Microsoft is working with e-commerce behemoth Amazon to improve Alexa and Cortana cross-platform communication.
Microsoft and Amazon executives used Microsoft’s Build 2018 conference in Seattle to demonstrate how future users will be able to access either Cortana or Alexa through their Cortana-enabled or Alexa-enabled devices.
For example, Megan Saunders — Microsoft’s general manager for product development on 3D for Everyone — used Alexa on an Amazon Echo to call up Cortana.
Using Cortana on the Echo, Saunders was able to check her schedule and even send an email to a colleague.
Later, Tom Taylor — Amazon’s senior vice president of Alexa — used Cortana on his Windows desktop to call up Alexa.
Using Alexa on his Windows desktop, Taylor was able to arrange an Uber pick-up to go to a restaurant. Taylor also used Alexa on his Windows PC to turn off pre-programmed on-stage lights.
While the demonstration was certainly impressive, Saunders pointed out that this is a “first step in a longer journey as intelligent friends — both in the real and the ambient worlds.”
The Cortana-Alexa communication is currently in a limited beta, but interested users can visit this website to receive notifications and updates about the project’s development.
Microsoft and Amazon first announced this digital assistant partnership in August 2017.