AI, Cognitive Tech & IoT Spurring Digital India: Microsoft
Microsoft India has showcased several projects that make use of the company’s cloud-based artificial intelligence, cognitive services and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that can change the way citizens, enterprises and governments engage in healthcare services, agricultural practices, education and everyday work.
Many of these applications are being tested out or used in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Haryana among others. The company also put the spotlight on the use of artificial intelligence in Indian language computing.
“These AI, cognitive technologies and IoT applications can help in India’s inclusive growth,” said Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director of Microsoft Research India.
“The world is today powered by an intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge. We are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology to benefit society. We are committed to ensure that technology is defining and shaping the future, and is a combination of unbridled innovation and digital inclusion,” Rajamani added.
Some of the examples of technology for a Digital India showcased are:
· Project FarmBeats: Microsoft FarmBeats is a research project for agriculture that enables seamless data collection from various sensors, cameras and drones. It comprises two broad areas viz., a, data-acquisition system consisting of drones and sensors and a data-analysis system consisting of connectivity pieces, cloud storage, and predictive analysis.
· AI for farming: Microsoft and ICRISAT announced the results of the second phase of the pilot of their AI-based Sowing App for farmers. The program was expanded to touch more than 3000 farmers across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka during the Kharif season of 2017 for a host of crops including groundnut, ragi, maize, rice, and cotton, among others.
“We are excited about the results that have emerged from the use of the Sowing Application and Personalized Village Advisory Dashboard. We have strengthened our partnership with Microsoft to help smallholder farmers and give a boost to our AI-powered agriculture initiative in a big way. The application of the Intelligent cloud is a significant start for digital agriculture and we look forward to expanding this further,” said, AVR Kesava Rao, Honorary Fellow, and Senior Scientist, Agroclimatology, ICRISAT.
· HAMS (Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety): a virtual harness for vehicles that focusses on two factors that are critical to road safety—the mental state of the driver-including distraction and fatigue, and his /her driving relative to other vehicles. It employs the front and back cameras of a dashboard-mounted smartphone, the phone’s GPS and inertial sensors, and an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD-II) scanner. Project HAMS is being used by Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR) – a joint venture between the Department of Transport of State Governments and Maruti Suzuki India.
· Interactive Cane: This AI-powered Interactive Cane to aid people with visual impairment. Microsoft Research is experimenting by adding several sensors to existing canes, and adding gesture recognition to the cane.
· IoT monitoring of water quality: Authorities across states have turned to IoT to monitor drinking water quality for its citizens.
· Smart Lighting in Jaipur: Microsoft Azure IoT is also powering India’s first Smart Street Lighting Project for the pink city of Jaipur, underscoring Microsoft’s mission of transforming public spaces digitally.
· AI for local language computing: Starting with Project Bhasha in 1998, Microsoft has been consistently working to provide local language computing in Indian languages. Microsoft Office and Windows support 11 Indian language scripts and overall supporting 22 Indian languages. Bing allows users to browse through nine Indian languages. With the help of its AI technologies, Microsoft is now making translation and speech recognition across several Indian languages.
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