“Cortana, do I need to buy milk?” – Microsoft working on IoT-friendly version of digital assistant

It would appear that Samsung isn’t alone in its embrace of the burgeoning smart appliance market.

During a pair of recent presentations in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft Corp. program managers Carla Forester and May Ji revealed the company is working on new features for a future Windows 10 update that will bring its automated personal assistant, Cortana, to fridges, toasters, thermostats, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices sometime next year.

According to Ji, the upcoming Windows 10 Creators update will include “Wake on Voice from Modern Standby,” a feature that allows users to instantly turn Cortana-supported PCs and other devices on, and “far-field voice,” which will allow them to do so from up to four meters away.

Forester, meanwhile, indicated that once the update is implemented any device with a screen will be able to support Cortana.

“This will enable you to build devices with displays, so you get that immersive Cortana experience,” Forester explained to the company’s Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) partners.

Though neither mention of the Creators update indicates Microsoft is designing new hardware to support it, Ji’s presentation included a slide with images of Cortana running on refrigerator and thermostat screens.

Courtesy Microsoft
Courtesy Microsoft

Microsoft currently expects to release the Creators update in March 2017.

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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