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Microsoft is bringing Cortana to fridges, toasters, and thermostats

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Cortana devices

Microsoft is planning to allow fridges, toasters, thermostats, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices to access Cortana. The software giant is bringing Cortana to IoT devices with its Windows 10 Creators Update, due in March next year. ZDNet spotted a presentation about the plans at Microsoft’s WinHEC conference in China recently, and the company is outlining its software requirements to hardware makers in preparation of devices coming to the market.

“This will enable you to build devices with displays, so you get that immersive Cortana experience,” explains Microsoft program manager Carla Forester. “Any kind of smart device with a screen can now take advantage of Cortana.” Microsoft wants device makers to use a screen to get the full Cortana UI, and the company is providing fridges, thermostats, and toasters as example devices that we’ll likely see in the future.

Microsoft is also enabling far-field speech communications and wake on voice in the Creators Update to Windows 10. Both will let hardware makers create devices that are capable of waking up through voice queries and have the ability to hear users from across a room. Microsoft has also started testing some UI enhancements to Cortana that make it more immersive to use full-screen and with just your voice on Windows 10.

Microsoft isn’t committing to specific hardware for Cortana, but it’s clearly laying the software groundwork to enable third parties to build devices with screens that will act as a gateway to Cortana in the cloud.