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Cortana Notebook adds Connected Home integrations for Hue, Nest, more

Microsoft has steadily been adding to the ways in which Cortana can assist users whether they're sitting at their PC or on the move. A lot of what Cortana can do can be customized or enabled through the Cortana Notebook, a sort of settings menu where you can tell Cortana what to keep track of for you as well as enable integrations with different services. New to the menu is a recently added "Connected Home" section, where users can now sign in to different smart home services to allow Cortana to control smart devices around their house.

As of right now, Connected Home only works with five services: Wink, Insteon, Nest, SmartThings, and Hue. Once toggled on, you can sign in to each service to allow Cortana to help you manage devices linked to each service. For example, connecting to your Hue account will allow Cortana to control your Hue lights. Ditto with your thermostat, should you choose to enable the Nest integration.

Cortana Notebook Connected Home

The fact that Connected Home is available now likely isn't a coincidence: We're drawing ever-closer to the launch of the Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Invoke speaker, which has been officially pegged for launch at some point in a general fall timeframe. Like the competing Amazon Echo, the Invoke will be able to control connected home devices, but it will require Cortana to do so. Recent leaks have indicated that the Invoke could arrive as soon as October 22, so the recent arrival of the new section makes sense. It also comes not long after a dedicated Cortana Speaker setup shortcut was added just below Cortana's Notebook section.

We've spotted Connected Home in the Cortana Notebook on both Windows 10 PC and Mobile, so it's likely rolling out widely now. To get started, simply navigate to Connected Home on the list of integrations, toggle it on, and click on each service to sign in with your account details.

Thanks to Nicholas C. for the tip!

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

103 Comments
  • Well I'll be....
  • Ok, I added my Nest. How do I use it with Cortana? I don't see anything and she doesn't do anything when I ask her to turn on the AC
  • Not sure about nest but with SmartThings I just say "Ask SmartThings to turn on.." something.
  • Guess cortana hates me, as she doesn't want to turn off anything attached to my smartthings...   a tutorial would have been nice
  • "Ask Nest to set the temperature to 72 degrees" worked for me.  There is a slight delay, but nothing that would be noticed through a hub like the Invoke.
  • I connected hue and nest! How do i use it! I guess she's not ready!
  • On Windows 10, click the "Start" button.  Type "Cortana" to bring up the "Cortana & Search settings".  Then click on the hamburger menu button and select the "Notebook" item.  Under the "Notebook" menu, select "Connected Home" and enable the feature.
  • If you'll re-read Adrian's post, the question is how to use the feature, as he has already connected the accounts. Sorry Adrian, I'm not having luck getting it to work properly. However, saying: Hey Cortana, turn on lights. or Hey Cortana, turn on Bedroom Should work. Replace Bedroom with the light's name. I have found that the light for my computer area is named just "Computer" and this causes a search explaning the in depth details of turning your computer on and off. THANK YOU CORTANA! :-P
  • Need Alarm.com to be added. All my stuff is on that Z-Wave system. Maybe add Ring.com too so I can answer the doorbell 😊
  • Whoever curious and interested in smart things majority of them would have already invested in Amazon, Google or Amazon. I for one went to Alexa but Google is great and planning a switch. MS is too late not yet here and even after it is introduced there is no guarantee I will have support from them after a year or so as they may slash the product entirely.
  • Some of us know what kind of a company Google is and will not use their products. We welcome another player.
  • Alternatives are healthy, let there be many options for whoever wants to choose them.
  • Very true!
  • A funny thing and a major flaw why most of MS consumer side effort fails because nobody knows its there. Even windows focused site need to get a tip from someone to know there is a new feature as such added and hidden.
  • Well, to be fair, often Cortana has improvements that news sites are tipped off about because she can be updated on the back end but it theirs a blog announcement. They are probably preparing one as they prepare for a release. The tip may just be faster than this announcement this time. I agree with your point sentiments though with features and marketing and just ms being ms. It's what JUST convinced me to jump ship...sad bc i wanted to be in a exclusive ms ecosystem
  • Just confirming success. Can flip my hue lights off and on. Not sure what else it can do yet though.
    Also... No ecobee support huh?
  • I'm honestly surprised about Nest support. Guess they must be using public api's cuz if there was a way for Google to block Microsoft from using them, they would.
