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Microsoft goes after Amazon when it comes to virtual assistant Cortana. While it’s possible for any developer to learn Amazon Alexa skills, at Cortana it’s a bit complicated. But that’s going to change. At the Ignite conference, Microsoft revealed its intention to help companies develop Cortana applications.

That must be done within the new Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise. That development platform is now available by invitation only, but will – once it is made widely available – enable companies to bring Cortana functionality to their business apps. In this way, employees can only interact with their hardware and software with their voice.

Well-known software

Javier Soltero, vice president of Microsoft and responsible for the development of Cortana, explained during Ignite why Microsoft has decided to give companies access to Cortana. Our basic aim is to provide our users with valuable assistance throughout the day, according to Soltero. The way we do that depends on the time of day and what a user is trying to do. It is important that companies can enable their employees to use Cortana to perform company-specific tasks.

The Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise is powered by Microsoft’s Azure Bot Service. The new platform also makes use of Language Understanding of the Azure Cognitive Services. This combination allows developers to develop company-specific skills for Cortana, using resources known to them. System administrators also gain control over which skills can be used by whom and when and can set that up within Azure Active Directory.

It is not quite clear yet what kind of skills companies will be able to develop for Cortana, but as a proof-of-concept Microsoft developed a tool for helpdesks. Employees who experience computer problems can use this tool to make a ticket so that the IT department knows they have to help the employee.

Companies interested in building their own Cortana-skill can apply for an invitation via Office.com. This allows them to try out the platform even before it is officially released.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.