Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana is now compatible with a wider variety of home automation products, and also now works with the IFTTT home automation platform.
Microsoft recently announced the expansion of Cortana’s skills on its blog. Cortana is a virtual assistant for Windows and Windows phones, but it’s also available for iOS and Android devices.
While Cortana was already compatible with a number of smart home devices — including products from Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink, and Insteon — there are now more options for home heating and cooling control. Cortana now allows users to control thermostats from Ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, and Honeywell Total Connect Comfort.
Other devices now supported by Cortana include LIFX’s Wi-Fi connected light bulbs, TP-Link’s Kasa Wi-Fi slim smart plugs, and Geeni’s products, including its smart surge protector.
While only certain users will be able to benefit from Cortana’s new partnerships with home automation brands, all Cortana users gain extra built-in functionality now that the virtual assistant works with IFTTT.
IFTTT is a free platform that connects a number of apps and services together — check out our article IFTTT Recipes for Philips Hue, which also acts a sort of introduction to the platform.
[Check out our Guide to IFTTT Notification Services for some basic IFTTT services that anyone can use — even without smart home products.]
Using the “Hey Cortana” command in conjunction with IFTTT, users can add items to a list, trigger compatible smart home devices, and even trigger multiple actions with one phrase — for instance, Microsoft gives the example that by simply saying “Hey Cortana, movie time,” the virtual assistant can work with IFTTT to turn down the lights, turn on the TV, and adjust to the proper temperature.
Microsoft is still positioning Cortana to compete with the likes of Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa — continuing to add more services and compatible smart home products will help the virtual assistant remain in the conversation.