  • last week i decided I waited to long for the invoke and began weighing my options of google assistant with google home and alexa. I went with alexa. maybe a little too hastily too because I decided on jumping ship to android with the pixel 2 xl yesterday and i think that would have better integration with the phone than alexa. ugh...its going to be a learning experience.(..a [seemingly] forced one due to ms's perceived incompetence.
    )
  • It's also on Cortana for Android (not tested yet, i'm not home right now). However, Huetro fro Hue  has a really decent Win10 App with Cortana support. I still seach for something similar for Android.
  • Thanks.
    Is there an easy way to make Cortana your default assis....nvm i forgot I decided to just back away from any ms consumer facing project.
  • Cool story
  • K
  • Microsoft's unwillingness to stick with mobile, even if they were destined to be 3rd place, has caused a domino effect that will see all of their consumer facing efforts, like Cortana, to fail. I hate writing that. I was ready to support their entire portfolio. Now, I'm researching android handsets...just so sad. The fact of the matter is...this has no chance.
  • I just bought a couple of Samsung Galaxy S8s yesterday and have to admit, I'm already missing Windows 10 Mobile.  Even with the Microsoft Launcher and all the other Microsoft apps, the Android OS is a mess compared to Windows.  I'm hoping I get the hang of this Android stuff soon, especially after shelling out a ton of money, but I miss my Lumia 950 already and will likely keep it around as a backup because I like the way it works so much more than I seem to like Android so far.
  • Yeah, I have some experience with Android. I was using a Samsung Epic 4g back when the nock on Android was "there's no apps" lol. I UPGRADED to Windows Phone 8 with my L822. I agree, compared to Win Mobile, Android is a mess. If not for poor app developer support, due in part to poor choices by Microsoft, Win Mobile would be the best mobile platform...imo.
  • Same.
    Pixel 2 xl for me
  • US only again?
  • What a surprise... give it 6 months and they'll release it to other countries. Another 2 months later they'll cancel Cortana because no-one uses it
  • Cortana is available worldwide...
  • Yes, but with many features not available... From that graphic up the top, you can cross out "Music", "Connected Home" and "Skills" if you're not in the US
  • Surprisingly, in Germany it's also availible.
  • You can't get this functionality in my region, among others. And yeah, the languages and country adaptations aren't too many either. They never really got into releasing more languages and countries. And I've been using Cortana since the 8.1 previews, mind you. In english at first.
    So, no, some of Cortana is available worldwide, sometimes it's just a small part.
  • Haha, exactly!
  • And it's not available in Australia, of course. Cortana is the biggest load of bollocks, it's just a waste of storage on the phone.
  • It is available everywhere if you use EN-US.
  • Yeah, because everyone in the world wants to be American, right?   I'm not going to change my language every time I want to talk to my phone, since I would have to change it back to use the store, so your idea is a bad one.
  • It seems you can set Cortana to EN-US (in Cortana's settings) without setting your phone to EN-US. Edit: I just checked, and doing this does not affect your Windows Store settings.
  • Frankly, it's not the idea. Would you change your phone or computer's language to a wholly different one to use it, if you were so lucky to have it in your region?
  • @Giddora, that is not a solution.
  • I need them to get LifX on there too. I love their lights, especially those new minis and the up and coming Tiles and Beam
  • Groove blew. Everyone knew this. Especially on Android.
    Cortana is almost useless on Android.
    They just better have better support for other apps.
    Spotify? Cortana doesn't work with it on Android.
    Smart home devices? Cortana just got this skill.
    YouTube? Better integrate with this.
    Chromecast? Better work with this.
    "Show me X on my tv" better have this.
    "Turn on my xbox and play X game." Better have this. What else do you use these for?
  • "Cortana, could you lower the thermostat at home. I will go for a spontaneous trip". "Cortana, pre-heat the water please". "Cortana, put the lights in movie setting"...   I guess it has to do with a lack of imagination.
  • Hey Cortana, whe is MSFT going to "Hit Refresh" ?
  • Using Cortana to fill the app gap. Smart
  •  Cortana manages to get more an more features, yet  language support is still lagging far far behind. 
  • Microsoft. pleas see this.
  • Yeah, espeically on Android. I really don't get it.
    I personally don't care, but lot's of my friends do, even the ones using Cortana on PC and Tablet a lot.
  • Canada?
  • I just went into my Cortana settings, and set Cortana's language to "English (United States)".  I got a warning that by setting Cortana to a different language than my (Canadian) phone, "some features may no longer be available".  Ha! Going into Cortana's Notebook now, all the missing features like Music, Connected Home, and Skills all suddenly appear.
