Posted on: April 13, 2017

Cortana: Coming soon to your… refrigerator?

Cortana is pretty cool. For those of us who have spent most of our lives unable to afford the luxury of a personal assistant, the addition of Cortana to Windows 10 devices has been a real godsend. Suddenly, we’ve got an amazing AI friend who can answer all of our questions at a moment’s notice, provide us with useful information, and help us to better manage our lives. If you’ve been pleased with how well things have been going with your relationship with Cortana so far, you’re going to love what the future has in store.

Microsoft is adding Cortana support to Windows 10 IoT Core devices that have screens, which will further expand Cortana’s reach and influence in our day-to-day lives. In the beginning, you’ll be able to take advantage of this support by utilizing “Far-field Voice” capabilities. You’ll soon be able to wake your devices with screens, such as your smartphone, tablet, or PC, by speaking to Cortana. Both “Far-field Voice” and “Wake on Voice from Modern Standby” support will allow Cortana to turn on your devices. Far-field Voice, specifically, will be able to work with a device as far away as 13 feet, in rooms with ambient noise. These features will initially be offered in English, with further language capabilities being added over time.

It should be noted that the Far-field Voice support that will be offered by Microsoft will be specifically limited to those devices with screens. This is Microsoft’s primary focus – even with devices that run the IoT Core version of Windows 10. This was made clear when slides were presented during the Microsoft WinHEC talk, wherein they displayed images of Cortana running on screens that had been built into a refrigerator and thermostat. These smart devices will be even smarter when you’re able to use Cortana to access and control them. You’ll receive “proactive and personal assistance”, according to Microsoft, and that type of service will only get better as Cortana’s more than 1,000 “skills” continue to grow and expand over time.

Microsoft has big plans to allow a wide array of IoT devices (with screens) to have access to Cortana. Everything from your business’s security system to the break room toaster could eventually be powered by the Microsoft personal assistant. Not only will this change the way that we do things, but it will also change the way that products are manufactured, as a growing number of production facilities will begin to turn out devices with displays so that an immersive Cortana experience can be achieved. 

Nearly any type of smart device with a screen will be capable of integrating with Cortana, making it faster and easier for you to get things done. Imagine being able to multi-task in a way that’s completely hands-free while receiving immediate answers to your inquiries and real-time updates about what’s going on within your workplace. We expect to see big things happening as Cortana fully merges with the IoT landscape and as users adopt Cortana’s assistance as the new norm, both at home and in the workplace.

Of course, as Cortana expands her reach, Microsoft will continue to improve her skill set and capabilities. Perhaps we’ll see a future where IoT-connected devices will be able to connect with Cortana from farther away, or where Cortana will be able to provide more intuitive answers and advice to users. Only time will tell, but the future is bright for Cortana and the Internet of Things.

The team at Uncommon Solutions is filled with experts on Cortana, so feel free to give us a call to learn more today!