Ask someone which are the best smart thermostats and they will probably mention Alphabet’s Nest or the Ecobee4. But it seems Microsoft could soon be joining that list, after the company unveiled the Cortana-powered GLAS.
The Windows maker teamed up with Johnson Controls, who was behind the first electric room thermostat, to create the device. Like the Ecobee4, it comes with a built-in voice assistant, but in this case it’s Microsoft’s Cortana rather than Amazon’s Alexa.
Not only can it be voice activated, but users can also operate GLAS via its stunning translucent touchscreen display, where they can see the temperature, air quality, energy usage, and calendar information.
In Microsoft’s promotional video, which shows off various aspects of the GLAS, the company states that its sensors can detect if a person is in a room or not and constantly monitors indoor and outdoor air quality. Based on this information, it can alter its settings accordingly to improve efficiency and save on energy costs.
The smart thermostat is built on Windows 10 IoT core and is powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing services. No word yet on price, release date, or whether it’ll be available to consumers or aimed at enterprise users.
With the GLAS, the Redmond firm is continuing to push its voice assistant into third-party devices. Microsoft has also partnered with audio experts Harmon Kardon to create a Cortana-powered smart speaker called the Invoke. The speaker - a direct rival to the Amazon Echo and Google Home - is due to be released this fall. Expect the virtual assistant to appear in more hardware as time goes.