Microsoft was one of the first to introduce a voice-assistant to as a how-to-guide in the nineties with its widely panned Clippy Microsoft Office aid. And now Microsoft wants to use Cortana as a virtual instruction manual for other devices per a filed patent first spotted by MSPoweruser. In the patent, Microsoft writes:
“At least some embodiments described herein relate to a digital assistance device that at least partially automatically sets up a device so as to operate within a system of one or more other devices. The digital assistance device at least partially automates the setup process that would usually come in a quick start guide. This is made possible by digitalizing the quick start guide so as to be at least partially interpretable by the digital assistance device.”
Microsoft wants to use Cortana to automate the setup process for a wide variety of devices, including appliances, laptops, desktops, mainframes, distributed computing systems, data centers and handheld devices according to its patent application.
Another Way Into the Consumer Home?
While it is unclear where Cortana would run this feature, I expect Microsoft will offer it through any Cortana-enabled device, which the company already claims has 145 million monthly active users. In addition to its large user base, Microsoft could leverage this new feature as a selling point to increase third-party integrations for its virtual assistant. As Voicebot Editor-in-Chief Bret Kinsella pointed out in a recent article, “Microsoft wants to have a presence throughout a person’s day and not just for business productivity. That means it needs presence in consumer devices in the home and on smartphones.” This new Cortana-as-an-instruction-manual feature could not only make it easier for consumers to get started with connected devices, but for manufacturers as well.