SEATTLE — Microsoft and Intel are ready to power your smart home, as Intel showed what the Cortana digital assistant can do inside your home at Microsoft's Build developer conference today (May 10). Earlier, the two companies announced a partnership in which Intel would work with Microsoft to help develop Cortana as a platform.
In the demo, an Intel representative said "Good morning, Intel" to Cortana on a Dell XPS 27 all-in-one PC. Cortana heard the greeting, processed it, and then the fun began: a lamp turned on, a door unlocked, and a tea kettle started boiling.
Afterward, that same rep said "Good night, Intel," and the process was reversed, but with some extras: the blinds lowered and an LED strip serving as a night light turned on.
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The demo was run using hardware that's available on the market now, as well as an unbranded router and a smart hub. While I saw this all take place with a desktop PC, Intel staff told me that it could work on anything using Cortana, including speakers, laptops and phones.
What Intel demoed isn't all that different from what Apple offers with its HomeKit smart home system, which lets you create custom scenes that trigger several connected devices at the same time. You can use Apple's Siri digital assistant to launch a scene. Still, the fact that Microsoft and Intel were willing to devote demo time at a high-profile developers conference to showcasing Cortana's role in the smart home shows both companies are serious about pushing Cortana forward.
The Intel representatives would not say when to expect hardware from Microsoft, HP or other partners, nor when their platforms would start showing up. But the demo was seamless, and it's a good look for Cortana as a future of the smart home.