Cortana Now Works With Automation Service IFTTT, More Smart Home Devices

Amid all the discussion around Microsoft neglecting development of its smart assistant Cortana, the company today announced some big updates for the smart assistant. The latest updates take Cortana’s automation and smart home capabilities to a whole new level with support for IFTTT.

IFTTT, for those unfamiliar, is an automation service that connects with more than 600 services. IFTTT lets you connect an incredibly wide range of services, and it’s completely free. This means you can use Cortana to interact with automations (known as Applets) that you have setup on IFTTT. For example, you can use Cortana to activate an IFTTT applet that tweets something you out, or use it to perform multiple different actions at the same time. IFTTT works with a bunch of different services — Trello, Slack, Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, smart home services, GitHub, printers, and literally everything else.

Along with IFTTT support, Microsoft is bringing native support for some new home automation platforms. Cortana already works with things like the Philips Hue (although the support is quite limited in terms of functionality), but today’s update brings more support to the personal assistant. This includes devices from Ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa, and Geeni.

Microsoft isn’t saying anything about the availability of these features, but they are likely limited to users in the United States. They are, however, available from Cortana on all devices, so you can use them regardless of where you are using Cortana from.

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  • Bart

    Premium Member
    16 February, 2018 - 1:23 pm

    <p>No comments……</p><p><br></p><p>I guess we are all flabbergasted :)</p>

  • arunphilip

    16 February, 2018 - 1:23 pm

    <p>I really think Microsoft and Samsung have to collaborate on their respective smart assistants. Neither Cortana nor Bixby have the same capability as those of Amazon and Google's assistants. </p><p><br></p><p>However, by collaborating with one another, it would benefit both – Samsung will get a good boost for Bixby from all the English-focused work that Microsoft have invested in Cortana (as well as other languages, but English is not Bixby's strongest suit). Conversely, that gives Cortana improved presence on <em>(one of?)</em> the largest maker of Android phones. </p><p><br></p><p>Samsung is also seen as not wanting to go all in with Google (hence Samsung's decisions to run parallel lines like Tizen for their smart watches, Bixby instead of the Google Assistant, etc.), so this should align with that goal as well. </p>

    • Chris_Kez

      Premium Member
      16 February, 2018 - 1:40 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#246211"><em>In reply to arunphilip:</em></a></blockquote><p>Yeah, it seems like a natural place to explore some kind of partnership. One big issue is that Cortana is only in a few markets because of the underlying limitations of Bing. If Microsoft could make a strategic investment to further grow Bing I could see them talking to Samsung about a deal to make Bing the default search engine, and then make Cortana the default assistant. They would have to pay Samsung, of course, just like Google pays Apple to be the default search engine.</p>

  • moogleassassin

    16 February, 2018 - 1:28 pm

    <p>I've got three alexa units already but can't help shaking the feeling that as I'm pretty much all in on the ms ecosystem and have used cortana on Xbox, pc, win phone for years I would be better off picking up some of the invokes instead of echo. Sounds dumb and I realise this… But I've also got all my stuff in cortana around reminders, calendar, email, etc, etc. If u can use Spotify (rip groove, yes I know and understand why Groove was killed but it was still a good service. Spotify ui is lag central) and just looks like Microsoft marketing designed it in the mid 90's with the amount of clutter) with it on multi room I would be tempted but… Live in the UK, and…. Sanity…. But still… </p><p><br></p><p>I would be tempted if it was in the UK. Keep bringing new things out for it and don't kill it off (they won't. Too integrated with bing and other services) and I might be tempted to import one… </p><p><br></p><p>There goes my sanity… </p>

    • moogleassassin

      16 February, 2018 - 1:29 pm

      <blockquote><em>And yes before in with replies about alexa ask cortana…. But that's trash. I doubt the integration will be worth a damn. </em><a href="#246213"><em>In reply to moogleassassin:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p>

  • sjpena

    Premium Member
    16 February, 2018 - 1:45 pm

    <p>This is great news. I'd be happier if they just added Pandora (which was announced a while ago). </p>

  • PeteB

    16 February, 2018 - 3:32 pm

    <p>No thanks. I will not use Cortana or any Microsoft branded consumer anything until they provide a Telemetry opt out in windows 10. </p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft is dead as a brand as long as they keep a knife in their customers backs.</p>

