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Microsoft’s Cortana Coming To Smart Appliances In 2017

Reports out of ZDNet indicate that Microsoft will be bringing its voice assistant software to fridges, toasters, thermostats, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices when the Windows 10 Creators Update hits in April.

In a presentation to the company’s OEM partners at WinHEC 2016 last week, Microsoft’s Principal Program Manager May Ji outlined Microsoft’s ambitions for device partners to make use of the new “Wake on Voice from Modern Standby” and “Far-field Voice” support that are being added with the Creators Update.

Wake on Voice from Modern Standby is a feature that allows Cortana to turn on PCs from off to a full-powered state on devices the incorporate Windows 10 “Modern Standby” power-management support. Meanwhile Far-field voice will allow Cortana to work effectively in rooms with ambient noise, even from a distance of up to 4 meters away.

The key takeaway here is that while Microsoft isn’t likely to make a Cortana-enabled fridge anytime soon, they’re making it easier than ever for companies that do (like Hisense or Samsung) to make their next device smart-home ready and doing everything beyond that to make their voice assistant a feature worth desiring in your next appliance purchase.

“Any kind of smart device with a screen can now take advantage of Cortana,” said Microsoft program manager Carla Forester.

 

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