Make Phone Calls with Cortana on the Harman Kardon Invoke

Here’s a look at how to make hands-free phone calls with the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker powered by Cortana.

A benefit of having a smart speaker in your home is the ability to make hands-free phone calls (provided the speaker is within earshot). You can do this by using your connected phone’s contacts or speaking the number directly. This can be especially handy if you’re busy in the kitchen or can’t find your phone. Another benefit is the call is made over your Wi-Fi network and not your mobile phone – which is nice if you’re on a plan with limited minutes.

We have shown you how to make phone calls with the Google Home speaker powered by Google Assistant, and how to make phone calls with an Echo powered by Alexa. Today we’ll take a look at doing the same with the Invoke smart speaker powered by Microsoft’s Cortana.

Make Phone Calls with Cortana on Harmon Kardon Invoke

In addition to Skype-to-Skype calls, with the Invoke, you can make free outbound calls to mobile and landline numbers based in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The person or specific business you want to call needs to be on your Skype contacts list. You can add a new contact to Skype via the desktop or mobile app.

You can add phone numbers to your Skype contacts by going to Contacts > Add Contact > Save a Phone Number.

Once you have your Invoke set up, you can say “Hey Cortana, call Steve” and Cortana will respond by asking if you want to call him via Skype or his Mobile, and you go from there. Like the other smart speakers, the phone number from the Invoke will be something that’s unrecognizable to the person you’re calling.

Similar to other smart speakers, typically the person you want to call needs to be in your contacts, however, you can also use the Invoke to call local businesses. You can say something like “Hey Cortana, call the local drug store” and hope Cortana picks the closest one. It’s the same type of experience that Google Home provides. Check out the following video from Microsoft that shows a situation where you might use Cortana from the Invoke to order Chinese food.

The audio of the call on both ends isn’t always the best by any means. There is definitely that “speakerphone” quality of the call and it’s sometimes hard to make out what the person is saying. But that will vary depending on the speaker’s placement, ambient noise in the room, and the Wi-Fi connection. The Invoke is comparable to Google Home and Echo when it comes to hands-free calling. But the Google Home seems to work better with location-based calling when you’re trying to find nearby businesses. Also, sending messages from the other two devices is much easier.

Do you own any of the major smart speakers? Leave us a comment below and tell us which one you use and what you like about it.

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