Microsoft offers developers pre-built machine learning models for Windows 10 apps

Developers building apps on Windows 10 will be able to fold AI services into their applications to boost data analysis and lower costs.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Microsoft is adding an AI platform into its Windows 10 update so that every developer building apps on the OS will be able to use pre-trained machine learning models.
  • Adding AI to Windows 10 for developers will mean lower latency, reduced operational costs, and increased flexibility when it comes to building apps, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft is expanding its artificial intelligence (AI) efforts, adding an AI platform to its latest Windows 10 update to help developers more efficiently create apps, the tech giant announced in a Wednesday blog post.

"Every developer that builds apps on Windows 10 will be able to use AI to deliver more powerful and engaging experiences," Kam VedBrat, group program manager of the Windows AI team, said in the post.

The AI platform will allow developers to use pre-trained machine learning models in their apps on Windows devices, VedBrat wrote. This will offer developers low latency and real-time results, the post said, as Windows can perform AI evaluation tasks using the local processing capabilities of the PC. This enables real-time analysis of large data sets and more quickly delivered results that can be used in performance-intensive workloads, such as game engines.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

The platform will also offer reduced operational costs, since in combination with Microsoft's Cloud AI platform, developers can build end-to-end AI solutions that combine training models in Azure with deployment to Windows devices for evaluation, the post said. Reducing costs associated with bandwidth from ingesting large data sets will also be a boon to developers.

Finally, developers will gain more flexibility from the platform, as they can choose to perform AI tasks on devices or in the cloud, based on customer needs.

While nearly every tech vendor has been quick to add buzzy AI capabilities to products and services, Microsoft had thus far refrained, as reported by Mary Jo Foley at our sister site ZDNet. It could signal that Microsoft wants to include Windows 10 PCs in its "intelligent cloud, edge" mission statement, Foley noted, as this is expected to be a big theme at the Microsoft Build developer conference in May. This concept refers to the idea that by performing more processing locally on devices at the edge—such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, PCs, and AR/VR headsets—developers will achieve better performance, Foley said.

Indeed, "with the update, developers can use the AI platform across the Windows device family, including IoT edge devices, HoloLens, 2-in-1s and desktop PCs, workstations, servers and in data centers," the post noted.

Windows already supports ONNX, an industry-standard format for machine learning models, which aims to boost AI interoperability and innovation, and is also used by Facebook and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Azure Machine Learning Workbench currently allows data scientists to train and deliver ONNX models for Windows developers, and soon, the Azure Custom Vision Service will also support creating ONNX models for Windows, the post noted.

Microsoft has also added AI capabilities to Office 365, the Photos app on Windows 10, Windows Hello, Bing Search, and Cortana, the post noted.

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Image: iStockphoto/monsitj

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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