Microsoft's Ignite developer partner conference is underway today and will be running for the next four days. One of the big announcements on day one was the development of a new Cortana Skills Kit. Microsoft says the new version of the development platform for Cortana is focused on giving businesses more tools.
Specifically, the company wants to make Cortana Skills Set easier to use for creating “company-specific”. Called the Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise, the solution pushes Microsoft's plans to steer Cortana away from consumers and more towards organizations.
The original Skills Kit was announced back at Build 2017. It allows developers to create applications and tools to work on the assistant. Available across platforms, the Skills Kit leverages the Microsoft Bot Network to create bots and apps.
Since the release of the Skills Kit, Cortana has been rocked by the emergence of Amazon's Alexa. The market leading voice assistant is now on Windows devices through Microsoft's partnership with Amazon. While Cortana is still present on Microsoft's solutions, the company is thought to be turning towards enterprise.
Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise will help drive that push. Microsoft says the new kit is already available, although only on an invitation basis. Microsoft is vague on general availability, saying it will arrive “more broadly in the near future.”
Developing for Business
Like the normal Skills Kit, the Enterprise version works with the Microsoft Bot Framework and Azure Cognitive Services language-understanding (LUIS). Developers can create organizational solutions through the Azure Active Directory.
Microsoft has not discussed which skills developers can create with the kit.
“At heart, we are about providing valuable assistance to users throughout their day. That assistance takes different forms depending on where the users are in their day and what they are trying to do,” said Javier Soltero, the Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of Cortana. “It's important for enterprises to be able to enable their workforces to use Cortana to perform company-specific tasks.”