    • stevenlack

      16 February, 2018 - 4:39 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#246271"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a></blockquote><p>Lol I swear I saw you before posting something similar. I was right! Your history is filled with this.</p><p><br></p><p>Maybe you should take a break from technology and go outside, it's nice 🙂 </p>

      • CompUser

        17 February, 2018 - 9:12 am

        <blockquote><a href="#246276"><em>In reply to stevenlack:</em></a><em> Maybe we all should go outside for a bit and think about how we (as a whole) have allowed Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung to pretty much eliminate the concept of personal privacy.</em></blockquote><p><br></p>

        • SenorGravy

          Premium Member
          17 February, 2018 - 10:00 am

          <blockquote><a href="#246397"><em>In reply to CompUser:</em></a><em> There's some merit to this argument. We, as Americans, howl about "the Gummint", yet we pay through the nose for always on devices listening to our every word, and use apps and devices that harvest and sell the very data we claim to be concerned about. And I won't even mention these devices lack of security.</em></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote><em>Crazyness.</em></blockquote><p><br></p>

          • CompUser

            17 February, 2018 - 1:08 pm

            <blockquote><a href="#246412"><em>In reply to SenorGravy:</em></a><em> Yep, if it was "the Gummint" doing it, we'd all be up in arms about it. But because its private industry doing it, and making billions of dollars in the process, it's apparently OK. But surrendering our privacy is a good trade-off I guess because instead of having to press buttons on a remote, we can just say, "OK Alexa (or Cortana, Google, etc.), show me NCIS".</em></blockquote><blockquote><em>The other day, I was watching a Denver Nuggets/Milwaukee Bucks basketball game on TV. At one point during the game, the announcer said something about Bledsoe always being ready to fire, and at that moment, my son's Amazon Dot started explaining how to fire a weapon. It was up to step five before my wife got it to stop. I posted a comment about it on the game thread on Denver Stiffs, and someone replied that yea, they're always on, always listening, and always recording what it hears, somewhere. Just like it doing so couldn't possibly be more normal. My son got his Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas, and I thought he had it in his bedroom. But regardless, it's only supposed to react if someone says "OK, Alexa" to it, so not knowing it was even in the room or turned on, no one had said that in this case. It was just listening and decided to respond to the word fire. I think it's more than just a little concerning.</em></blockquote><p><br></p>

        • stevenlack

          21 February, 2018 - 10:48 am

          <blockquote><a href="#246397"><em>In reply to CompUser:</em></a></blockquote><p>I definitely agree on some of those aspects. Especially Google Home, etc. although I need more information on how these devices work. From my understanding, there are actually two sensors. One for the trigger, and the other when it's triggered to command. If that's the case, there wouldn't be anything recorded until it's activated.</p><p><br></p><p>As far as PeteB talking about Windows 10 Telemetry, I'm sorry to say, this has been in there long before Windows 10 and is the least of anyone's worries. He should be focusing on removing Facebook and any smart speaker in his house first if he's that worried. With Cortana not used, Windows 10 would only track basic telemetry that wouldn't identify him who he is, but rather how he/she uses Windows 10. There's a reason the ribbon in File Explorer, Word, etc. is the way it is. Spoiler alert, Microsoft knows what people use more often than not from prior OS's telemetry data.</p>

    • JimP

      17 February, 2018 - 7:42 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#246271"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>So, why are you on the Internet? You do realize that most websites collect telematic data on everything you do on the web, right?</p>

    • dontbe evil

      22 February, 2018 - 8:10 am

      <blockquote><a href="#246271"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a></blockquote><p>oh so I guess you're not using any google, amazon, apple, facebook… devices/services</p>

  • thea2_

    Premium Member
    16 February, 2018 - 3:34 pm

    <p> Wondering when invoke would interact with the desktop?</p>

  • Darekmeridian

    16 February, 2018 - 7:14 pm

    <p>Best part of this article is the artwork. I don't know if it was planned or just a weird angle that the Invoke appears to be sitting next to a wall socket to somehow relay smart home connection? ?? But it's hilarious no matter.</p><p><br></p>

