Microsoft Unveils Its First Cortana-enabled GLAS IOT Thermostat

The major software producer has announced a new smart home device to provide a simple way to monitor home air quality and ensure energy savings.

Microsoft has demonstrated its new smart thermostat in a new YouTube video the company uploaded on Wednesday. Called GLAS, the device features a translucent touchscreen display to allow users change the temperature in certain rooms, control energy usage, and check the calendar.

The appliance was built in partnership with the leading technology company Johnson Controls. “Heating and cooling account for roughly 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most families. In the commercial building sector, the cost is approximately 40%. Johnson Controls, one of the leading providers of HVAC, Fire and Security systems in the world, is changing how spaces are viewed and controlled,” Microsoft wrote in the description for the video on its YouTube channel.

“As the inventors of the first thermostat, Johnson Controls has innovated once again with GLAS. Utilizing Windows 10 IoT Core, Cortana voice services, and Azure Cloud, GLAS is a simple to use, elegant thermostat that brings leading energy savings and air quality monitoring to everyday spaces.”

GLAS is based on Windows 10 IoT Core, a Windows version developed for smaller devices, and uses Azure cloud platform, and Cortana voice controls. It is Microsoft’s first home thermostat, which can be managed using its virtual assistant. The company had earlier mentioned plans to bring Cortana to a range of different IoT devices, like ridges, thermostats, and toasters.

The AI technology allows users to alter the temperatures in their homes without talking to a speaker or their smartphones. It simply detects whether you are at home and then tells you the temperature of the room, as well as the air quality outdoors. The device is expected to help customers save their bills by letting users regulate temperature in real-time. Based on the released video, GLAS can be set to different modes like “away” and “home”. The users can also choose “heat”, “cool”, or “auto” modes.

The development of such smart home devices was expectable as in May Microsoft presented its Cortana Skills Kit to enable developers create voice apps for the intelligent assistant. Cortana was first developed for personal computers with the release of Windows 10 in 2015. The digital voice assistant is now used by more than 145 million monthly active users.

GLAS is similar to its rival smart thermostats such as Google’s Nest and UK’s Hive, which also have a touchscreen display to allow users check the temperature, air quality, and energy usage.

The date of the official release and the price of the device were not revealed, however, according to the video it will be mainly targeted at businesses.

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