Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant has now found a place in a thermostat. It surely is a smart move for the company, as the Internet-enabled thermostat market is a popular category nowadays thanks to companies like Nest. Microsoft’s thermostat, called GLAS, was developed in partnership with Johnson Controls.
What is Microsoft’s thermostat?
A YouTube video first spotted by The Verge shows Microsoft’s magnificent-looking thermostat. The GLAS has a touch-screen allowing users to perform several functions, such as checking information related to air quality, temperature, calendar schedule and above all, allowing for manual controls. Users can also make voice commands with the help of Cortana.
Microsoft’s thermostat is also able to detect if there are people in its surroundings, and it uses this information to operate heating and air control systems in an efficient manner. Microsoft has built this thermostat on the Windows 10 IoT Core. In addition to Cortana, it will support Azure cloud services as well. Nothing is known for now regarding pricing or the launch date of the GLAS.
Microsoft’s thermostat has an elegant design, boasts an intuitive interface, and fits both traditional and modern home designs. The thermostat’s display is mounted on a base, which may have a camera or a light sensor inside it. In addition to helping users save on electricity, Microsoft’s thermostat will provide them with daily reports on the environment as well. Additionally, it is suitable for use in homes and businesses. However, it is not clear whether Microsoft plans to target both businesses and consumers with its thermostat.
The design of Microsoft’s GLAS is similar to that of devices from Google’s Nest and Hive in the U.K., but its voice activation feature is its main differentiator. However, Microsoft GLAS is not the first thermostat to come with smart assistant and voice recognition tech. Ecobee is also developing Alexa-based thermostats and smart light switches, notes TechCrunch.
Microsoft aggressively promotes Cortana
In May 2016, Microsoft first launched the Cortana Skills Kit, hinting at its plans to introduce some smart home devices in the future. Since then, the company has been aggressively pushing its voice assistant into smart home systems. Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creator Update in March allowed Cortana to run on all smart devices that have screens.
Microsoft aims to make Windows 10 technologies and Cortana as ubiquitous in appliances as they are in computers. The GLAS thermostat can be said to be a good start in moving toward that vision. The GLAS is probably one example from Microsoft to show the host of functions a user can perform, and going forward, we might have a lot more smart gadgets featuring Cortana. A Cortana-based smart speaker from Harman Kardon was already teased last year and is expected to release in the fall.
Microsoft will be hoping that manufacturers of Cortana-capable devices will offer advanced features and exotic designs to snatch away market share from leaders.
As of now, there have been no comments from Microsoft on the development beyond the teaser video that was posted on YouTube.