  • Cortana is still not available in lots of countries...
  • It has not been region locked for more than a year on Windows 10 devices.
  • Geez, but the Store is, if you want to use it.
  • You can keep your own region. It's just the language for Cortana to work.
  • So, I linked SmartThings and it works fine from my desktop and tablet. It says "Turning on <device name>" after each execution though, which will drive you insane. If you thought Alexa's "Okay" was bad, this is worse. Other than that it seems to work just fine.   Also tried it from my phone, a Samsung Galaxy S8+ and while it works just fine, she had to "think" before executing anything. So when I say "Turn on the hallway lights" nothing happens for a second, then it goes into the thinking mode with the pinging sound for another few seconds before she finally says "Turning on the hallway lights" and the lights come on.   It does work however, which isn't bad, haha.   I'm guessing however, that the majority of people into HA has already bought a bunch of Amazon Echoes and have them dotted around the house. It feels like too little too late.
  • So, I've tried it some more and it doesn't seem to do colors or white balance adjustments. Telling it to turn a light warmer simply brightens it, while cooler dims it. While asking to turn to a specific color it either searches the web or says it can't find a device named Blue Hallway Light, even though I asked it, somewhat different, to turn the Hallway Light Blue.
  • I know no one with a Echo or whatever. It just started. It's still early time.
  • Wow. Really? You know no-one? When popular podcasts and/or TV shows have to watch what they say, you know they're popular devices, yet you know no-one? Am I right in thinking you don't live in one of the Echo supported countries? (US, UK and Germany)
  • It seems though that Cortana lost it's ability to interact with Microsoft Health... Shifting from a personal assistant to housekeeper?
  • Health is dead ! Since they killed their microsoft Band. i can't even login to the Health Service
  • For the love of God, do not let this entice you to buy anything from Insteon. It's the most garbage company I've ever dealt with.
  • Its not that bad. I have insteon at home. whats the problem you are having?
  • I've been trying to get Cortana to turn on my Insteon switches and cannot get it to work for the life of me.  I blame Insteon for this though.  And, after switching to Android yesterday, I never thought that I'd be saying this, but the Insteon app for Windows 10 and 10 Mobile is much better than the Android app.  What a piece of garbage.  I'm glad that the Ring Doorbell folks are bringing out more and more home automation and security stuff because their products and their app (on all platforms) actually work quite well.
  • Ok, I take back part of my comments...   I just got my lights connected to Insteon to turn on and it worked brilliantly.  For some reason, I had tried a bunch of times earlier and it wasn't working at all and now it works perfectly!
  • garage does not work neither does self created scenes. posted in uservoice please upvote
  • connect to insteon log on then say Cortana turn on...device name.
  • Interesting. I find the iOS Insteon app way more responsive than the Windows one. Has more capability per Insteon device as well, in my experience. I do use my Insteon devices with my Echos way more than interecting via any phone/tablet though. Mostly use those for setup, not general UI. To be sure I started with Insteon (to replace decades of X10) because they seemed to be committed to MS with their kits even sold in the store. In my opinion their support of MS has been lackluster at best.  I have a different experience with Ring. I just have the doorbell and wouldn't buy another thing from them. It is completely inconsistent in capturing motion. I am more likely to get a truck passing by and the UPS guy getting back into his truck than anything useful. When motion is detected and you get a notification, it takes so long to open the app and get it connected and displaying, whatever caused the motion is typically gone. Then you have to wait for the recording to be available on the service to be able to view that. Much of the time the first half of a 30 second recording is frozen, then movement kicks in in the second half allowing you to see the back of what was detected going away.
  • Cortana is still not available in Switzerland (German language) , when i drive 20mins with my car, then i'm in Germany, and there it works !! Cortana is just a joke ! even the google assistant is available in Switzerland or Siri, or alexa , only Cortana is not ! It's a shame ! almost 3 years after launch ! 
  • Wonderfull to read about all the great things Cortana kan du, in other countries. Try removing all the Cortana features on you computer and phones and you'll experience how wonderfull feature full Windows 10 is in Norway. Yes we are a small country, but pleas ad a English talking and understanding cortana on any language so we can make use of all these wonderfull features. This is why Cortana is behind all the other AI in use, most countries cant access it.
