DESPITE not having a stellar reputation in the hardware market, Microsoft is taking on the mantle again in the name of its virtual assistant Cortana, in the form of a thermostat called GLAS.
The new thermostat, which is one letter short of a Google lawsuit, has been made in conjunction with Johnson Controls, whose history dates back to the very first electric thermostats.
And yes, we can't deny, it's a bit sexified. It has a translucent display, a touchscreen and, of course, it cooperates with Cortana which means that it will be able to automatically change its settings to suit your whereabouts.
The Windows IoT Core device will also detect if the room is occupied or not and will be able to monitor and react to calendar information.
It looks like this might be a showcase product, not just for Cortana as an IoT product, but for Cortana as an enterprise tool, as the thermostat seems to be geared towards businesses. Apart from anything else, the promo video (below) is bigging up the Azure Cloud that the thermostat is based on, which is hardly a casual consumer product.
Microsoft's plans for Cortana seem to largely leverage its biggest strength - the fact that you already have it. Rather than fuss-budgeting with an Amazon Echo or Google Home-type device, Cortana will be all around you - in your computer, your Xbox and other devices.
From there, you'll start to see it appear in other household devices, though exact details and timescales aren't known. We're not even clear if this is ever going to see the light of day, and if it does, if it'll be in the reach of Joe Public.
Either way, Microsoft will be banking on making this good because Cortana is not exactly flourishing in the digital assistant market.
With the failure of so many high profile hardware projects from the company - from the Zune to the Microsoft Band to the Wireless Display Adapter to, well, the entire Lumia debacle, all of which come from a good place, but a bad commercial hit rate - they'll be dying to show that Cortana can stand alongside Alexa and Google Assistant.
Oh and Siri. Yeah. We can't forget Siri. µ
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