NEWSBYTE: Microsoft has added integration with Web app/device service IFTTT to its Cortana AI assistant.
Microsoft has been steadily improving Cortana’s skills in the face of intense competition from the likes of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. IFTTT has been available to Google Assistant and Alexa since 2016 and 2015, respectively.
The integration with IFTTT (If This Then That) opens Cortana up to over 600 services from providers across a variety of areas. According to a blog post from the Cortana team, by “using IFTTT, you will be able to customise your experience by creating your own phrases to use with services on IFTTT.”
Via IFTTT, users can use applets to trigger multiple actions from a single Cortana voice command. For example, Microsoft claims that saying “Hey Cortana, movie time” in a connected home will turn down Hue lights, switch on a Harmony TV, and set a Nest Thermostat to the right temperature.
Users can browse IFTTT’s existing ‘recipes’ for use with their own Cortana-enabled devices.
Cortana will also be able to control a slew of new devices, such as products from Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa, and Geeni, said Microsoft. These can be controlled using Cortana on Windows 10, iOS, Android, and the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker.
The smart assistant is already compatible with devices through Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink, and Insteon.
“Say, ‘Hey Cortana, set the living room thermostat to 72 degrees’ to control your ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, or Honeywell Total Connect Comfort thermostat. With vivid colours from your LIFX Wi-Fi connected light bulbs, you can set the mood just right for movie night,” said Stacey Hanson, Cortana’s senior program manager.
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To set up devices with Cortana, open the virtual assistant on Windows 10 or go to the Cortana app on a smartphone. Click Notebook, then Connected Home. From there, users can connect their smart home accounts. The new services currently work in US English. There is no word on further regional or language support at the time of writing.