Cortana Skills Kit Now In Developer Preview
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 11 May 2017

At BUILD2017, its annual developer event, Microsoft has unveiled a raft of new skills for Cortana created by a range of partners and announced that the Cortana Skills Kit is now available for all developers.



Developers have already created more than 10,000 skills for Alexa, Amazon's voice controlled agent so Cortana has a lot of catching up to do. On the other hand, given that Cortana is already has over 141 million monthly active users and can be used not only on Windows 10 but also an Android and iOS and standalone devices, there is a much larger potential market. This is particularly so given another statistic from BUILD - that Windows 10 is now on half a billion devices, all of them equipped with Cortana.




The Harmon Kardon Invoke, the first standalone device for Cortana, was announced just ahead of BUILD 2017 and will be available later this fall. It is Microsoft's equivalent of the Amazon Echo or Google Home and will allow you to voice control your music and smart home as well as get answers and assistance from Cortana, though it has the additional feature of being able to make and receive voice calls with Skype. Microsoft has also announced partnerships with HP and Intel to integrate Cortana into devices and provide reference platforms respectively. Recent leaks referring to Microsoft HomeHub as an upcoming Windows 10 feature also suggests that IoT is a potential future are where we can expect Cortana to be playing a role.

Microsoft partners have already created many of the obvious must-have skills, such as booking a restaurant reservations, ordering a Domino's pizza, playing TuneIn radio.




However the 49 skills currently available as an early preview represent just the tip of the iceberg. Now up to developers to come up with more.


According to Microsoft, the Cortana Skills Kit will allow developers to:


  • Leverage bots created with the Microsoft Bot Framework and publish them to Cortana as a new skill

  • Integrate their web services as skills and re-purpose code from their existing Alexa skills to create Cortana skills

  • Connect users to skills when users ask, and proactively present skills to users in the appropriate context

  • Personalize their users' experiences by leveraging Cortana’s understanding of users' preferences and context, based on user permissions

Although the Cortana Skills Kit is billed as "in public preview now" attempts to get started with it have resulted in being told to expect an update about its availability.





More Information

Cortana Dev Center 

Cortana Skills

Related Articles

The State Of Voice As UI

Conversation and Cognition at Build 2016

Google Assistant SDK Released

Google Home Your Personal Assistant

Amazon Opens Up Alexa To Developers and Third Parties

Amazon Echo Show - Voice Done Right

Amazon Lets Us All Use Lex To Build A Bot

Alexa Skill Builder Beta 


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 May 2017 )