Microsoft introduced digital assistant Cortana to other types of devices besides the PC through Windows 10. While Cortana is already available on the Surface Hub, Xbox One, HoloLens, and Microsoft Band, it has yet to make its debut on smart home appliances.
Well, that is finally going to happen in the near future. Microsoft announced that it’s adding Cortana support to Windows 10 IoT devices with screens next year.
Cortana on IoT device features
At WinHEC 2016, Microsoft revealed its plan to include Cortana in the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update. Microsoft Principal Program Manager May Ji said the company intends to make PCs and other devices operate using the new Wake on Voice from Modern Standby and Far-field Voice features. Set for release in the spring of 2017, the Creators Update for Windows 10 is bringing with it those features.
Wake on Voice from Modern Standby will give Cortana the ability to power up PCs on devices using the Windows 10 Modern Standby power management tool. Far-Field Voice will make it possible for Cortana to function in settings with ambient noise that’s up to 13 feet away.
Microsoft plans to launch Cortana on Windows 10 IoT Core devices in English for the US and UK consumers initially, with additional language support set for a later rollout. Windows 10 IoT Core is a version of the operating system that works on embedded Intel and ARM-based devices. The variant can also run smaller devices like IoT gateways.
While Amazon Echo and Google Home already offer quite a similar functionality as the planned Cortana for IoT devices, Microsoft maintains that the personal assistant won’t compete with those smart home systems. Instead, the focus will be on devices with screens only.
Ji also revealed at the WinHEC event that Cortana offers more than 1,000 skills to developers, a figure that’s pretty impressive.