Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that they want Cortana, their voice-powered, Halo-inspired personal assistant to be everywhere. She premiered of Windows Phone several years ago, made her way to the desktop with Windows 10 and has expanded from there. Harman Kardon is building a speaker named Invoke, while HP is also building a Cortana-powered speaker.
Cortana isn't just about voice - her powers of AI and neural networks extend her capabilities to learning about all manner of data, and making decisions based on that information. To show off this technology, Microsoft has paired up with Johnson Controls, possibly the best-known name in HVAC electronics, to produce a Cortana-powered thermostat called GLAS. This device, shown off in a YouTube video from Microsoft, is taking a very different approach to a smart home control than Nest or its competitors.
While Nest decided to make a thermostat that looks similar to a traditional device, Johnson and Microsoft decided to make GLAS look more appropriately Cortana. It features a square, semi-transparent LCD touchscreen that is set slightly off the wall. The styling gives the appearance of a heads-up display, which is how Cortana appeared in the original Halo games.
As for functionality, Johnson uses Cortana's processing to determine HVAC usage, scanners to determine room usage and makes determinations on where, where and how much to run the air conditioning to maintain proper temperatures. Unfortunately, there is no word on whether this is a concept device or if Johnson Controls plans on bringing it to market. Based on the massively positive comments on the video, though, Johnson would be nuts to not make this happen immediately.
Hit the break to see the video, or let us know what you think about the GLAS.