July 20, 2017 // 10:49 a.m.
Microsoft is putting its money where its mouth is in its attempts to break into the embedded computing space, announcing a partnership with Johnson Controls to put the Windows 10 Internet of Things (IoT) Core platform into a smart thermostat dubbed Glas.
Announced back in 2015, Windows 10 IoT Core is - as the name suggests - a cut-down version of Microsoft's flagship operating system designed for embedded devices in the Internet of Things spectrum. Although lacking a traditional graphical user interface or support for legacy applications, the platform is designed to be relatively lightweight and offer the comfortable familiarity of Windows application programming interfaces (APIs) along with tight integration into the company's Azure cloud computing platform.
Despite numerous initiatives designed to boost adoption, including making the platform available free of charge for single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi, commercial adoption of Windows 10 IoT Core has been slow-to-nonexistent. To address that, Microsoft has announced that has partnered with Cork-based Johnson Controls - best known for its founder, Warren S. Johnson, having patented the world's first electric room thermostat in 1883 - into a smart thermostat driven by its Azure-based Cortana voice-activated assistant platform.
Dubbed Glas, the thermostat is designed to compete with devices like the Google-owned Nest. As with its competitors, it's designed for aftermarket addition into existing home and office heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems, and has attractive design at its heart: the wall-mounted gadget features a translucent touch-screen interface, while commands can also be issued by voice for execution by Cortana. In addition to basic heating and cooling functions, the Windows 10 IoT Core-powered Glas also pulls in data about energy usage, air quality, and includes basic 'smart assistant' functionality including calendar notifications.
Sadly, neither Microsoft nor Johnson Controls has released the most important details of the device: Pricing and availability have yet to be confirmed. Microsoft has, however, published a video demonstrating the Glas thermostat in use.