Microsoft launches Cortana Skills Kit for development of custom voice apps

The kit will help developers use Cortana's natural-language processing to create custom voice skills.

To help businesses create custom voice apps for their employees and users, Microsoft has launched the "Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise" for developers.

The kit will help enterprise developers use digital assistant's natural-language processing to create custom voice skills for businesses.

Currently available by invitation only, the development platform was unveiled at "Microsoft Ignite" conference in Orlando, Florida on Monday.

Microsoft Cortana.

Microsoft Cortana.

"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," said Javier Soltero, Microsoft Corporate Vice President in charge of Cortana.

"It's important for enterprises to be able to enable their workforces to use Cortana to perform company-specific tasks," he added.

According to Vivek Goswami, a programme manager on Soltero's team, the platform is powered by the Azure Bot Service and leverages Language Understanding from Azure Cognitive Services, allowing developers to create company-specific skills for Cortana using known and trusted tools.

Additional features include control via Azure Active Directory over when skills are deployed and who can access them.

"The specific skills that enterprises will create for Cortana remain to be revealed," noted Goswami.

As a proof of concept, IT developers at Microsoft used the enterprise platform to create an IT help desk skill that enables Cortana to file tickets for employees who are having computer problems and connect them to someone who can help.

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