Microsoft, which participated in Flipkart’s $1.4 billion fund-raise in April, is reportedly building Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities and machine learning (ML) solutions at the Bengaluru-based e-commerce firm. Microsoft is said to have invested $200 million for the purpose, to help Flipkart target its customers more effectively during large-scale sale events. This is in addition to Flipkart’s existing partnership with Azure Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform that tied up with the e-retailer in February. Also Read - Flipkart Mobiles Bonanza sale top deals: iPhone SE, Poco X3 Pro and more on discountAlso Read - Cyberpunk 2077 back on Sony's PlayStation Store, with a special warning for PS4 owners
Flipkart wants to optimize things like offer placements and merchandising (that is done manually) with the help of technology that Microsoft will build. “We are looking to take away any kind of manual tuning and optimization… We mostly look at Microsoft from the point of view of AI and ML. There are a lot of those capabilities on Microsoft side that we would like to leverage. On aspects like voice recognition we want to partner with them deeply,” Vinay YS, vice-president of engineering at Flipkart, told ET. ALSO READ: Microsoft Build 2017: Satya Nadella stresses on creating local opportunities in the operating countries Also Read - Windows 11: Release date, top features to expect, how to upgrade and more
Flipkart announced that its just-concluded Big Billion Day sale recorded a 30X jump in user-traffic. The site held up well, and there were no technical glitches. At present, Flipkart operates on its own private cloud infrastructure. Microsoft Azure cloud services are yet to be implemented on its platform. “On the pure cloud front, we are still evaluating what they [Microsoft] have in India and what we need,” Vinay added. Amazon, meanwhile, operates a $12 billion public cloud infrastructure in the form of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Flipkart hasn’t yet made its cloud public, but it isn’t ruling out the possibility. ALSO READ: New Microsoft Azure features to encrypt data while in use
Microsoft announced a new set of AI tools at its Ignite 2017 event. These include AML Workbench (a cross-platform client for AI-powered data wrangling and experiment management), AML Experimentation (a service to help data scientists increase their rate of experimentation with big data), and AML Model Management (a service to host, version, manage and monitor ML models). Microsoft’s AI development platforms also includes Azure Machine Learning (AML), Visual Studio tools for AI, Cognitive Services and enterprise AI solutions. “[These tools] help businesses augment human ingenuity in unique and differentiated ways,” Joseph Sirosh Corporate Vice President, Artificial Intelligence & Research, Microsoft stated.