  • This gets back to a vision MS has been pushing for a while.  Many of the apps that are "missing" in the app store can be replaced by simple services in Cortana, which is frankly more useful and intuitive than having to open an app to just change your thermostat for example.
  • The Invoke just earned a spot in my living room. I literally only use my Echo Dot for Wink home automation (lights, fans, TV, thermostat, arming/disarming cameras) & adding things to Wunderlist (via IFFFT) and she SUCKS balls at understanding half the things I say.
  • Don't get too excited about this feature. It will probably be cut out of Win 10 by next year's update. Stay tuned!!!!
  • My problem with ALL of this is the burying of services.  I think it's ridiculous to tell Cortana to tell Alexa to tell Nest to tell whatever.....this is dumb.  There should be some STANDARD so that whatever AI we want to employ--Cortana, Siri, whatever--just KNOWs.  So, if I go through the trouble of connecting Insteon services and Insteon knows I'm controlling lights and thermostat, then I should only have to say, "Hey, Cortana, set temperature to 80" and THAT'S ALL.  If I have Hue controlling lights in my entertainment room, I should only have to say, "Hey, Cortana, change the lights in entertainment room to purple".
  • What you just described is exactly how it works with Alexa, Google Home, and Siri. I have not used Cortana's new Home feature so I cannot speak to that.  These are real life situations I use daily: "Hey Siri, good morning"   Siri: "Good morning". Turns on my Bedroom lights at 20% brightness. Turns on my Kitchen light. Me.  "Alexa play some Jazz" Alexa immediately plays Jazz on my exact location.  "Alexa play some jazz on my Apartment" Alexa plays jazz on all my Alexa devices at the same time. This is very immersive and amazing. I hear the same thing, at the same time, as I walk through my house.  "Ok Googel, brief me on my day" "Good morning, James. Today in XXX(city) the weather will be sunny, with a high of 67 degrees. Expect some light showers. You have so and so appointments scheduled for so and so times. Your communte will be smooth since there is little or no traffic if you take River road and I-95 North. It will take you 15mins to get to work" When I leave my place, Siri automatically turns off my lights and sets my thermostat. When I pull up to my place, it turns on the lights I have set it to turn on, and sets my thermostat.  To some, this might be too much. To me, it is perfect and works for me. I have tailored all the assistants to work for me; harnessing their strengths to my benefit. I am platform agnostic and could not care less about brand loyalty or fanyboyism. I use what works for me.  Oh yeah, I also say, "Hey Cortana. Xbox on". 
  • Well I thought with Alexa you say alexa tell insteon to.. but with this you just Turn on...
  • No, with Alexa you just need to tell her to turn on the device by name. I use her with Insteon and Harmony. She knows the family room lighs are controlled by Insteon, and the stereo is controlled via her Harmony interface. She reads all the devices on the various systems and can interface with them by name. There are third party skills that do require some awkward phrasing to engage the service or skill before telling it what you want done. There is also some extra effort required if you want to invoke something that isn't the default. You will get Eric Clapton from Amazon if you don't specify on iHeart, or whatever service you desire. I don't recall if you can specify a personal default. 
  • Does this work with cortana on the xbox as well ?
  • Well, my 950 just got a new lease on life even though MSFT is killing off Groove (Spotify has always ran like crap on every Lumia phone I've owned). We're buying a new house and I have my eye on the new Nest home alarm being released in November. Good to know I can control the  Nest products from Cortana 
  • It really sucks that Microsoft keeps killing off consumer sided products like the Lumia phones, MS Band, and now Groove. Its like they just don't care about the input of theconsumers. The Windows Mobile/Phone community kept asking for a Flagship phone and what did they give us Low end and Mid grade phones that were over priced. Now they are trying to sell us a home hub thats three years late. Come On MS get with it!!  Another issue that I see is for some reason MS does not believe in advertising their products. They will release a product and maybe make 1 commercial and thats it. How do you plan to sell to the masses without advertising. I know that the Name of MS carries alot of weight but how is the world going to know about these great products if you don't advertise them to all of the public and not just select groups of people. Take a few notes from Samsung why do you think they sell so many Android devices. They flooded the market with different models of phones and tablets and advertised the H..L out of them.
  • True that. Glad I bought my 950 off Swappa for $140 or else I'd be more super pissed. I am a gluton for punishment, just staying on this train to see how it feels to go off the track. I do like my excitement......
