Key automotive players choose Microsoft technology

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 06 January 2016
Key automotive players choose Microsoft technology

In a new blog post, Peggy Johnson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of global business development, outlines the increasing number of automotive manufacturing companies that are turning to Microsoft as their connected car partner.

“When Microsoft talks about mobility, our interest is the mobility of the person, not of any single device. After all, people now want their technology experience to move with them, from place to place and device to device, at home, at work, and on the move. Nowhere is this more evident than in today’s connected cars,” Johnson explains. “People expect their car’s computing power to match its horsepower. And automakers are leading the way, bringing mobility solutions to their cars to meet drivers’ changing expectations, as well as enhance safety. These automakers see their cars as technology platforms, and they are choosing Microsoft as their partner.”

According to Johnson, automakers are choosing Microsoft because it delivers end-to-end solutions from the cloud, to the device, to predictive analytics, and does so in a way that allows all its partners to innovate on top of their existing systems. “Nobody else offers this breadth and depth to the auto industry,” she says.

At the International CES in Las Vegas, Volvo Cars, Nissan, Harman and IAV announced new details about their partnerships with Microsoft to enhance their connected car strategies. They join Toyota, Ford, Qoros, Delphi, and other companies already working with Microsoft to bring their cars into the mobile-first, cloud-first world.

“In the near future, the car will be connected to the internet, as well as to other cars, your mobile phone and your home computer,” Johnson says. “The car becomes a companion and an assistant to your digital life. And so our strategy is to be the ultimate platform for all intelligent cars.”

At CES, Microsoft and its partners will demo a variety of mobility solutions available today and reveal new prototypes. It will show how ways people can be more productive in their cars, how cars can monitor what’s happening in their surroundings to improve safety, and how cars can adapt to unique users to deliver a more personal driving experience.

Volvo Cars will showcase new concepts that integrate Microsoft Band 2 with a Windows 10 smartphone and the Volvo on Call Universal App, creating new ways for customers to interact with their vehicles. From the new Microsoft Band, a Volvo owner can press and hold the action button and say, “Volvo, start the heater of my car,” among many other options.

Harman will announce a collaboration with Microsoft that will integrate Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite capabilities into Harman infotainment systems. Drivers will be able to access Office 365 services and interact with them through intelligent personal assistant software to schedule meetings, hear and respond to important emails, and make Skype calls when in park, or when on the road in autonomous vehicles.

IAV will use Windows 10 Continuum to stream Windows 10 via a mobile device directly to a car’s dashboard, giving drivers access to Windows 10 features and apps such as Cortana, Skype for Business, Calendar, Outlook and Groove Music while the vehicle is in autonomous driving mode or parked. This integration allows drivers to use the devices they already own. Microsoft and IAV will also demo how to use Cortana Analytics and data from a vehicle’s surroundings to improve safety by anticipating and mitigating potential vehicle and pedestrian accidents.

In addition, Nissan Motor Company and Microsoft will announce that all Nissan LEAF and Infiniti models in Europe will have Connect Telematics Systems (CTS) powered by Microsoft Azure.

“Automakers are choosing Microsoft as their connected car partner to help them transform the consumer experience with a platform for intelligent cars that complements their own strategies and ambitions,” Johnson concludes. “With this partner focus, we’re able to leverage our cloud-based intelligence technologies, productivity services and tools, and even personal assistant technologies like Cortana in a neutral manner.

“To us, partnerships are a path to innovation. We are partnering to build mutual value, not to compete. The value of a true partnership comes when we’re able to help automakers accelerate their mobile and cloud strategies and unlock new experiences for consumers, like no one else can.”

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