#Microsoft is diversifying as it ventures in innovations to create a smart home. In December 2015, Microsoft released its own virtual personal assistant for Windows 10, Windows Phone 8.1, X-box One, iOS, Android, and Windows Mixed Reality called Cortana.

The home of the future

Cortana competes against other assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa which aims to set reminders, recognize natural voice without the need for a manual keyboard input, and answer questions using information from a Bing search engine.

Now, Microsoft’s Cortana is making a leap from smartphones and computers to devices and appliances.

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Microsoft partners with #Johnson Controls, a company that specializes in the development and production of building equipment in making a smart thermostat with a built-in Cortana in it called GLAS Forbes reported.

How GLAS looks and works garnered a lot of social media attention. The device was created by Johnson Controls and is powered by Microsoft technologies. It includes the Azure cloud platform, Cortana voice assistant, and Windows IoT core. Based on the marketing video, GLAS is a device that comes with a touch screen display. The size of the thermostat is like a small-sized tablet that is attached to a wall. This mainly detects the atmosphere of the place it is in – whether if it’s in the room, kitchen or dining.

Aside from detecting air quality, it allows the user to check the temperature, summarize energy usage, and even calendar information.

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It also detects if the owner is “home” or “away.” What better way to make it even more innovative than adding Microsoft’s Cortana to provide virtual interactions with the user?

Advantages

The device entails a lot of advantages. First, it monitors the air quality. This is a window into the home which will be used when away. This could give the users peace of mind even when they are away.

Secondly, the whole point of a smart thermostat is to save money on the heating and cooling bill. This would help in nudging the user towards energy-saving settings. Lastly, as the thermostat is user-friendly, the users will be satisfied through how it can easily be programmed.

Google has pioneered the invention of smart thermostats, namely Google’s Nest and also Hive from the UK. But what’s putting GLAS on an edge is the presence of the virtual voice assistant. This would keep them up a notch from other competitors in the field.

Diversifying to other appliances

Aside from the thermostat, Microsoft revealed its plans to reinvent other appliances such as fridges and toasters, making more and more efforts in shaping a smart home.

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They are currently in the process of partnering with Hardware companies as they use their software to make innovative equipment.

The thermostat is not yet available on the market. Microsoft and Johnson Controls have not released statements on the prices, too. But based on the specifications, the price might vary from other smart thermostats as it comes with a voice assistant and other advancements compared to the other smart thermostats. #Home Security