The first week in January is always an exciting time. We not only usher in a brand-new year, but we get to showcase what’s new and exciting at the annual CES technology event.
This week’s CES 2017 marked a key milestone for Microsoft in terms of how we are taking the next step to further automotive innovation. We created a buzz at the show with the announcement of our new Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, aimed at helping automakers bring their connected car solutions to market in a faster, more streamlined, and differentiated way. Built on the Microsoft Azure cloud, this platform leverages the best of Microsoft technology, focusing on global scale and agility that gives automakers the flexibility they need to build a customized solution for their customers.
Available in public preview later this year, the platform brings Microsoft’s intelligent services in virtual assistants, business applications, office services, visual analytics, and productivity tools to the car to make drivers more safe and productive.
What’s so compelling about this is that it enables automakers to focus on creating powerful, brand-specific driving experiences, instead of spending valuable time, resources, and budget on building the connected car infrastructure. We’ve done that work for them. The Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform allows automakers to combine their data with our cloud-based tools and services to offer compelling capabilities to their customers, such as telematics and predictive services, productivity, advanced driver assistance systems support, and advanced navigation.
Because of our enterprise-grade security and rigorous commitment to compliance, Renault- Nissan announced it would be the first automaker to embrace our platform end-to-end. The company will power next-generation, connected services in eight million Alliance cars by 2020, with advanced navigation, predictive maintenance, and remote monitoring features—including the use of Microsoft Cortana to transform the in-car experience.
Driving industry leadership
This is an exciting step in our connected car journey with automakers. And, really, when you look back, Microsoft has a long history of using the power of a hyper scale and trusted cloud to help automakers bring cutting edge innovations to the market globally, such as our strategic partnership with Toyota around next-generation telematics in 2011.
As the industry began rapidly evolving with things like changing customer expectations and the rise of the cloud, advanced analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other breakthrough technologies, manufacturers began facing more pressure than ever to offer technology features to attract the next generation of drivers. And that meant they needed to move from merely manufacturing and selling a car, to selling a mobility service, and an experience around that service.
It is our goal to be on the frontlines as a trusted partner to help automakers transform into a digital business by understanding and capitalizing on the new business opportunities, value-added services, and new revenue streams worth potentially billions of dollars that this massive transformation brings. And our differentiated platform not only helps automotive companies further their brands and strategies, but also enhance the driver experience as well, all while maintaining privacy and security of customer data. In fact, Microsoft is one of only a few companies with a global cloud that offers the highest levels of security, privacy and compliance in the industry required to support connected cars.
Over this last year, we have helped the world’s top automakers accelerate their digital transformation efforts including advancements to enable new business processes and new customer experiences. We have shown how we are helping to transform business models with Delphi Automotive and Scania, change experiences in the car with Qoros and Ford, reimagine the car-buying experience with Volvo Cars, and power new infrastructures to support the car with ABB.
At last year’s CES event, we were still in very much a visionary stage, working on the best way to add value to automakers and the industry. At that time, we showed how our partnerships with companies including Volvo Cars, Nissan, Harman, and IAV were changing the future of personalized experiences in the car through the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud, productivity tools, and personal computing technology.
Now, we are embarking on the next leg of this journey with new and expanded partnerships. Over the last year, we have been working with dozens of companies to understand their needs and direction and identify how Microsoft could help. During that time, we have continued to expand the connected car opportunity through partnerships with Toyota to multiple its mobile and data analytics capabilities through Toyota Connected; our work with Renault-Nissan to develop next-generation connected services for cars powered by Microsoft Azure; and our collaboration with BMW to enable the future of mobility with BMW Connected.
In fact, at this year’s CES, BMW showcased services that will allow drivers of future automated cars to optimize the way they plan their daily lives, featuring one of the first applications of Microsoft Cortana in the car as part of BMW Connected. And to jump-start a new era for in-car productivity, Volvo Cars just announced that it will be the first carmaker to introduce Skype for Business to its new 90 Series cars, which it demonstrated at CES 2017.
We are also on the cutting edge of what’s next for connected car innovation, including the explosion of location-based services, which open up a whole new world of value-added opportunities for automakers in terms of things like smart infrastructures. Just last month, we announced the work we are doing with our partners Esri, HERE and TomTom to pioneer intelligent location-based services across Microsoft services and technologies.
Microsoft’s unique approach
We believe that our approach to connected cars is unique, one that gives automakers customization and choice.
Unlike other companies, Microsoft is not looking to get into the business of manufacturing cars. Our strategy is to complement automakers, not compete. We are focused on empowering automakers to create their own unique connected car experiences using our productivity tools, intelligent cloud platform, and natural human-computer interaction capabilities.
Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for automakers to tap into new technology and bring about the mobility experiences of the future through scalable, agile and open connected car solutions. And that is now easier to do with our new Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform.
The automotive industry is ripe for disruption and we’re excited to be on the leading edge, working with partners to create value that best supports the customer and moves the industry forward.
Go here to read the details around our new Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform and learn more in our video below.