Cortana moves beyond the calendar, turns on the lights and print reminders

The idea that our digital personal assistants are only starting to touch their true capabilities is not a new thought. Many have seen the potential of Cortana, Siri, and Google Now, long before the features will make their way to the market.

When you start to bridge the gap between the next generation of devices that will be connected to the Internet (often referred to as the Internet of Things), the power of the digital assistant becomes apparent. Knowing this, Onion.io has tapped into the power of Cortana (thanks to its ability to be accessed by third-party apps) and has been programmed to communicate with a lamp and a printer.

The video demo is basic but it shows that Cortana has serious potential to do more than simply set an alarm or create a calendar invite.

While we may not be able to control our homes and other traditionally non-connected devices yet, we can see the time window from when it was just an idea to actual implementation, quickly shrinking.

Lamps and printers in a closed environment are only the start and we suspect it wont be long until you can purchase adapters to connect ordinary devices into Internet platforms. With any new technology, the barrier to entry is typically high, but as products hit mass market, the price drops and these lab demos quickly become a reality.

Source: YouTube

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Looks like this Cortana thing will be more than a fad. I hope they open it up internationally asap, otherwise MS may loose this positive vibe that they have going for them now

chrisj1968 said,
I'm apprehensive about all this in home automation. But that's just me.

Which part? Home automation has been around for a long time now.

Way back in 1997 I installed a phone/voice interface to several of my offices/buildings. So even 17 years ago, using just my cell phone and voice/keypad, I could control anything electronic, including opening the doors for me.

This isn't new stuff, the only thing new or interesting is how Cortana can interface with Apps and add new voice functionality really easily.


PS Even older than that, go look up the Automation features Bill Gates put in his new house in the early 90s. Just walking from room to room would change the paintings and music to what you liked.

Seeing as you are on a tech site, I doubt there's much of anything for you to be apprehensive about except the price. I'm gradually building my ZWave network a few nodes at a time. at $80 - $100 per switch, and $250-300 per window for blind controls, it's a pretty expensive undertaking. You'll be surprised how many light switches and outlets you have in your house!
You could always start cheap, though. You can get a ton of X10 stuff for a couple hundred bucks. It works well, when it works, considering how sh!tty those devices are.

This was already possible in Windows Phone 8, long before the 8.1 update. My app Hurricane Tracker has taken advantage of this for over a year now, and so does Twitter.

I wish it were that easy. Consumer products that can do this are not that common. I wish I could just buy a set of products and set up a home automation. "Cortana, please lock all my doors". "Cortana, please turn on all exterior lights". That'd be quite awesome.

It's clearly meant as a tool for electronics and programming hobbyists since it's listed as working with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Xbee, etc

You can buy a whole slew of ZWave stuff for home automation. There's a ton of automation software out there written for ZWave, and I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before someone integrates Cortana into controlling one of those systems.

I'll have to look into this, I've got a netduino project going that could make use of this rather than the NFC reader I was planning or using for settings alteration

(Also, yay Sparkfun box)