Cortana Gets New Smart Home Features

Posted on January 20, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft with 31 Comments

Microsoft is advancing Cortana’s smart home capabilities with new features this week. The company started rolling out two new features: Scenes and Rules, which allows users to automate their smart home, as first spotted by Windows Central.

Cortana Scenes are essentially different scenarios you can create with your smart home devices and control them via Cortana. For example, you can create a scene for every morning where you can ask Cortana to turn on the lights, control the temperature of your house, start playing music, turn on your smart kettle, etc. and every morning you can ask Cortana to trigger that scene to carry all the actions out automatically. It seems like you will be able to connect as many devices as you want as part of a scene, so you can go all in with the automation here.

Rules are equally interesting. It basically allows you to automate your smart home devices. You can turn on the lights in your room every day at 7 am, for example. Or simply ask Cortana turn off your smart lights in 10 minutes or an hour, etc.

Cortana’s new Scenes and Rules features come at a point where it seems like Microsoft has given up with the personal assistant. The company announced earlier this week that the company wants Cortana to be something that’s accessible via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, instead of working as a standalone personal assistant. And before you go and comment “I thought Cortana was dead?”, just remember that none of these new features contradicts what Microsoft said earlier this week.

Either way, the company wants all of its users to be able to use Cortana without necessarily having a device built for Cortana and it kind of makes sense. But unless you are a die-hard Microsoft fan who relies heavily on the company’s ecosystem, there is literally no reason to use Cortana over Alexa and Google Assistant.

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