5 Industries Being Transformed by Big Data & Machine Learning in the Cloud

This post is by Herain Oberoi, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Microsoft.

Just over a year ago, we announced the Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite with the goal of helping customers use Big Data, Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning technologies in the cloud to derive insights, predict outcomes and prescribe actions based on their data.

Cortana Intelligence provides an end to end set of cloud services and pre-configured solutions to enable line of business departments such as Sales, Marketing, Finance, Operations and more to accelerate their digital transformation projects.

A year into the release, Cortana Intelligence has had big impact on customers across healthcare, retail, manufacturing, financial services and government and other industries. The range of creative solutions that our customers have come up with, to address their business needs, has been very impressive.

I wanted to share a quick snippet of their successes with you and hope this provides some insight and inspiration on what is possible when you combine the power of big data, analytics and ML in the cloud.

1. Healthcare

Remote Patient Monitoring

Dartmouth Hitchcock, a nonprofit academic health system that serves a population of 1.9 million in New England, set out to improve overall patient health, engagement and satisfaction through an innovative mobile health solution called ImagineCare. Built using Cortana Intelligence and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ImagineCare has reduced poorly controlled high blood pressure by 50%, has nearly four times the national employer health and wellness program engagement rate and has a 95% satisfaction rating for their Health Navigator and Registered Nurse services.

"Our TotalCare maintenance program was revolutionary in the '90s, so we're pioneers ourselves, and by collaborating with a fellow pioneer like Microsoft, we can absolutely bring innovative digital solutions to healthcare now."


Dymaxia, has developed a clinically validated tool using heart rates to diagnose anxiety states in children with autism, using Cortana Intelligence and the IoT Suite, Dymaxia uses cloud capabilities to provide vital real-time services to such children, who often struggle to communicate verbally and emotionally. Their application helps caregivers, parents and therapists get real-time information on mood and wellness, as well as a historical record of the patient over time.

2. Retail & Hospitality

Sentiment Analysis

Ziosk is finding new ways to derive intelligent insights from customer inputs gathered from its tablets that are used for ordering food at restaurants. According to Al Pappa, Head of BI at Ziosk,

"Thanks to Text Analytics by Azure Machine Learning, we're able to incorporate guest sentiment into our actionable guest feedback platform to deliver a comprehensive view of guest satisfaction and server performance."

Product Recommendations

Allrecipes, a leading resource for home cooks with more than 1.3 billion visitors each year, wanted to provide each user with more personized cooking inspiration and instruction. Using the recommendations capabilities of Cortana Intelligence, the company is developing new experiences informed by the integration and analysis of billions of pieces of disparate data including search history, preferences, billions of shared user entries, weather information, and even grocery savings offers from local retailers. As John Keane, Vice President of Technology at Allrecipes puts it,

"The cool thing about Allrecipes is that whether you're feeling inspired or you're just thinking 'Oh no, I have to cook something,' we've built a set of tools with the Cortana Intelligence Suite that are really fun and interesting and useful. Food is truly connected to the world in unique ways."

3. Manufacturing

Predictive Maintenance

Rolls-Royce has over 13,000 engines for commercial aircraft in service around the world, and for the past 20 years, it has offered customers comprehensive engine maintenance services that help keep aircraft available and efficient. As airlines cope with rapidly increasing volumes of data coming from many different types of aircraft equipment, Rolls-Royce is using Cortana Intelligence to minimize the cost and disruptions associated with aircraft maintenance activities.


"Microsoft Cortana Intelligence capabilities are helping us filter the signal from the noise across large data sets so we can focus on finding the real value in the data. Our vision of future digital capability will need to aggregate many sources of data and provide a platform for collaboration with customers."  

4. Financial Services

Risk Assessment for Loans

QuarterSpot allows small businesses in need of funding to apply for loans on their company website. They started using the Cortana Intelligence Suite to develop and test multiple complex algorithms to better explain data. By using machine learning, QuarterSpot can develop sophisticated risk models and quickly operationalize them without the need for developer involvement. According to Eric Hexter, CTO of QuarterSpot,

"The first iteration of our risk model used standard regression and took a month to deploy. Now Azure Machine Learning takes care of the foundational plumbing for us so we can go from model to deployment instantly. The month is gone. It's the difference between reacting to the market and leading the market."

5. Public Sector & Research

In addition, the past year has seen extraordinary work where researchers around the world have used Cortana Intelligence in solutions with potentially very wide impact. Below are two examples.

Predicting Water Availability

Cortana Intelligence Suite is helping solve the problem of water shortage in Kenya. The Reach Initiative has widely deployed machine learning models to accurately predict water availability and optimize resources. 



Decoding Brain Signals

The ability to decode human perceptions from brain signals can benefit millions of people who suffer from brain related injuries. Stanford University neuro-surgeon Dr. Kai Miller teamed up with Microsoft to create the inaugural Cortana Intelligence Competition on Decoding Brain Signals. The contest asked participants to build intelligent models to decode electrical brain signals that were gathered from Dr. Miller's research with epilepsy patients. Three winning solutions from this contest were published to the Cortana Intelligence Gallery - you can check these out from the Decoding Brain Signals competition page. Click here to learn how your business or research can use Cortana Intelligence Suite today.