Microsoft's vision for the smart home is finally taking shape. Following a demonstration of how its Cortana virtual assistant would work in cars and living rooms last May, the company just revealed it's working on a smart thermostat called GLAS. The device was built by Johnson Controls and is powered by Microsoft technologies like its Azure cloud platform, Cortana voice helper and Windows IoT core, a version of Windows 10 that's optimized for smaller devices. The company unveiled GLAS in a new YouTube video that offers a brief overview of what it's up to. Contrasted with rivals like the Nest Learning Thermostat and Honeywell Lyric, both of which have round shapes that resemble more traditional thermostats, GLAS appears to be a sleek, transparent touchscreen mounted on a wall.
Google welcomed Honeywell into the Home family as a partner back in January, but now it's finally including both of the company's connected thermostat families, the Lyric and Total Connected Comfort. Users can control them using either Home's voice controls or through Google Assistant on an Android device. That adds to the thermostats' existing integrations with connected platforms, including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings and user-customized IFTTT functionality.
Microsoft continues to put its artificial intelligence, Cortana, in everything as part of a larger effort to make everyday products more connected and easier to use. The company teamed up with popular thermostat maker Johnson Controls to create GLAS, a sleek new touchscreen wall thermostat that promises to do much more than just turn up the heat. Microsoft debuted the smart control center with a slick video, showing off the device's gorgeous interface. The touchscreen unit can supposedly sense when people are in the room, automatically change settings for energy savings, provide daily reports about air quality, keep track of your calendar and more. GLAS will run on the Windows 10 IoT Core OS, which is made specifically for smart devices.
The GLAS smart thermostat is the most beautiful smart thermostat to hit the market since Nest shook the industry out of its complacency back in 2011. And just like Nest before it, GLAS manufacturer Johnson Controls has taken an approach no other thermostat maker has to date: It has embraced Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant. Few would argue that the GLAS isn't beautiful. The device is dominated by a 5-inch translucent OLED touchscreen that's mounted to a small base housing the brains of the unit and its connections to your HVAC system. Unlike most other thermostats, which have their wiring connections on a backplate that the display half attaches to, the GLAS's wiring is accessed from the front, hidden by a removable panel.