Cortana is a key part of Microsoft's strategy for making Windows the most personal operating system on the planet. With its debut on Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana has quickly added new features since it was announced and is being updated twice a month.
One of the best aspects of Cortana is that third-parties can link into the digital assistant to create unique experiences for Windows Phone users. One of the first developers to jump on the Cortana train is Insteon, the makers of home-automation products.
Insteon makes products that allow you to turn ordinary light bulbs, outlets and switches into connected devices. By giving these 'dumb' products connectivity, it turns them into 'smart' devices that can then be controlled by a smartphone. Coming later this year, Insteon will release an updated app that will allow Cortana to control your home.
Some of the ways you can use Cortana to control these devices is stated below:
- Ask Cortana to dim the lights for movie time based on specially created scenes.
- Instruct the thermostat to reduce the temperature at 6 p.m. to ensure that the house is cool upon returning home from work; Cortana will begin to learn your habits and automatically ask if you would like to turn the A/C on.
- Monitor the house when on vacation or a business trip by asking Cortana to check that all of the doors and windows are closed and locked.
While this will be one of the first third-parties to use Cortana to control their app, we fully expect more developers to adopt the digital assistant as well. As Microsoft works to refine Cortana and bring it to other versions of Windows, if your app doesn't integrate with the assistant, it will be at a disadvantage if others on the market adopt the capabilities.