  • Yeah, they're all about the money. If it don't sell with the least possible amount of investment(R&D, Production, Advertising) then it gets killed. They want the fans to be the ones doing the advertising for them.
  • I tried Insteon today and hey Cortana turn on the kitchen lights or set thermostat to...works great. You don't even have to say tell Insteon. Great work Microsoft. Now let Xbox join in
  • Whoa!  Yeah, I just got my lights hooked up to Insteon to work instantly.  "Hey Cortana, turn on my backyard patio lights," and it the lights were on before she even finished speaking her confirmation.  It works great!
  • Could you share whcih Insteon Thermostat device worked for you? I have a 2441V which doesn't seem to work with Cortana Connected Home.  
  • I've been using Nexia for my Z-Wave devices along with Ecobee for my thermostats (thank god there are apps for windows mobile.) I do have Alexa setup and it works well with these devices. I am hoping that Cortana intergration isn't that far off but not holding my breath. Maybe once the Cortana and Alexa tied together we will see more Cortana functionality. Again I am not holding my breath. I can tell you all that I probably will not be buying the Invoke even if its better than the other products. I've been burned by MS too many times.  
  • Wow Sneaky move, NICE!!!  Since the Harman Kardon was first leaked they should have done this.  Is there confirmation that its on mobile as well?(although W10 mobile is dead)
  • The settings are there in the Cortana Windows 10 Mobile client, but I cannot get them working right now even though they are working on the desktop.  Hopefully, the Mobile environment will be up and running soon! :)
  • More great work from MS Cortana development team and another example of poor pr / advertising from the marketing department.
  • If this was built into the Xbox One with Kinect since day one, we would've been enjoying a fully automated home for the last three years now. But NOOOOOOooooo. :-P And what gets me the most is that the Kinect with the Xbox has so much more capability than the Echo, Google Home, or Apple's...whatever. I hope this stays around, but right now, I don't trust them to follow through.
  • true
  • Microsoft failed again by killing off the Kinect. Imagine walking into your living room and being greeted by Cortana on Xbox without having to say or do anything. How sweet would that be!!.   
  • No 'Connected Home' here in the UK, still waiting for 'Skills' and 'Music' in Notepad too
  • me too, makes no sense, I mean we all speak English so why not enable the features, its not as if they will need a translator!
  • Engineers bubble. You see Microsoft comes out with really amazing products but they doubt themselves so they have to "test" so they isolate their products to a lower sample size. Then blame lack of adoption and revenue for axing the product later or slowing  down the roll out.  
  • Is this possibly due to territorial licencing issues with the partner companies who may have signed deals with Amazon, Apple or Google elsewhere? Microsoft let a lot of people down with the abandonment of Kinect so early in the development cycle. Look at where it could have been and now they are playing catchup. The lack of foresight in matching the Cortana software to the Kinect hardware early on in the development stage at Microsoft is entirely attributable to the silo mentality at Redmond. Now they are behind their competition while potentially having a ready device deployed in millions of homes that could have been used to start the market awareness.
  • Does this replace the need for a HUB? Or would I still need to buy a hub + Lights for this?
  • If the device needs a Hub normally (Phillip Hue lights, for example), then you still need a hub for them. Sorry.
  • Same with Insteon. You need the hub. The assistants don't talk to the devices, they talk to the hubs. Interestingly they typically need the internet to do it too. If there are connectivity issues, my echos can't talk to my insteon devices, though they are both on the same internal network here. I expect the understanding of what 'Alexa, turn on the bedroom fan' means happens at Amazon, not in the Echo, and the commands that requires to got to the Insteon hub are generated by Bezos personally and sent back. I find it amazing it works as well as it does.
  • Why is Cortana in the UK so lacking in features compared to the US? No Music, no Skills, no Connected Home, fewer Connected Services, no package tracking, no pick up where I left off, reservations or shopping. Cortana is not going to be around for long on the consumer end that's for sure. 
  • I hope they have plans to add Casseta Wireless.
  • Nice if you live in one of the 13 countries where Cortana is available, pretty useless information otherwise. Since there is support for Nest, will this mean that Google has given up on making you use Chrome for all their services? It would be great if Chromecast support would come to Windows e.g. in the Netflix app.
  • Nice. Btw make sure your devices have unique names.
  • Now to wait for them to add Vera support, so I can turn on the deck lights (LED strips controlled by an outdoor z-wave plug), lock the deadbolt, and do all sorts of z-wave goodness.
  • Is this only available in the USA?