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  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago

In the fast-moving world of technology, staying ahead of the game with the latest trends and innovations is crucial. Partnering with Microsoft, Access hosted an extraordinary event that brought together some of our brightest minds in the tech industry – a global hackathon centred around Azure Cognitive Services.

A total of 95 teams entered the company-wide event, with more than 500 employees participating from different parts of the world, including APAC, UK, and Romania. The 2-day tech marathon of coding, problem-solving and innovation created a platform for our software engineers to showcase their skills, learn from each other and contribute to the burgeoning field of cognitive computing.

The theme of the hackathon was Azure Cognitive Services, a platform at the forefront of the AI revolution. Powered by machine learning, Azure Cognitive Services are algorithms that enable apps, websites, and bots to see, hear, speak, understand, and interpret user needs through natural methods of communication.

The hackathon served as a great opportunity for our engineers to explore these services and build intelligent applications that can transform the way businesses operate.

Oli Quayle, Group Director at The Access Group commented:

“Technology is really the only way small and medium-sized businesses can compete in a highly competitive environment. The biggest challenge they face is trying to make the right data-driven decisions and then delivering on those with the most productivity.”

The event kicked off with an inspirational Brunch and Learn session on all things OpenAI. Then, over the course of the two days, participants hustled to develop innovative solutions using Azure Cognitive Services.

The teams enthusiastically brainstormed ideas, wrote code, debugged errors, and fine-tuned their applications. Despite the intense competition, the atmosphere was one of collaboration and learning, with teams helping each other out and sharing their knowledge and experiences.

The Hackathon concluded with each team demo-ing their submissions, with the hope of being the overall Hackathon winner.

The variety and creativity of the applications were astounding – from chatbots that could understand and respond in natural language, to image recognition systems that could identify and categorize objects, to speech-to-text services that could transcribe audio files.

Access has partnered closely with Microsoft since 2021, leveraging the Microsoft Azure platform to develop, host and support the solutions it provides to its customers. Always with an eye to the future, the senior leadership team recognised the potential of the responsible use of the platform and Azure OpenAI to enhance its solutions for the benefit of its customers.