Insteon is working with Microsoft Cortana to make your home even smarter

Virtual Assistants: Cortana
If Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa just aren’t doing it for you anymore, you may consider turning to Microsoft Cortana instead. On Friday, October 20, the company announced the availability of the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana. Cortana is a proactive digital assistant that gives you even more control over your smart home. As part of the launch, Microsoft selected IoT company Insteon as a core partner, which means that you can now command your Insteon devices right out of the box with nothing but your voice.

Promising to be the most reliable IoT solution for lighting and electrical control, Insteon features a patented dual-mesh network that communicates simultaneously by way of wireless radio waves and a home’s existing wiring. Plus, Insteon integrates with several products and systems, including HVAC units, locks, timers, lighting, cameras, music, humidity and leak sensing, garage doors, and more.

Cortana-controlled devices will be able to respond to natural language commands, so you can make believe that you have a real assistant, instead of a virtual one. For example, you can say, “Hey Cortana, can you check that the garage lights are off, turn on the porch light, set the security system, and turn down the heat?” and rest assured that the AI assistant will take care of all these requests. And thanks to the new Insteon partnership, you’ll be able to tell Cortana to do even more — after all, Insteon boasts an installed base of millions or smart lighting and electrical devices.

“The average North American home has about 80 electrical and lighting nodes — largely wall switches and outlets—which is the focus on our Insteon technology. In the foreseeable future, the majority of these nodes will be ‘smart’ and internet addressable,” said Rob Lilleness, CEO of Insteon. “Microsoft’s entry is further testament to the momentum in the market and a key technology building block to delivering on the promise of a smart home.”

Insteon joins the likes of Google Nest, Philips Hue, and Samsung SmartThings as products supported by the new Cortana Home. So if you’re looking to boost the IQ of your humble abode, you may consider getting started with this latest updated AI assistant.

Smart Home

Google Home and Amazon Alexa are asking smart home device makers for user info

Google and Amazon want to establish a "continuous flow" of information between their servers and your smart home devices, but companies like Logitech have begun to speak out for user privacy.
Smart Home

Language barrier? Psh. Here's how to make your Google Home an ace translator

You can now use interpreter mode on your Google Home devices. This means, you can use your Google Home device to translate conversations in real-time. Here's how to use interpreter mode.
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Smart Home

Alexa, dim the lights: How voice assistants can help with Valentines Day

If you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home device, you can sweep your sweetheart off his or her feet this Valentine's Day with these romantic, mood-setting tips. Your sweetie will be impressed.
Smart Home

Eight Sleep’s Pod bed keeps you cool (or warm) and tells you how you’re sleeping

Americans are chronically sleep deprived and startup Eight Sleep wants to change that. The company recently announced The Pod, a biometric-tracking, temperature-regulating smart mattress.
Smart Home

Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which smart home speaker is better?

We put the two most popular smart home speakers -- the Google Home Mini and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot -- together and tested them on appearance, audio, and abilities. So which should you buy? Find out how they did in our showdown.
Smart Home

With new blueprints, Amazon empowers anyone to create Alexa skills in minutes

Amazon launched new tools called Skills Blueprints last year to empower more users to create and publish Alexa Skills and is now fine-tuning the tools, adding more customization as well as live and recorded audio.
Smart Home

Lowe’s offers Presidents Day bargains on Samsung appliances, Nest, and Dyson

Anticipating the demand for DIY makeovers, Lowe's Presidents' Day sale has deals on popular products from Dyson, Nest, and Samsung. If you're shopping for a vacuum cleaner, a stainless steel fridge, or home security devices, head to Lowe's.
Mobile

Google might release a smartwatch and multiple Pixel phones in 2019

Google seems to have a lot planned for 2019. According to a report, Google is planning on releasing multiple new Pixel phones, a smartwatch, a new Google Home, and a Nest Security camera this year.
Smart Home

Abode Systems taps HelloTech for professional security system installations

Abode Systems has been expanding into the smart home security market and will enhance its technology with a new partnership with tech support firm HelloTech, which will install its security systems for a fee.
Smart Home

Want to publish your own Alexa skill? Here's how to do it

Building new Alexa skills has never been easier! Thanks to Alexa Blueprints, you can pick a template and create any kind of Alexa skill you want. What new skill will you make first? Here's how to do it.
Smart Home

Let a robot do your chores! Here are the best robot vacuums for 2019

Robot vacuums are a convenient way to tidy up your home and minimize your weekly to-do list. From a top-of-the-line model to a handy budget option, here are the best robot vacuums you can buy right now.
Smart Home

Samsung washing machine recall results in $6.55M class-action settlement

Samsung settled a class action lawsuit involving more than 30 top-loading washing machine models for $6.55 million. The suit alleged the machine tops could detach and explode. Original owners may qualify for refunds and cash settlements.
Smart Home

At KBIS 2019, LG brings its biggest lineup of Amazon Dash-equipped appliances

LG announced ahead of KBIS 2019 that its entire line of dishwashers and laundry appliances will now come pre-integrated with Amazon Dash, the online retailer's popular automatic replenishment program.