Microsoft will put Cortana in your smart home

Windows 10 Creators Update will make your fridge or thermostat that much smarter.

Microsoft doesn't just want its Cortana in your phone or on your desk -- it wants the voice assistant to be a mainstay in your smart home. As part of a WinHEC presentation, the company's May Ji has revealed that Windows 10 Creator Update will bring Cortana to Windows 10 IoT Core devices with screens. Combined with longer-ranged voice detection (key to Microsoft's Home Hub plans), you wouldn't have to be anywhere near a PC to use the digital helper -- you could ask your thermostat about the weather, or add an appointment to your calendar through your fridge. Those concepts aren't new, of course, but Cortana can sync with your phone and Windows PC on a level that isn't possible with most smart home devices.

The Creators Update arrives in spring 2017, although you won't necessarily see Cortana-equipped appliances shipping at the same time. Hardware makers will still have to integrate the new Windows 10 release into their products, so it could take some months after that before you're upgrading your home. Even so, it could be a big deal when it arrives. Most smart home equipment doesn't have direct access to an advanced voice assistant -- this would make the technology virtually ubiquitous.