data to create personalized treatment plans and can intervene to make corrections. Also, medical researchers are now able to work with larger databases than was practical with previous technologies.

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Demand Forecasting and Inventory Management

Today's always-on shopping experience is the norm for retailers, but makes managing inventory quite challenging. Demand forecasting ensures the right items are stocked in the right quantities, at the right time and place. With advanced analytics, you can get ahead of competitors with insights into not only what your business needs today, but what it will need tomorrow. Advanced analytics enables companies to get a better understanding of inventory demand patterns, supply networks and customer service requirements. Users can now easily obtain and manage a real-time view to assess inventory levels, predict product fulfillment needs and identify potential backlog issues.

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Field Service and Manufacturing Operational Efficiency

Advanced analytics enables companies to capture and analyze data, automatically detect equipment anomalies, generate service tickets, and identify tools, parts, and service technicians to deliver a first-time fix—a vital metric in gauging field service performance. By providing exceptional field service to your smart-connected products, you'll move from a costly break-fix model to a proactive and predictive service model. Uncovering insights buried in the data can help users avoid costly downtime by discovering potential equipment issues before shutting down a factory line. With advanced analytics, the "preventative" becomes the "predictive" to create better outcomes and operational efficiency.

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Risk and Fraud Management

Using advanced analytics, businesses can detect and stop fraud. Companies can gain a comprehensive view of their overall fraud risk to help prevent it. They can detect fraud, waste and abuse with a high degree of accuracy. Advanced analytics enables businesses to measure exposure and risk across all risk types. Businesses can independently calculate and separately assess compliance risk, credit risk, market risk and firm-wide risks. Advanced analytics enables accurate assessment of loan risk to help price a loan appropriately by differentiating between good and bad borrowers.

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5 Guidelines for Ensuring Proper Data Preparation

If businesses want to analyze big data for insights that will move the needle, they need data that is clean, organized, detailed and easily understood. The diversity and amount of data available today is extremely large, and organizations must deal with data sets that are far from ideal. Armed with the right data preparation strategy, raw data can be fixed and shaped. There is a laundry list of use cases for data preparation—potentially as large as the candidate data sources multiplied by the ways in which the data will be analyzed. For example, an organization may want to look at purchasing patterns over time, break customers down into demographic groupings and correlate shopping activity at brick-and-mortar locations with weather information. Data prep is not just about de-duplicating and removing corrupted or dirty data; it's about reshaping that data to reveal insights. It’s more than...
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