Yes, you read that right. For the first time ever, the two voice assistants that have been rivals since launch have come together to work as one. Starting later this year, users will be able to access Alexa via Cortana on Windows 10 PCs, followed by Android and iOS. The vice-versa is also true; that is, you can access the cortana from Amazon Smart speakers.
Microsoft gave two case scenarios to better explain this collaboration. Say you are at work, and you receive a text from your partner saying, “We’re running low on diapers.” In the future, on your Windows 10 PC, iPhone or Android phone, you could simply say, “Hey Cortana, open Alexa,” and ask Alexa to order diapers using your preferred payment method for your Amazon account.
What if you’re making breakfast in the morning and need to know if you have enough time to drop off the dry-cleaning before work? On your Alexa device, you can say, “Alexa, open Cortana,” and ask when your first meeting is. If you won’t have enough time, simply ask Alexa to open Cortana again and set a reminder for the end of your workday to drop off the clothes.
This collaboration will make the two companies a force to reckon with in the race of voice assistants. Google assistant and Apple’s siri will have a tough time going against cortana-alexa. The world is moving towards an era of IoT (Internet of things), whereby electronics and other items will be smart and connected in a way that they can communicate with each other and to their users. Voice assistants will be the channel to facilitate this communications and 5G will be the infrastructure that pushes this IoT to its full potential. Alexa and cortana could not have collaborated at a better time.
“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us. Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.” Said Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.