Cortana, the virtual assistant by Microsoft, may have come out of the gate slower than its competitors Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but it’s gathering traction thanks to its recent compatibility with IFTTT and integration friendlinesss with several leading manufacturers of smart home devices.
The IFTTT platform enables consumers to utilize and create “recipes” that enable the Microsoft Cortana voice assistant to trigger multiple actions via simple voice commands. IFTTT is a free programming platform and Applets are widely available on the IFTTT website for consumers to use to connect apps, services, and smart products together. IFTTT derives its name from the conditional logic, “If This, Then That.”
Microsoft offers the following examples of how Cortana and Applets on IFTTT (or Applets you create yourself) can work together:
- If you are watching a movie at home, you can say “Hey Cortana, movie time,” and she will turn down your Philips Hue lights, signal your Harmony remote to turn on the TV, and adjust your Nest thermostat to a comfortable movie-watching temperature.
- You could use IFTTT and Cortana to tackle several tasks at once; for instance, adding items to a shopping list on Trello, posting a tweet, opening motorized window shades, extending the tumble cycle on a dryer, and logging your weight into a fitness tracker.
You can visit the Cortana Channel on the IFTTT website to see what kinds of Applets are currently available.
Cortana Compatibility with Honeywell Products and More
Enhancing Cortana’s reach even further, Microsoft has also announced that voice commands issued through a Cortana smart speaker (like Harman Kardon’s Invoke), are now able control Honeywell Lyric and Honeywell Total Connect Comfort thermostats. Users can also control the devices using the assistant on Windows 10, iPhone, and Android devices.
The Cortana digital assistant was already compatible with devices through Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink and Insteon. Other devices now supported by Cortana include LIFX’s WiFi connected light bulbs, TP-Link’s Kasa WiFi slim smart plugs and Geeni’s products, including its smart surge protector.