At BMW’s annual ‘Innovation Days’ event in Chicago yesterday, BMW announced it will expand its connected car services, which already include Office 365, to include Skype for Business, making Skype meetings available in car. This functionality will be integrated and operated via BMW’s iDrive system. The services will be offered in Germany, France and the UK, with other markets coming soon.
“In today’s always-on culture, people need to be productive from anywhere – including their cars,” said Ulrich Homann, distinguished architect for the cloud and enterprise, at Microsoft. “Commute times are reaching record highs and people work from a variety of locations. This means that people need a way to capitalise on time spent in their cars. At Microsoft, we believe that cars should be more than just a ride, and also be a personal office on wheels, helping people be productive and giving them time back to enjoy their lives. Our partners at BMW share that philosophy and have positioned the company for a future where the nature of work is more mobile.”
There are more than 100 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365. Homann says that many of those businesspeople use Skype for Business to facilitate meetings and calls at work. “Using those services on the go will be even easier with BMW’s cars that have the ability to alert the driver of upcoming meetings, give a heads-up that a meeting has been rescheduled, or offer to start the next meeting without the need to dial a phone – a task no one should be doing while driving,” he explains. “Microsoft Exchange will also integrate calendars, to-do lists and contacts using the car’s voice and navigation systems.”
Dieter May, BMW senior vice president for Digital Products and Services, said: “With BMW Connected we offer a wide range of digital services designed to help users with their daily mobility needs inside and outside of the car. We seek to continuously extend and enhance the customer experience with regard to all aspects of their mobility. The integration of productivity features in-car (like Exchange and Skype for Business) and personalised and contextual services will help customers with their day-to-day work and planning while they are on the road.”
By adopting Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity tools, including Microsoft Exchange and Skype for Business, BMW will give its drivers a new way to securely and safely extend their daily digital lives across their homes, their cars and workplaces. “At Microsoft we aim to help automakers create connected car solutions that fit seamlessly with their brands and address their customers’ unique needs, and our partnership with BMW is a shining example of what’s possible,” Homann concludes.