Microsoft and BMW announced today that they are bringing Skype for Business to the BMW 5-series, in France, Germany, and the UK first. The vehicles have offered access to other Office 365 services since December 2016.
“In today’s always-on culture, people need to be productive from anywhere – including their cars,” Microsoft’s Ulrich Homann explains. “Our partners at BMW share that philosophy and have positioned the company for a future where the nature of work is more mobile.”
“With BMW Connected we offer a wide range of digital services designed to help users with their daily mobility needs inside and outside of the car,” BMW senior vice president Dieter May adds. “We seek to continuously extend and enhance the customer experience with regard to all aspects of their mobility. The integration of productivity features in-car (like Exchange and Skype for Business) and personalized and contextual services will help customers with their day-to-day work and planning while they are on the road.”
BMW announced the expansion of its support for Office 365 services as part of its BMW Innovation Day. But I don’t write a car blog, so I’ll stick to the Microsoft stuff.
Microsoft and BMW partnered on a new initiative called Open Mobility in 2016; this is the platform on which BMW Connected runs. For its part, Microsoft contributes Azure-based capabilities that power BMW’s mobile companion app. And BMW is one of the first automakers to integrate Office 365 services into its vehicles, starting with the new 5-series in late 2016.
To date, those services have included Exchange Online integration, so that drivers could be alerted about upcoming events and their to-do lists, and access their contacts lists for calls (using their voice). But with Skype for Business integration, BMW 5-series drivers will now be able to connect to meetings, and even start meetings, right from their cars.
“By adopting Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity tools, including Microsoft Exchange and Skype for Business, BMW will give its drivers a new way to securely and safely extend their daily digital lives across their homes, their cars and workplaces,” Homann writes. “At Microsoft we aim to help automakers create connected car solutions that fit seamlessly with their brands and address their customers’ unique needs, and our partnership with BMW is a shining example of what’s possible.”
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