Microsoft outlines how Cortana proactive actions will help developers connect to users

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Just when you thought one of the best personal assistants in technology couldn’t get better, Cortana learns a new trick. With nearly 1,000 experts creating voice commands, Cortana is an evolving tool that allows users to engage easier with their apps. It was just a few days ago that we learned the Windows 10 Anniversary update would add the new “Find My Phone” to her list of features.

This month, the Windows Apps Team has announced a new way for Cortana to drive higher engagement through proactive actions. Their newest blog explains just how easy it is for developers to implement the new feature. Registering proactive actions requires no new code to add for existing deep-linked apps or websites.

When Cortana has an insight into a user’s situation based on their context or intent, she will perform an action. Actions are built by developers that will allow Cortana to respond to the user’s text or voice by activating the developer’s app or website. Bots are intended to be added in the future.

For example, if your app helps the user with everyday events such as ordering food, sending messages, or paying bills, you will be able to build proactive actions to respond to the user’s schedule, text messages, and locations.

What do you need to become an expert?

    1. Request an invitation to the developer preview.
    2. Register your actions with Cortana in the developer portal. Specify your own action or select one of the predefined actions.
    3. Map your action to one or more insights. Look at the listed insights and ask yourself if you can provide value to the user when that occurs. Choose the appropriate insights.
    4. Identify the contextual information you want to request from Cortana. With the user’s consent, Cortana can share information in the user’s Notebook, calendar, and location.
    5. Specify the deep link. Provide the URL of your existing deep-linked Windows 10 app, Android app, and website that Cortana should invoke.

Once your actions are registered, Cortana will know exactly when and how to react. Registered proactive actions will be available across Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile and Android currently, but will move forward with releases in Skype, iOS, and more opportunities. Experts are already creating proactive actions for food ordering, home automation, playing music, social media, and messaging.

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