Microsoft, during its multiple demo sessions for its Surface Book 2 , confirms its playing the long game for Cortana. Concerns came up that the long-time favourite personal digital assistant is not getting enough love.
“It’s a long journey to create a real assistant that you can communicate with over longer periods. This is one of the ways to really be approachable and interesting. Of course, it’s about being better than the alternative too,” says Andrew Shuman, Corporate Vice President of Cortana Engineering,
Sharing to GeekWire, he adds: “That is our journey, to make some great experiences that shine through.”
Of course, Microsoft did make a few announcements that mostly focus on partner platforms and enterprise-class services. This includes new smart home partnerships with Ecobee, Geeni, Honeywell Lyric and Total Connect Comfort, IFTT, LIFX, and TP-Link Kasa. Even reference designs from integrated services like Allwinner, Synaptics, TONLY, and Qualcomm are in consideration.
All these collaborations lay the groundwork for raising the standard of delivery for next-gen services of Cortana. These efforts enable the popular digital assistant from Redmond to start appearing on third-party devices. Once again, its the long game for Cortana.
Will it be able to play for keeps against its rivals who are already far ahead?
According to GeekWire, Cortana should do well since it has the entire Microsoft ecosystem backing it. Beyond tapping on the users of Microsoft Windows 10, it can also engage the Microsoft Xbox platform. There is the extensive virtual and mixed reality content that is also immediately accessible to Cortana.
“You start to see the promise of being able to count on Cortana. Right now, it’s just at the infancy stage because it’s such a human need, and there are so many more ways we can make it easier and simpler,” Shuman adds.
Shuman believes its now a matter of building the experiences that go beyond simple voice commands. Calendar reminders and email search requests are now in preview tests and will become proper features soon.
Would a collaboration with market competition be a consideration?
For Microsoft, that is a real possibility.
“Our team and those in Amazon are already using Cortana and Alexa integrations internally. By the looks of it, a concept should be out by Q1 2018 or just a little after.
This could prove interesting especially when Amazon is gearing up to put Alexa onto PCs. If anything, it will make for an interesting narrative to follow for 2018.