  • beatnixxx

    Premium Member
    16 February, 2018 - 7:32 pm

    <p>Maybe I'm missing it, but as of a day or two ago, there was no support for Cortana on Microsoft’s Flow (their IFTTT type tool), but now there is on IFTTT?</p><p><br></p><p>I use both, I just don't get why they wouldn't support their own assistant on Flow, but would on IFTTT. Again, unless I'm dense and just missing it. </p>

    • mrdrwest

      17 February, 2018 - 8:12 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#246315"><em>In reply to beatnixxx:</em></a></blockquote><p>b/c IFTTT has been around for several years and is supported by 600 services.</p>

      • IanYates82

        Premium Member
        18 February, 2018 - 9:45 am

        <blockquote><a href="#246552"><em>In reply to mrdrwest:</em></a></blockquote><p>Makes sense to support the market leader, but annoying they don't support their own. Flow has some nice things, and is cheaper for me. </p><p>Academic at the moment I support since I don't have a cortana box anyway… </p>

      • beatnixxx

        Premium Member
        02 March, 2018 - 5:33 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#246552"><em>In reply to mrdrwest:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Yes, that's the argument for why IFTTT, which I understand. I don't understand them not supporting it on Flow.</p>

  • Rusty T.

    16 February, 2018 - 10:18 pm

    <p>Mehedi writes like a 9th grader. </p>

    • PhilipVasta

      17 February, 2018 - 1:32 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#246335"><em>In reply to Rusty T.:</em></a></blockquote><p>I don't find that to be the case with Mehedi, but I'm always amazed at how many people simply don't know how to write in a semi-professional manner. I'm certainly not an expert, but an incredible number of articles on these more fan-centric MS sites use punctuation and grammar poorly. And even when nothing is technically wrong with them, there's a certain amateurish quality to them. To be fair, everyone has to start somewhere. But man does it take me out of the article when I notice those things. Frankly, I really like Paul's writing style. It's professional, but relaxed enough that I don't feel like I'm reading a thesis paper.</p>

  • mrdrwest

    17 February, 2018 - 8:14 pm

    <p>Is it Invoking power line communication (smirk)?</p>

  • aparlette

    17 February, 2018 - 10:30 pm

    <p>On the topic of Cortana and home automation… Am I doing something wrong to not have access to this on Cortana for Xbox? The "connected home" activities work from Win10 and even Cortana on Android, but not Xbox. Platform differences?</p>

  • Sammibulin

    17 February, 2018 - 11:24 pm

    <p>I bought an invoke the other day. I love it so far although I haven't really had time to really play with it other than playing music. Very confused as to why they would pull Groove support for it though. Why can't I at least play music that I have stored in my OneDrive?</p>

  • gregsedwards

    Premium Member
    18 February, 2018 - 4:25 pm

    <p>I have a Honeywell Lyric T6 Pro thermostat, so I was initially excited to see support for the Lyric platform added to Cortana. However, I also have SmartThings already connected to Cortana and I have my Lyric thermostat connected to SmartThings, it wasn't really adding any functionality I didn't already have. In fact, it actually seemed to confuse Cortana, which saw the multiple connections as separate thermostats. Anytime I asked Cortana to set "Upstairs Thermostat," she responded that she found multiple thermostats and that I should try specifying the thermostat's name. Disconnecting Lyric from Cortana Immediately fixed the issue. I suspect this will become a common problem as we connect more of these systems to one another.</p>

  • Bats

    19 February, 2018 - 8:50 am

    <p>This is not a big deal at all. This is like Microsoft has to do, because everyone else is doing it. In a way, one can say that Microsoft is superlate at the game again,</p>

  • Tony Barrett

    19 February, 2018 - 9:45 am

    <p>It's pretty obvious that without a mobile presence, Cortana doesn't make much sense. Cortana on Windows 10 (desktop), Invoke etc are gimmicks at best, barely useful for anything. An AI assistant on a mobile device can truly shine, and they will do – eventually, when they all get a bit more intelligent. Amazon are also going to feel the pinch eventually as they also don't really do mobile. Sure, they done a (sort of) tie up with MS, but let's be honest, if Alexa comes to Windows 10 (and she is), Cortana will die immediately. Stone dead. MS won't want this, so I'm not sure how far this partnership will go.</p><p>In technology terms, like it or not, Google lead the field. The Google Assistant will be everywhere, and it's got a heck of an installed base ready for it, and there's nothing MS or Amazon can do about it.</p>


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