Microsoft is once again expanding the reach of its Cortana digital assistant that was first introduced in Windows Phone 8.1 and will be included in Windows 10. The new service is called Cortana Analytics Suite, and will use the assistant as an interface for businesses and enterprise customers to connect with a number of Microsoft's cloud-based services.
"The growing adoption of machine learning, big data combined with the power of unlimited storage and compute in the cloud presents a unique opportunity for organizations to anticipate what will happen and to automate business outcomes. Cortana Analytics Suite brings together leading technology infrastructure including machine learning, big data storage and processing with perceptual intelligence such as vision, face and speech analysis, extending predictive and prescriptive capabilities to businesses for a range of industry scenarios. Cortana Analytics Suite integrates with Cortana, Microsoft's digital personal assistant. Cortana works with the Cortana Analytics Suite to enable businesses to get things done in more helpful, proactive, and natural ways."
Cortana Analytics Suite is already being used by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System in New England as the basis for an upcoming analytics solution called ImagineCare:
"Data from sensors and devices such as blood-pressure cuffs, pulse oximeter devices and activity trackers like Microsoft Band are transmitted via smartphone to the Azure cloud. From there, it's pulled into a Cortana Analytics Suite dashboard at a "contact center" staffed 24/7 by registered nurses who have a singular view of each customer's personalized care plan. When a person's data exceeds a custom-prescribed threshold, an alert is sent to the nurse, who then reaches out to the customer via phone call, video chat or secure text — often before the person even knows there's a problem."
ImagineCare is scheduled to launch sometime in October. Microsoft plans to offer Cortana Analytics Suite to other businesses later this fall for an as-yet-unannounced monthly fee.