Check Your Mirrors and Your PowerPoint

Here is an example of teamwork at its best: last year BMW launched its Open Mobility Cloud, a kind of artificially intelligent personal assistant that uses predictive algorithms to provide information in its apps. This was based on Microsoft’s collection of integrated cloud-based services called Azure.

This collaboration resulted in BMW Connected, cloud-based software combined with an array of IoT (internet of things) sensors that connect drivers and their vehicles to other sensors in their homes, offices, or anywhere. BMW describes it as a tool “which facilitates everyday mobility and assists drivers in reaching their destinations relaxed and on time.” Using BMW Connected, for example, getting in your car to drive home after work might integrate traffic patterns, weather, your driving habits, even your home temperature controls so the climate will be warm and cozy when you arrive.

Later that year, BMW became one of the first automobile manufacturers to commercially offer Microsoft’s Office 365 in their vehicles, giving drivers the opportunity to access their subscription-and-cloud-based Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access applications. The icing on the cake came in July of this year when the duo teamed up to connect Skype to BMW’s iDrive LCD display.

BMW suggests that the purpose of the video-conferencing technology will give its drivers more free time as it helps drivers complete their work more efficiently while commuting. Microsoft piggybacks their claim by noting that commute times are reaching a record high and people need to capitalize on the time spent in their cars. The technology, by the way, requires an active Microsoft Office 365 account, and uses Microsoft Exchange to sync email, appointments, and contacts and seamlessly push the information to cell phones or computers when the destination has been reached. With no mention of driver safety, maybe these features will be more useful when driverless vehicles are abundant.

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