The concept behind a personal assistant is not only to make one’s life easier to manager, but to boost their productivity and make them more efficient in completing day-to-day activities. Along with the Windows Phone 8.1 update, Microsoft sought to grant Windows Phone user their own personal assistant in the form of Cortana.
Besides her witty personality, Cortana packs some pretty practical features that help people get through daily activities. Of particular note is Cortana’s ‘remind me’ and ‘people-based reminder’ features. Microsoft decided to focus on these types of features rather than the more gimmicky ones that the competition like to brag about, as these features are the ones that people will really come to appreciate with a digital personal assistant in the long run.
In a recent post from the Windows Blog, Microsoft detailed three ways in which Cortana make real life tasks easier. The first is of a father planning a birthday party for his son. “Simon” would first have Cortana schedule the party on a weekend, followed by asking her about what the weather is going to be like on said weekend. Bad news, rain, so he asks Cortana about indoor party games for kids. That’s done, next is the shopping list: Cortana! “Note: Cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, frosting, balloons, napkins, party favors,” which he then forwards to his wife who may check things off too. Finally, he creates a group of all the parents whose kids will be attending and has Cortana shoot them a message with the party details.
A second example is business-centric and revolves around “Isabella”, a freelancer of sorts. Upon opening her eyes in the morning, she asks Cortana to set the ambiance, in which the virtual assistant obliges via the Oni Light Control app for Windows Phone. She then asks Cortana to read her her latest appointments. Isabella gets a message from another freelancer, Jeff, who invites to a meeting with a client at a café. The message triggers a people-based reminder reminding her to forward Jeff the proposal she had prepared. Later that day, Cortana informs Isabella of the heavy traffic between home and the café, so she leaves a little earlier to make up time.
A third scenario follows Raul, who’s planning a trip to Thailand. He asks Cortana about the country and had her track it as a news interest, which informed him of the Ghost Festival that would be happening soon. Cortana notices his flight itinerary from his email and asks to keep track of that too, which he responds in the affirmative. He asks the virtual assistant to set an alarm a few hours prior to his trip to airport. Next day, he wakes to find that Cortana has compiled a travel planner for him, letting him know of his flight status, and the traffic conditions to the airport. She also informs him of the weather in Bangkok. Off to his vacation he goes!
Those are a few scenarios where Cortana can really come in handy in daily activities, but they are just scenarios, it would be great to know how useful Cortana really is to you. So do let us know in the comments below.Further reading: Cortana, Microsoft, Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8.1