Microsoft and Johnson unveil GLAS, a Cortana-enabled smart thermostat

For many, using voice commands has become one of the go-to ways to control your home and set the perfect temperature. Now Microsoft has teamed up with Johnson Controls to create GLAS, one of the first Cortana-enabled smart thermostats. With a translucent touchscreen display and presence detection sensors, you’ll want to head below to see how it stacks up against other IoT thermostats.

Right off the bat, you’ll probably notice the GLAS thermostat differs in shape from the other connected temperature controllers on the market. So rather than the circular or hub-like designs of the Nest and Ecobee4, Microsoft has chosen to opt for a more sleek approach. Defined by a single translucent touchscreen display, the thermostat doesn’t sit flush with the wall, but protrudes from a sloped, metal base. The display allows you to monitor energy usage and air quality, view routines and adjust room temperature settings.

While it may break the mold in the looks department, the GLAS thermostat packs just about all the functionality you’d find in competing devices, and then some. Running Microsoft’s Windows IoT Core operating system, it offers digital control of your home’s AC system, as well as automation based on monitoring indoor and outdoor temperature and air quality.

With built-in presence detection sensors, GLAS has the ability to notice whether or not a room is occupied and adjust settings accordingly.  The thermostat also sports unique Cortana voice controls, which allow you to use Microsoft’s digital assistant to blast the air conditioning or pump up the heat. All of these features are geared towards helping you cut down on energy consumption by adjusting settings based on room usage and more. With so much of our home’s power usage stemming from heating and cooling, Microsoft seems to have positioned the GLAS as a way to help combat one’s rising energy bills.

As of now details on the GLAS thermostat’s pricing and availability are still fairly slim. There’s no word on when we may see the connected device, if at all, or how much it could run you upon making its way to store shelves. While the Cortana integration is great for fans of Microsoft’s assistant, most of the other features are available in some form or another from competitors. Other thermostats like the Ecobee4 already provide robust ways to monitor and cut energy costs through automating your home’s systems. And if you’re looking for built-in voice control, the Ecobee4 also sports native Alexa control.

Heating and cooling account for roughly 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most families. In the commercial building sector, the cost is approximately 40%. Johnson Controls, one of the leading providers of HVAC, Fire and Security systems in the world, is changing how spaces are viewed and controlled. As the inventors of the first thermostat, Johnson Controls has innovated once again with GLAS. Utilizing Windows 10 IoT Core, Cortana voice services, and Azure Cloud, GLAS is a simple to use, elegant thermostat that brings leading energy savings and air quality monitoring to everyday spaces. Johnson Controls is reinventing the thermostat and our lives.

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