Skip to main content

With help from Cortana, Microsoft aims to make your home even smarter

microsfot speech recognition cortanaface
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Microsoft unloaded a ton of information at this year’s WinHEC conference on how Windows 10 will make inroads in the smart home market and elsewhere in 2017. Most of the company’s efforts regarding the Internet of Things-type devices that make today’s homes smart revolve around Microsoft Cortana, the digital assistant built into Windows 10, but Microsoft has also hinted that the Windows 10 home will involve PCs as well.

Some of what’s coming in next spring’s Creators update includes a “Home Hub” feature built into Windows 10 that assumes a screen will be present to display shared family information via Cortana. It appears that the Windows 10 IoT Core version will also accommodate the presence of a screen in those small devices, as ZDNet reports, but at the same time, new information has surfaced showing that Cortana will run on devices without screens as well.

Some of the kinds of smart devices that would benefit from IoT devices with screens include refrigerators and thermostats. Microsoft hinted at this capability in Windows IoT Core in a presentation on its Channel 9 video site titled “Cortana and the Speech Platform.”

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

At the same time, Microsoft also issued a blog post Tuesday outlining new development tools to enable developers to integrate Cortana into their apps and devices. The Cortana Skills Kit will integrate apps with Cortana users on Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox and new “Cortana-powered devices.” Those devices will be enabled by the second tool, the Cortana Devices SDK.

While the details of those new tools are of primary interest to developers, Microsoft also provided a hint that its Home Hub ambitions are not, indeed, limited to just devices with screens. The company linked to a video teaser of a Cortana device coming from audio company Harman Kardon in 2017:

Harman Kardon + Cortana: Premium Audio Meets Personal Assistant

Clearly, while some assumptions have been made about Microsoft’s smart home strategy, its actual plans are more complex. Apparently, Amazon Alexa and Google Home really do have something to be worried about.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Coppock
Mark has been a geek since MS-DOS gave way to Windows and the PalmPilot was a thing. He’s translated his love for…
Your Microsoft Teams messages can now get deleted if deemed ‘inappropriate’
A video call in progress on Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft might want to have a hand in helping Microsoft Teams IT administrators crack down on improper workplace or classroom behavior. As noted on the Microsoft 365 road map, the company will soon allow chat supervisors to delete messages with inappropriate content.

Set to roll out by the end of September, the feature is mainly designed for Teams for Education users. It is mainly for situations where someone might post a curse word, an off-topic conversation, or other foul gestures in a Teams chat. Microsoft says that the feature will be available on both the web and desktop apps worldwide, so there's a chance all IT admins outside of education might eventually see the option.

Read more
Microsoft Start is a new way for you to stay up to date on your news, interests
microsoft announces start microsodt

Microsoft is launching Microsoft Start, a personalized news feed and collection of informational content from publishers, tailored to your interests.

Available on the web today, and also as a mobile app, the experience should feel pretty familiar if you're used to Microsoft News or MSN. Building on those services, Microsoft Start brings new technology to your content experiences. That includes leveraging Microsoft’s latest advancements in A.I. and machine learning, along with human moderation to bring you relevant news articles.

Read more
5 ways geofencing makes your smart home smarter
philips hue outdoor sensor review benefit welcome

Have you ever wished your smart home would react to your presence (or absence)? There are a lot of smart home features that work based on when your device connects to Wi-Fi, but you can use geofencing to achieve the same result at a greater distance.

A geofence is a virtual perimeter around your home. It detects when you enter or leave the perimeter and acts according to its programming. If you have smart home accessories that work with geofencing (or can connect to IFTTT and be connected to a geofence that way), you can take advantage of the service to make your smart home even smarter.
Automatically arm or disarm your security system

Read more