Getting Started

Add Smarts to your Bots with Microsoft Cognitive Services

Now that you built your bot, it’s time to add smarts to it and make it more useful and engaging for your users. An intelligent bot has human-like senses and skills. It is able to understand what we are saying or writing in natural language and respond back, see our world as we see it, discover information and extract knowledge from different sources to provide useful answers, and more importantly learn as it acquires more experience to continuously improve its capabilities. Sounds daunting, but we are here to help you add some of these cognitive skills to your bot.

Microsoft Cognitive Services lets you tap into an ever-growing collection of powerful AI algorithms developed by experts in the fields of computer vision, speech, natural language processing, knowledge extraction and web search. They simplify a variety of AI-based tasks, giving you a quick way to add state-of-the-art intelligence technologies to your apps with just a few lines of code. The APIs integrate into whatever language you prefer, on your platform of choice. The APIs are also constantly improving, learning, and getting smarter, so experiences are always up to date. Simply drop the API call into your bot’s code and you are set.

You can find comprehenesive documentation of each product and their corresponding API references on the Cognitive Services documentation site. In addition, you can find more information and code samples to start developing bots with cognitive skills in the articles of this section.

Getting started with free trials

Signing up for free trials only takes an email and a few simple steps You will need a Microsoft Account if you don’t already have one. You will receive a unique pair of keys for each API requested. The second one is just a spare. Please do not share the secret keys with anyone. Trials have both rate limit, in terms of transactions per second or minute, and a monthly usage cap. A transaction is simply an API call. You can upgrade to paid tiers to unlock the restrictions.

Subscription management

Once you are signed in with Microsoft Account you will be able to access your subscriptions page to show the products you are using, the quota remaining and the ability to add additional products to your subscription.

Upgrade to unlock limits

All the APIs will have a free trial plan. As paid offerings become available for each API you will be directed to the Azure portal to complete the purchase. You can find Buy links in your Subscriptions page if you are already using them or you can skip trial altogether and purchase with provided links on Pricing. You will need to set up a Azure subscriber account with a credit card and a phone number. For the first time subscriber you get a $200 discount (subject to change without notice). If you have a special requirement or simply want to talk to sales, please click “Contact us” button at the top the pricing page.