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Insteon calls on Cortana to control the smart home

A promised update to Insteon's Windows Phone app will introduce voice controls for smart-home devices.


When Insteon announced that they were teaming up with Microsoft last May, it seemed like just a matter of time before Cortana would be calling the shots. Today, the California-based home-automation network is confirming the speculation, announcing that full, Cortana-powered voice controls will be making their way to Insteon's Windows Phone 8.1 app in the coming months.

Addressing Cortana as "Insteon," users will be able to tell the virtual assistant to do things like turn connected appliances on and off, blast the air conditioning, or run pre-programmed lighting scenes. Windows users are already able to monitor and control their Insteon devices directly from customizable Live Tiles on their phones, tablets, and PCs.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

The announcement comes just as Insteon is starting to sell its home-automation products and starter kits in Microsoft Stores across the US. Insteon products are also available online in places like Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Insteon is a fee-free home-automation network built around a dual-band connection that combines wireless mesh networking with existing power line connections. To date, Insteon's product line features over 200 smart-home devices, including sensors, switches, and cameras.

Insteon isn't saying exactly when the Cortana rollout will occur, except to promise it sometime within the next few months. This could set up for a bit of a showdown with Siri, as Apple is promising voice-control support for smart-home devices through HomeKit, set to be released this fall as part of iOS 8.