Microsoft to open Cortana virtual assistant to third-party devices and apps

by admin December 13, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Microsoft is making Cortana available to third-party device makers, and opening up the platform to third-party developers, too, so that they can integrate their own services in Cortana-powered devices. The news comes after an earlier revelation that Cortana would be coming to some IoT devices via next year’s Creators Update for Windows 10.

Cortana’s new Skills Kit and Devices SDK run approximately parallel to Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit and Voice Service; the Skills kit lets developers build app experiences that can be called up and controlled via Cortana using voice commands, while the Devices SDK allows third-party hardware makers to build gadgets that include Cortana on-board – whether or not they have a display, which was a limitation of the IoT implementation revealed previously.

The Skills Kit preview is on now for a few select partners privately, a lineup that includes Knowmail, Capital One, Expedia and TalkLocal. It works similarly to how Alexa does for third-party apps, letting outside devs build integrations that will work in response to user voice commands, like “Hey Cortana, there’s a leak in my ceiling and it’s an emergency” to get TalkLocal searching for a plumber in the area.