Here’s why the Cortana-powered Invoke speaker might not be a mere Echo knockoff

At its developer conference today Microsoft showed how its new Invoke smart speaker might become a productivity powerhouse, grabbing all sorts of Microsoft productivity tools and data via its Cortana brain.

In a demo, the Invoke speaker read off Microsoft’s Laura Jones’s daily agenda to start the day (at home). She accessed information on a new calendar appointment, then sent it out to her car’s infotainment system—another embodiment of the same Cortana brain—so that she could could continue working on it. There, she organized a Skype conference call, leveraging Microsoft’s Teams (like Slack) platform and data to find the right people to include. 
Cortana also informed her (and the other meeting attendees) that because of traffic she was likely to be late for the meeting. For the actual call she talked to Cortana to locate the right creative materials and other content to discuss during the meeting. She used an Adobe Creative Cloud bot to dial up some branding and packaging material to review. 

After the meeting was over, Cortana sent the users a summary of the meeting, the key points, action items, and even made notes of the meeting available in a variety of languages.