Earlier this week, we took a closer look at how IFTTT can be used with Google Assistant to enable basic voice control of many of your home automation accessories. We also showed you how to set up advanced voice commands that can trigger sequences that may not be available through native Google Home integration. Today we’re going to look at another popular voice assistant that’s also supported by IFTTT: Microsoft’s Cortana.
Cortana’s IFTTT service follows almost the exact same principle as that of Google Assistant, allowing you to create custom phrases as triggers for other IFTTT actions. However, if you’re a Cortana user, its IFTTT integration may be invaluable as it provides missing links between the Microsoft assistant and smart home control; while a few platforms do offer native integration with Cortana, it’s a relatively small ecosystem, so IFTTT extends Cortana’s reach to a much wider array of smart home devices.
Like Google Assistant, the Cortana IFTTT service provides four triggers that allow you to create phrases that you speak to Cortana to initiate other actions, with specific triggers that allow you to include a number, word, or both that can then be passed on as ingredients to other IFTTT actions that support them.
Extend parental control time limits
Simple phrases to Cortana can be used to trigger a whole bunch of different IFTTT actions, so as a bit of a departure from the more obvious, here’s an example of how you can use it with Disney’s Circle to extend your kids’ viewing time limits on YouTube.
Of course, if you’re doing this you’ll want to make sure that your kids can’t talk to Cortana, otherwise they’ll probably catch on pretty quickly. Still, it’s a handy way to add time limit rewards, especially if you’re using a Windows Phone, which of course includes Cortana but isn’t supported by the actual Circle app.
Pause your washing machine cycle
If you have a Samsung-connected washing machine, you can also use a simple Cortana phrase to start your wash cycle, which could be useful if you load up your machine but don’t always want to run the cycle right away.
This can be helpful for saving on energy bills or just keeping noise levels down when you’re at home and near the machine. Samsung’s IFTTT service also provides actions for pausing and stopping your machine.
Set your thermostat to a specific temperature
Unlike Ecobee’s IFTTT service, the Nest service actually lets you use ingredients from an IFTTT trigger to specify exact temperatures, so you can create a custom phrase that includes a numeric ingredient to set your Nest to any temperature you call out.
Note that Cortana does offer native Nest integration — it’s one of the few that Cortana supports, in fact — but IFTTT is still useful if you want to be able to define custom phrases or make use of more advanced triggers, such as setting a temperature as part of a heating and cooling range.
Post a message on your kitchen Triby
Invoxia’s Triby is very useful as a kitchen message board, and if you’re a Cortana user, it can be pretty convenient to be able to dictate a message to be posted in your kitchen when you’re on your way home from work.
Simply create a Cortana trigger that uses a text ingredient, and then include that text ingredient in your Triby action. You can even include the date and time the message was sent by Cortana, which is useful, as the message on the Triby may not be seen right away.
Cortana’s IFTTT service offers a great gateway to home automation. Out of the box, Cortana only supports about five different home automation platforms, but with IFTTT you get access to dozens of additional devices, some that will likely never tie into Microsoft’s voice assistant. Further, if you’re a Windows Phone user, Cortana may be your only option for controlling your home, since it’s pretty rare for vendors to support the Windows mobile platforms.