Monday, April 11, 2022

Intel and Microsoft host Azure Percept Bootcamp to inspire partners creating Edge AI solutions

Our Azure partners and customers continue to show us innovative ways in which the Azure Percept platform can effectively solve real-world problems without complex deployment steps. To support these efforts, we recently launched the Azure Percept Bootcamp Program to help train our partners and customers on Azure Percept capabilities and flexibility.


This four-week bootcamp program features sessions led by Azure Percept engineers where participants can gain practical experience and knowledge. Intel and Microsoft partnered together to deliver the most recent Azure Percept Bootcamp in March. Hands-on lab sessions showed participants how to quickly build and train edge AI models for vision and speech. They then brainstormed, developed, and deployed solutions as part of their Solution Hack Challenge.


Those who took part represented 18 different partner and customer organizations, including CANCOM, DXC Luxoft, Fujitsu, Mesh Systems, Avanade, T-Mobile, and HCL. Below we highlight some of the creative solutions and takeaways from our partners and customers, with the value of the Azure Percept Bootcamp Program best summed up by Griffin Steffy from Mesh Systems:


“Azure Percept provides an easy entry point into the full AI stack. Throughout the workshop, you learn a few use cases for Percept, but that is only the beginning of the potential for edge AI solutions.”



Designing AI solutions for real-world challenges  

Partners and customers participating in the solution hack challenge came up with some impressive and highly practical solutions ranging from improving workplace safety to counting inventory across different industries such as retail, manufacturing, and aviation. Here are some of the solutions developed to help solve common real-world challenges.



The next generation of smart refrigerators

Smart refrigerators, which allow people to control their temperature via an app or have screens to check on the food inside, have been around for some time now. A team from Fujitsu developed a solution using Azure Percept to track what is inside the refrigerator by counting an inventory and then monitoring when food is added or running out. This can then alert users as to which foods they should add to their grocery lists for replenishment.


Takeaway: Azure Percept is revolutionizing the use of AI on the edge. Thanks to its ease of use, building an end-to-end edge AI solution has never been easier. Combined with the other Azure services, it forms one of the most advanced IoT platforms on the market. We're looking forward to using this technology on our customers' projects and helping pave the way to a more connected world!” said Arthur Magnus of Fujitsu.



Optimize retail service in travel and transportation

Cabin staff on airplanes and trains manually check their inventory of food and other items on board before trips. This mundane and time-intensive activity is prone to human error, which could be reduced by using computer vision to augment the process. The solution developed by the DXC Luxoft team looks to use Azure Percept to augment inventory counting by providing additional data to help tailor inventory to customer demand, optimize supply chain and stock management, as well as identify any inventory anomalies.


Takeaway: “Azure Percept is a great first step toward no-code/low-code to get insights from video and audio streams. That’s what we experienced in Azure Percept Bootcamp,” said Ravikrishna Yallapragada of DXC Luxoft.



Monitor activity of retail countertop product displays

Retail environments and the rate at which products are interacted with, or even purchased, are often influenced by different marketing efforts. The T-Mobile team participating in this bootcamp looked to use Azure Percept to better understand the effectiveness of these campaigns by monitoring customer interest in phones on a display counter and counting how many times it was picked up. In turn, this data can be compared to store traffic to better understand any correlating trends.


Takeaway: With the Azure Percept Studio platform and dev kit, we were able to quickly deepen our understanding of AI and build an edge compute solution in a matter of hours…We all left the bootcamp eager to solve additional use cases that we thought of for the challenge, and push the limits of AI at the edge.” said Russell Robinson of T-Mobile.



Threat detection in airports, railways, retail

The HCL solution uses Azure Percept to detect suspicious objects and other anomalies that could pose a danger in stores, malls, transportation hubs, or other public spaces. When a suspicious object is detected, the solution generates alerts to spur actions to investigate or remove the object.


Takeaway: “The Azure Percept Bootcamp is a very well organized and effective opportunity for Microsoft partners to quickly get acquainted to the versatile vision and audio AI capabilities of [Microsoft] Azure Percept,” said Eric Ding of HCL.



Continuous quality control in manufacturing

Attention to quality and safety details is imperative in the manufacturing industry where failures can result in costly downtime, maintenance needs, and potential on-site injuries. Knowing that vibrations, corrosion, and other factors can contribute to screws and bolts coming loose, the CANCOM team used Azure Percept to develop a solution which can help detect when such instances are occurring.


Takeaway: “It is fantastic how easy developing a voice and video analytics solution gets using Azure Percept. We were able to create it from scratch in just about one day,” said Aleksandr Rapoport of CANCOM, who worked on the solution.



Start innovating today with Azure Percept

These Azure Percept Bootcamps are a great opportunity for companies to gain practical knowledge for integrating edge AI into their solutions. As summarized by Niloofar Nayebi of Avanade, “[The Azure] Percept Bootcamp was about learning and practicing at the same time. Having a chance to do guided exploration and building a solution in a training was very appreciated by our team. The sessions were very well planned and technical people were passionate and experts, which took the experience to the whole other level.”


But don’t take just our word for it; try out Azure Percept for yourself using the following resources and hands-on lab activities to get started. You can take it at your own pace using these steps:


  1. Get started with Azure Percept by
  2. Become familiar with Azure Percept by watching this overview: The cutting edge of AI: Discover the possibilities with Azure Percept
  3. Try out a vision hands-on lab: Create a people counting solution with Azure Percept DK and Azure Percept Vision
  4. Try out a speech hands-on lab: Voice control your inventory and visualize with Power BI dashboard


Don’t stop there. You can also explore some of the other solutions developed during these bootcamps, including a smart retail store solution, self-checkout object detection, a hazard detection system, and monitoring of defective components.


Lastly, you can learn more about how Azure Percept is investing in a lineup of products and services to make it faster and easier for businesses to adopt edge AI solutions.


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