The Nest Thermostat was one of the first smart home items to really make a splash, making a name for the smart home market. And the Amazon Echo helped to define voice-activated digital assistants. Now, Microsoft is combining those two elements with the GLAS.
In a partnership with Johnson Controls, Microsoft is putting AI assistant Cortana into a smart thermostat. Microsoft’s Cortana has long been available on the company’s phone, desktop and gaming platforms, but this is a much more standalone device.
The device itself is a transparent piece of touchscreen glass that displays info you’d expect on a thermostat, but it also responds to voice commands and can work with future Windows 10 IoT Core devices.
The move marks another Alexa competitor entering the space and will likely drive more integrations down the line. Microsoft’s Azure platform has many IoT integrations, so manufacturers may be tempted to install it on their next Internet of Things device.
That means security systems could have the Halo-born artificial intelligence controlling their homes, and keeping the alien Covenant at bay.
However, the initial GLAS seems to be targeted toward business users, including restaurants, offices and storefronts rather than residential use. It’s not clear when GLAS will launch or what it’s cost will be, but it’s exciting that Microsoft is finally getting into the smart home with some smarter products.