It turns out that Microsoft’s IoT strategy revolves primarily around the cloud as opposed to ‘things’. Microsoft Azure, and not their operating system, is what powers Kohler’s smart appliance platform, which is set to be unveiled at CES 2018.
Kohler, a designer of kitchen and bath products, is unveiling a voice-lighted mirror that uses Amazon’s Alexa.
Kohler Konnect, the company’s app, allows users to control their household IoT devices such as smart toilets, and kitchen faucets, and adjust the bathroom lighting. Their app also works with Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant. Cortana is not listed at all. Kohler Konnect is powered by Microsoft Azure, and allows for sophisticated task automation and tailored preferences.
Kohler Konnect is available on the official iOS and Android app stores, while the backend services run on Microsoft Azure IoT.
Kohler smart devices, including their smart toilet, faucet, and mirror, can be connected to users’ Wi-Fi and then to Microsoft Azure IoT Hub. The hub functions as a command centre through which you can issue commands and track various metrics like water usage and temperature. It’s possible we’re going to see Cortana being added to the list of supported voice assistants as time moves on.
Microsoft’s IoT strategy focuses on connected vehicles and smart home devices, and both are evolving along the same lines. Their old strategy used to revolve around ‘trying’, but those days seem to be long gone. Nowadays, it’s all about connecting cloud services like Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365 to devices like cars and appliances.