Microsoft is making a move into the smart thermostat category, a sector that is currently led by solutions like Nest and Ecobee, though it is not jumping in alone. The Redmond outfit has teamed up with thermostat maker Johnson Controls to build GLAS, Microsoft's first smart thermostat. It features Cortana integration and is powered by the Windows 10 IoT Core operating system and Azure Cloud computing services.
The combination of Cortana, Windows 10 IoT Core, and Azure Cloud gives GLAS some unique functionality, such as being able to detect when you're in a room and then adjust the temperature based on your preference. It also persistently monitors both indoor and outdoor air quality and intelligently changes its settings to run at peak efficiency and save energy whenever and wherever possible.
"Heating and cooling account for roughly 48 percent 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 percent," Microsoft states. "Johnson Controls, one of the leading providers of HVAC, Fire and Security systems in the world, is changing how spaces are viewed and controlled. As the inventors of the first thermostat, Johnson Controls has innovated once again with GLAS."
From what we can see of GLAS in an introductory video that Microsoft posted to YouTube, it is a gorgeous looking thermostat, for whatever that is worth. It has a touchscreen interface, and of course you can issue voice commands to Cortana, though Microsoft did not go into great detail here. However, it is a safe bet that Cortana will at least be able to recognize commands to raise and lower temperatures, and probably adjust schedules too.
The video also suggests that GLAS can be installed in a variety of places, whether it is in the home or at a business, even in an industrial setting. There are several shots of GLAS mounted to different wall types, including a brick wall. Unfortunately, Microsoft was mum on other details, such as how much GLAS will cost and when it will be available to purchase.