If you've got a house full of smart home devices, Cortana just got a whole lot handier.
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.
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!