Over the last year, we have been talking more about the problems of Cortana rather than the positives. However, while Microsoft's virtual assistant is taking a backseat on Windows and becoming productivity-focused, it is also gaining new features for personal users.
As we have reported before, Microsoft is playing catchup to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in this area. The more features Cortana can gain the better. With this latest update, Microsoft has debuted “Scenes” and “Rules”.
Both features can be found under Cortana>Notebook>Manage Skills>Connected Home and are described as:
Scenes allows users to pair smart home functions together. For example, users can sync lights and thermostats to work together through a single command with Cortana. For example, if you say, “getting home”, Cortana would set the lights and thermostat to a prearranged level. Microsoft says users can create complex scenes where multiple smart home functions are merged.
Rules is a little simpler than Scenes, but still useful. Users can give smart home devices a single command that will be followed. For example, “Cortana, set the lights in the living room on dim at 10:00pm”.
Windows Central reports both features are now live, although appear to be rolling out in stages. That suggests Microsoft is in A/B testing or beta testing and the features are still on the Inside. We guess Rules and Scenes will make their way to users across Android, iOS and Windows 10 in the coming weeks and months.