Skype, Alexa & Co. – this awesome new BMW is fully digitalized

July 18th, 2017 / Editor: MBF Editorial Team

Representatives of the international press as well as some bloggers could get a picture of the latest technological innovations in the area of interconnectedness and digital media at the “BMW Innovation Days 2017” in Chicago this week. Does a completely connected car even make sense? We took a closer look at the car of the future and will sum up the most important aspects.

BMW set the goal of being one of the first automobile manufacturers worldwide to fully integrate their vehicles into their clients’ digital world. An international team of 150 people in the BMW Tech Office in Chicago as well as further technology offices in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Mountain View are working on the implementation of this forward-looking vision.

 

Just a short background information (because we consider it interesting): As Dieter May, Senior Vice President Digital Products and Services stresses, in Chicago BMW employees from the departments product management, marketing, software development, design, operations and analytics are in a start-up atmosphere working together to realize a smooth implementation of all digital touchpoints of the client into the vehicles of the manufacturer – the most important aspect herby is a perfect user experience. Until now iOS and Android smartphones, Apple watch, Samsung Gear and Amazon Echo are integrated – “Hey Alexa, where is my car?”

The new BMW 530e (Picture: BMW)
BMW Connected+ offers new services from July 2017

But what does that mean for the consumer? As BMW stresses, BMW Connected+ is intended to enrich the driver’s digital experience through a high degree of personalization and an increased, smooth integration of the equipment into the vehicle. Put into practice, this means that appointments and addresses from an iOS or Android smartphone can be synchronized automatically with the car’s internal calendar or directory.

 

The car will then via an app automatically remind the driver of the appointment and propose an appropriate departure time, according to the current traffic situation. At the same time, it checks the car’s tank for gas, reminds the driver to depart earlier– if necessary – and proposes a gas station on the way. Summarized, this means that you can always keep an eye on your car as well as your private and working life.

 

Another useful feature: Thanks to BMW Connected+ BMW drivers are able to send their location and approximate arrival time to their contacts via SMS (the contact can even receive a personalized link which shows the BMW’s location on a map).

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BMW Open Mobility Cloud as a basis for Connected+

The automobile manufacturer’s goal is to make the car of the future a smart device -you heard right, a smartphone on four wheels. For this purpose, BMW Connected provides features to support the customers’ daily mobility needs on several touchpoints – be it smartphone, Amazon Echo or Google Maps. By this an completely connected world should be achieved, in which the vehicle is connected intelligently, integrated seamlessly, and individually adapted to the needs of each user.

The services offered by BMW Connected are made possible by the so-called Open Mobility Cloud which is based on the Microsoft Cloud and Azure data platform. A great advantage is that the powerful system is capable of processing data and information from various sources – Azure’s flexibility furthermore renders it possible to integrate further touchpoints and devices in the future.

 

A further advantage is the flexible scalability: According to BMW, within only 12 months BMW Connected was launched in 29 markets and the number of users passed the one million mark. However, this seems realistic since the automobile manufacturer for the first time (to our knowledge) offers a complete platform for a connected car.

The new BMW Connected App (Picture: BMW)
Skype on the go from autumn 2017

Maybe you already guessed – BMW and Microsoft are cooperating when it comes to Connected+. As Dieter May stressed at the joint conference with Microsoft in Chicago, Microsoft is a strong partner for BMW which is why the cooperation will be intensified and expanded in the future. The reasons for this decision are Microsoft’s security and scalability.

 

The idea behind this: The automobile manufacturer is aiming at becoming a pioneer in the field of automotive digitalization, as May sad himself: “With BMW Connected we offer a broad range of digital services that support the users with their daily mobility needs – inside and outside of the vehicle. With respect to all aspects of mobility we want to extend and optimize the user experience continiously.”

 

BMW already announced their next joint project: from autumn 2017 Skype for Business can be used in various vehicles. However, in the beginning, only voice calls will be possible, for the future the implementation of video calls is imaginable.

 

Background: Skype for Business is aiming at establishing itself as THE new PBX, especially in the business environment – no more landline, only Skype. As a subscription model it is especially targeted to businesses. We think that in this case the network coverage in Germany will decide on the success of this business model.

 

BMW and Microsoft therefore promise their clients more in-car flexibility and productivity, as May underlines: “The integration of productivity tools such as Exchange and Skype for Business assist users with their daily work and planning during the ride.” The bottom line is that it makes less sense for private users, but let’s just wait. If BMW (and Microsoft) establish themselves in this field, further “future mobility” solutions for end-consumers can probably be expected.

Source title image: chombosan / iStock

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