A new Microsoft patent reveals that the company is working on an autonomous smart home system for Windows devices.
According to technology news site Windows Report, this “multi-device cross-experience” will be powered by artificial intelligence. This allows connected hardware to communicate with each other via “advertisements” without direct user input. Advertising in this context does not refer to literal commercials, but rather to signaling. Gadgets on the system constantly communicate with each other and trigger actions when criteria are met. For example, an electric car may send a notification to the owner's smartphone or laptop letting them know that they have left the door open. Or you can transfer calls from one device to another.
As a side note, I'm not entirely sure why these submissions are called ads. Perhaps Microsoft is conjuring up images of ads constantly pumping information into the peripherals of this proposed smart home network.
Such technology already exists in some form. As Windows Report points out, Microsoft's system works similarly to his Qualcomm's Snapdragon Seamless and Samsung Galaxy Connected. These two are cross-platform networks, so named because they allow connected devices to seamlessly “discover and share information with each other.”
The main difference with Microsoft's version is that the aforementioned AI allows the system to “intelligently decide when to act.” The patent explains that AI allows network gadgets to send context-appropriate notifications to users. Additionally, you can determine if your scenario requires another device. Additionally, various connectivity standards are also supported. This includes, but is not limited to, Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi, cellular signal, and “even cloud connectivity.”
All of this has one major flaw. The patent authors state that this system requires a huge amount of power to operate. Since your device is constantly sending signals over the network, connecting it will quickly drain your battery.
It's unclear when, if at all, Microsoft's autonomous smart home system will be released. The technology appears to be in its infancy, but Windows Reports thinks it could be here soon. The publication claims that Copilot's recent introduction and the company's declaration that 2024 is his year of AI is a sign of what's to come. He also mentioned rumors that Windows 12 will include “groundbreaking AI.”
In our opinion, assuming new networks exist to begin with, we probably won't see them for a while. The existence of US patents suggests Microsoft is interested in the project, but many patents never see the light of day as commercial products. Additionally, although the document provides multiple examples of how the system works, it does not explain exactly how the system works.
If you're curious about what Microsoft is thinking, you can read this patent for free on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's official website. Please be careful as this is a fairly dense material.
If you're looking to make your home smarter, check out TechRadar's list of the best smart home devices of 2024.