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Microsoft to help automakers develop connected cars

Many automakers that ushered in an era of incredible disruption nearly a century ago now face disruption themselves from four modern forces — connected, autonomous, shared and electric cars.

The infrastructure and scale required to build a connected car is incredibly complicated, expensive and resource intensive. It is a software challenge and the main obstacle is integrating the complex cloud technology required to deliver next-generation driving experiences.

Microsoft at the recently held Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas announced the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform; a set of services built on the Microsoft Azure cloud designed to empower automakers to create custom connected driving experiences.

This is not an in-car operating system or a “finished product” but a platform that starts with the cloud as the foundation and aims to address five core scenarios as key priorities: predictive maintenance, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, customer insights and help build autonomous driving capabilities.

Microsoft’s cloud will ingest huge volumes of sensor and usage data from connected vehicles, and then helping automakers apply that data in powerful ways.

It will be available as a public preview later this year, and bring Microsoft’s intelligent services into the car including virtual assistants, business applications, office services and productivity tools like Cortana, Dynamics, Office 365, Power BI and Skype for Business.

Today, the car is more than just a ride between two places — it is a hub of activity for daily life. People are looking to have truly connected experiences in their cars so that they can get more done, save time and make life easier.

While safety and security are baseline requirements, Microsoft’s services can help make a person’s work day more efficient. For instance, imagine that Cortana seamlessly connects us whether we are at home or in our car.

Let’s say is we are on our phone at home and tell Cortana to set up a meeting for us and our colleague the next morning at a coffee shop. The next time we get in our car, Cortana reminds us of the morning meeting and starts navigation to get that coffee shop.

Check out our video below to hear more about how the platform works and the benefits it offers to automakers and drivers.

Auto manufacturers embrace Microsoft’s technology

Microsoft said that their strength in building a global cloud at scale is the primary reason the Renault-Nissan Alliance becoming the first automaker to commit to the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform.

The partnership will allow the Renault-Nissan Allianceto power next-generation, connected vehicles with advanced navigation, predictive maintenance, remote monitoring of car features and more.

At the CES 2017 Nissan has demonstrated how Cortana can enhance a driver’s experience, and Azure offers the choice to build a common platform by supporting devices and vehicles that run on multiple operating systems, programming languages and tools.

This partnership builds on our recent momentum with other automotive companies, such as our announcement this past week with

Microsoft has also signed agreement with other automotive companies such as Volvo to integrate Skype for Business in Volvo’s 90 Series cars, which will enhance productivity and make joining conference calls from the car a cinch.

It also partnered with BMW on BMW Connected to develop a scalable platform based on Microsoft Azure technologies to deliver in-car productivity services through Office 365, as well as intelligent personal assistance for drivers.

Microsoft a partner instead of a competitor

Microsoft is not building its own connected car but helping automakers create connected car solutions that fit seamlessly with their brands, address customer needs, competitively differentiate their products and generate new and sustainable revenue streams.

Microsoft revealed that 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on its cloud, it provides the right tools and also allows them to keep their data, have a secure and compliant cloud platform, and operates at a truly global scale.

This will allow automakers and suppliers to benefit from the billions of dollars Microsoft has invested in the cloud. Azure offers more than 200 services available in 38 worldwide data center regions letting automakers focus on innovation rather than building their own cloud-based infrastructure.

Microsoft aspires to empower automakers for a fully autonomous driving with sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, as well as advanced mapping services.

Last month it announced that through new and existing relationships with TomTom, HERE and Esri to create intelligent location-based services across Microsoft.

Microsoft said that wherever there is a “connected signal” it wants to be the partner that can help its customers improve people’s lives — on the road, in the cloud and everywhere in between.

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