Microsoft is putting Windows 10, Cortana at the center of smart homes – PCWorld

Are you too lazy to open the door or switch on a light? Let Windows 10 and its Cortana voice-activated digital assistant do the job for you.

Microsoft’s vision is to make home automation a breeze in Windows 10, and the company featured several related Internet-of-things announcements at its ongoing Build conference.

Windows 10 will work with a wider range of devices and appliances by integrating new Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) protocols, scheduled to be released in 2017. Additionally, Cortana will allow users to easily automate tasks using a Windows PC, mobile device, Xbox console or Raspberry Pi 3.

Users will be able to program “actions” so Cortana can be used to switch on lights, air conditioning or even unlock cars. For example, users will be able to speak, “lights” to their smartphones, and the bulbs will turn on.

Or even better, users can tell Cortana to “unlock home door,” which will open the door and trigger a series of additional actions like switching on the lights and the air conditioning. A command like “party” could switch on the music and the disco lights.

Actions can also be based on the time of day or on information from connected sensors. The actions can be attached to specific profiles in Cortana like “activate smart home.” The connected devices will need to be discovered by Windows 10 and be on a list of approved devices, much like how the OS discovers and lists wireless printers and other hardware.

But Windows doesn’t support all devices right now, and the OS works with only those based on the AllJoyn protocol. Support for a wider range of devices will come with the integration of protocols established by the OCF, which will unite the disparate IoT standards under one umbrella.

OCF unites AllJoyn, which boasts Microsoft and Qualcomm as members, with the competing Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), with key members including Intel, Samsung and Dell. The companies are working together to converge device discovery, security and connectivity tools under the OCF banner.

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