There has been speculation for months about where Microsoft is going to take Cortana in the very competitive speech recognition and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Market. Amazon Echo the market leader using their device as an extension of their website and to better serve content consumption from their customer’s purchases have been out on the market and generating revenue. Google Home trailing second have already built and sold the brand using the product to collect search results and sell their products and services. Surprising Apple has yet to get into the market as they kicked off the push for voice commands with Siri on the iPhone.

Microsoft with the huge Windows 10 push has managed to try and put Cortana on every desktop. But is the desktop a place where voice recognition and AI will have much growth. I know many users of Amazon Echo but I do not know many users that use Cortana on the desktop. When you think about Cortana on the desktop it makes a lot of sense I mean you can harness the power of your desktop by enabling Hey Cortana but I don’t see many people that do this. To enable Hey Cortana is simple

  1. Press the Windows key + S simultaneously to open Cortana.
  2. Click the Notebook button. It’s the little notebook icon underneath the house icon on the left side of your screen.
  3. Click on Settings.
  4. Click on the On/Off switch underneath the Hey Cortana heading.

I like the fact that on my desktop I can Hey Cortana and say something like play music and it will pull up groove while I am in the middle of typing something. You can pull up Google in a meeting just by saying Hey Cortana open Google. I think these are valuable assets and tools for the workplace like Calendar management with Office365, package tracking and weather information can he harnessed with just one question right from a user’s desktop increasing their productivity using technology.

Microsoft has started to put a plan in motion for Cortana outside the desktop environment. A recent design change to the Cortana on the iOS app and now a recent discovery in the developer’s update has shown their plans for a Cortana speaker. The Herman Kardon Speaker is set to be powered by Cortana as well.

If Microsoft has plans for a Cortana speaker why are they still slow to integrate their own services into Cortana. At times, it looks like Microsoft was going to position themselves with making Bing the default search engine for Cortana then nothing was ever done. Cortana has gotten minor updates like a To Do List feature and reminders improvements over several months but it’s still lacking as a personal assistant. I would have thought with the developer’s update and the addition of Edge eBook reading allowed that a feature in Cortana would be book reading like the Amazon Echo does on both Audible and Kindle books. With the developer’s update and improvements to Cortana on the desktop, the edge browser itself can read your books, but you can’t activate the feature with Cortana. Microsoft has music support for Cortana with Groove but their userbase with that product is low.

I think Cortana could be a great personal assistant for the workplace if Microsoft could get the adoption into business and add more work-related features to Cortana I think they are on the right track but need more factuality. I think were Amazon and Google aimed their product at the home market Microsoft could dominate in their top market share the business market using Cortana.