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Azure Cognitive Search | Introduction

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving digital transformation in all types of organizations and allowing companies to focus their business and the way they relate to their customers in completely new ways. And the same could be said of Public Administrations in their vocation to serve citizens.

But there is a specific area, unexplored by many, that precisely allows key solutions to be built, and it is none other than cognitive search, a technology that can help any organization to obtain tangible benefits for its business by taking advantage of one of its main assets: information.

A lot of information, and unstructured

There is one indisputable reality in today’s world, and that is that we generate more and more information every day. Forbes recently estimated that the world creates more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.

Add to that a term that database managers will be familiar with: information usually arrives in ‘unstructured’ formats: PDFs, images, videos, audio files, and PowerPoint presentations, to name a few. It is estimated that around 80% of business data is unstructured.


The result is that taking advantage of this information can cost a lot of time and money. As a result, decisions are often less informed and take longer to make, and the work is done manually, based on intuition. We are not able to find the content, using tools and applications that also hinder the user experience.

In the end, our information has the potential to become an asset or a burden, depending on how it is used. So we all face a similar challenge: how do we apply our information in a meaningful way to our products and business?

What is Cognitive Search?

Information Technology is constantly innovating, and today concrete innovations in vision, voice, language, knowledge, and search itself mean that for the first time our applications can interpret unstructured data in a human-like way, and even understand traditional data in text form more deeply, so that when search operations are coupled with Artificial Intelligence, together they enable us to create solutions capable of finding more value in data.

This ultimately translates into engaging customers, transforming products, empowering employees, and improving business operations.


What is Azure Cognitive Search?

Azure Cognitive Search is a cloud search service that provides developers with the infrastructure, APIs, and tools needed to create rich search experiences from private, heterogeneous data collections and then leverage them in web applications, mobile apps, and enterprise solutions.

As if that weren’t enough, as a full service in itself, enterprises still have the ability to create custom solutions by integrating their own data management models.

On top of that, as with all Azure products and services, there is a powerful layer of security and privacy that protects the information of both the business and the customers themselves.


Azure Cognitive Search vs Azure Search

Now, what’s the difference between Azure Cognitive Search and Azure Search?

In a nutshell: Azure Cognitive Search is the sum of Azure Search together with cognitive services.

To make the explanation short, we’ll say that Azure Search is called Azure Cognitive Search since Microsoft renamed it in October 2019. It did so to reflect the expanded (albeit optional) use of cognitive skills and AI processing in the operations of the new Azure family enterprise service.

In doing so, it offered powerful indexing capabilities so that developers would be able to create unique solutions with which to leverage and find value in all types of data.

Thus, the API versions, NuGet packages, namespaces, and connection points we already had with Azure Search would remain unchanged.

And fortunately for the technical community, both new and existing search solutions would not be affected by the service name change.

Azure Cognitive Search Use Cases

Azure Cognitive Search can be applied in a number of key scenarios, depending on what it is trying to do with the information we already have or might come to manage.


These are just a few examples of Azure Cognitive Search; but, frankly, the capacity to take advantage of it is almost unlimited.

Just think how revolutionary the ability to interpret audio recordings, images, and texts themselves can be, so that, to find particular content, semantic searches can be applied to take advantage of the existence of synonyms in order to find a particular document, or launch searches regardless of the language that originates the query or the language in which the documents were written…

In short, Cognitive Search is an exciting world in which Plain Concepts can materialize your most innovative projects by applying the most innovative Artificial Intelligence solutions.

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