Microsoft is targeting the smart devices market with the announcement of the Cortana Skills Kit and Cortana Devices SDK.
The Cortana Skills Kit is designed to help developers leverage bots created with the Microsoft Bot Framework and publish them to Cortana as a new skill.
Cortana skills refer to the capabilities of the digital assistant, such as composing emails, adding entries to your calendar, or setting alarms, and traditionally has only worked with Microsoft products and services.
It also promises easier integration with web services as skills and enables the repurposing of code written for Amazon's digital assistant Alexa to create Cortana skills.
Microsoft hopes that this will connect users to skills when requested, and proactively present skills to users in the appropriate context.
Developers will also benefit from Cortana’s understanding of users’ preferences and context, based on user permissions.
While the Skills Kit will expand Cortana’s capabilities, the Cortana Devices SDK will enable Cortana to be embedded into more devices beyond the standard PC or mobile.
Following the company’s announcement last week that Cortana will be included in the IoT Core edition of Windows 10 Creators Update, the SDK will allow OEMs and ODMs to bake Cortana functionality into their platforms and products.
Microsoft said in a blog post that it is working with partners across a range of industries and hardware categories, including connected cars, and promises cross-platform support for Windows IoT, Linux, Android, and more.
The Cortana Devices SDK is currently in private preview, and will be available more broadly in 2017.