Microsoft has recently begun to roll out announcements for their line of smart products. This past May, Microsoft held their annual developer conference and revealed their own virtual assistant skill kit, Cortana. Microsoft made their entrance into the smart home market by announcing their Invoke smart speaker with Harman Kardon. They’ve now released what Cortana powered product is next in line – a smart thermostat called GLAS built by Johnson Controls through a promotional video uploaded to YouTube.
This announcement may not seem groundbreaking to those already familiar with the smart home space, but Microsoft’s intentions aren’t exactly meant to wow the smart home audience.
Johnson Controls, who were the inventors of the first thermostat, has partnered with the tech giant to create a thermostat unlike any others on the market. By providing companies with their Azure cloud platform, Cortana voice helper and Windows IoT core, it opens the floodgates for partners to use their software platforms to build smart devices, similar to Amazon’s Alexa skill support.
Aesthetically, the GLAS thermostat is already unique in comparison to its competitors like Nest or Ecobee, because it resembles more of a glass touch screen panel than your traditional thermostat. The panel is stylish and simple to use. This is one of the first smart thermostats directed at not only smart home consumers, but also for companies interested in developing a smart office. The touchscreen allows for the person to adjust temperatures for a variety of rooms in your home or office space.
The GLAS claims to save energy costs and monitor air quality indoors or outdoors of everyday space.
The sensors in the thermostat can detect if an individual is in the room or not, and will automatically adjust your temperature based on environment and preferences in real time. It can also keep you aware of the best schedule and important appointments on your calendar. You can control it via Cortana virtual assistant, smart phone app, or touch screen.
Microsoft’s release of the GLAS thermostat is not a move meant to make them relevant in the smart home industry.
It is a decision meant to expand beyond the home and into an untapped market – large scale businesses. Since the smart home market has been oversaturated with other smart thermostats, the GLAS is making its entrance into a new market that is lacking. Microsoft rolling out their range of smart products behind other tech giants isn’t so they can just keep up with the status quo – it is so they can prove that their products are capable of disrupting an up and coming market. Third-party partnerships have helped companies like Amazon rise to the top of the smart home industry. With Microsoft already establishing partnerships with Harman Kardon and Johnson Controls, their Cortana skillset can be a threat to top competitor Amazon’s Alexa for breaking into the office space.
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