Blog Post

Insteon integrates with Microsoft Cortana for voice control in the home

If you have Insteon gear set up in your home (a fair number of people do) and you also are toting a Microsoft handset (a smaller number) then you can control your home via voice command using Microsoft’s Cortana personal digital assistant. Since I’m a huge fan of voice control in the home, and we’re likely to see HomeKit apps controlled via Siri and Nest controlled via Google’s “Okay, Google” commands in the near term, this integration isn’t a surprise.

Insteon and Microsoft had teamed up already, with [company]Microsoft[/company] selling Insteon gear in its stores and an Insteon releasing an app for Windows Phone 8.1. And that app is now how you get the voice control via Cortana. Options for control include lighting, locking and unlocking doors, opening and closing a garage door and adjusting the thermostat both remotely and inside the home.

Examples of the interactions from the press release indicate that you don’t have to come up with a specific command, since Cortana uses natural language processing plus AI to understand what steps to take. The release offers up the following example:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]…a user could say, “Insteon, it’s hot in here.” Cortana will respond, “Nobody likes being hot, want to adjust your thermostat?” and thermostat controls would appear on your phone. [/blockquote]

You can also select commands for set scenes or recipes such as “I’m leaving,” which turns down thermostats, turns off lights and locks doors. Having played with voice in a few other iterations, I’m eager to see how [company]Insteon[/company] and Microsoft have applied a more natural interaction to their integration. I’m hoping for something similar from other vendors soon. Turning to your thermostat and saying, “Hello, thermostat. Move set point to 76 degrees” is always a bit of a conversation killer.