Azure Cognitive Services is a great API provided by Microsoft, using powerful AI to tackle a series of complete Vision, Language, Speach and Search problems. I recently needed to use the Content Moderator API in order to detect email addresses and telephone numbers (Personal Identifiable Information, or PII) in messages sent on an internal messaging system, and from the documentation it looked like exactly the solution I was looking for.
Following the Quickstart guide on the Azure documentation website, I was quickly and easily able to test the functionality with a range of different inputs. This was working fine for email addressses, however when I was entering UK telephone numbers, they were not being detected.
After checking I was doing everything right (always a good first step) and doing a bit of digging, it became clear that UK telephone numbers simply weren’t supported by the API. This wasn’t documented online, so I decided to get in touch with the Azure team.
I’ve used Twitter before for support, so I reached out to them on @Azure and @AzureSupport. They instructed me to post a question on Stack Overflow, which I did, and I also posted a feature request on UserVoice. It took a few prods on Twitter, linking back to the SO post, but finally a few weeks ago I got a response stating that UK telephone numbers were now supported!
I was really impressed with this response, and I think it demonstrates a very positive attitude amongst the developers and management at Microsoft. Sure, it’s only a small thing; but in the world of ultra-mobile applications that can be hosted on a different platorm in a flash, small things like this matter.