Microsoft is promoting its voice-activated digital assistant, which is built into its Windows 10 software, as a user-friendly controller for Internet-connected appliances and home systems. (Apple has made its Siri program work with home systems in a similar way.) Microsoft showed how Cortana works with Samsung “smart” appliances during an event Thursday at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas.
In the demonstration, a Microsoft presenter asked Cortana to let him know when a Samsung washing machine would be finished with its laundry cycle. Then he showed how Cortana could chart appliance use by different individuals in the house, assuming each person carries a small keychain sensor that lets a smart home system track their movement.
The presenter asked how many hours a fictional boy named “Billy” spent watching TV during the afternoon, when he was home alone after school. After showing the answer in a bar graph, Cortana also was able to report how many times “Billy” opened the refrigerator door - and how many minutes the door was left open each time.
It sounds like “Billy” needs to buckle down and do his homework.