A Toronto based firm specialising in cloud platforms for the Internet of Things has made a video demonstrating the use of Microsoft's recently launched Cortana personal assistant controlling devices around a home/office. NeoWin reminds us that these home automation feats can be achieved, exclusively by Cortana among virtual assistants, due to the Microsoft assistant's extensibility and communication with third party apps.
Onion says that its hardware and software "make it quick, easy and economical to connect anything to the web". The team at Onion have made a video showing how it can utilise Cortana to control both a lamp and a printer at its offices. It's just a case of asking Cortana to make use of these objects in your natural language. The demo shows that Cortana could be very useful beyond the usual calendar, alarm and search queries people often use the likes of Apple's Siri and Google Now to undertake.
Microsoft 'technical evangelist' Sertac Ozercan visited Onion.io to make the video above with Onion 'growth hacker' Steven Wong. In the first section of the video Cortana is asked simply to turn on and off a lamp. Later Cortana is asked to "print eggs and milk" while Mr Wong stands next to Onion's IoT printer. We see the continuous roll printer output 'eggs and milk' – great for a shopping list perhaps…
It would be interesting to know more about what hardware is needed to get the lighting and other devices to work with Cortana. Hopefully more details about this and similar home automation projects will be forthcoming.
We already saw a lights-only Cortana demonstration video last month from South African Windows Phone developer Matt Cavanagh, so the printer control is the only really new thing above. Details of how Mr Cavanagh implemented his home lighting control are published on WP Central. His hardware setup included a Netduino and a Bluetooth module as well as the obvious Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone and electric lamp.