Skype for Business Comes to BMW 5-Series Cars

Posted on July 13, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365, Skype with 16 Comments

Skype for Business Comes to BMW 5-Series Cars

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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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Skype for Business Comes to BMW 5-Series Cars”

  1. bartender41

    Paul, do you own a BMW? If so, what year and model? I've seen/heard you mention them many times and I was always curious.

  2. rbgaynor

    I have no interest at all in car manufacturers doing this sort of integration. Give me a choice of Car Play or Android Auto and get out of the way.

  3. screen23

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  4. UK User

    In the UK we have enough problems with drivers not concentrating on the road because they are looking at their mobiles, yes there are hands-free but at the same time car drivers seem to have mind free when using mobiles, never mind being always on connected.

  5. leonzandman

    I'd say this is doomed to fail. Android Auto, Apple Carplay or some other future smartphone-based technology makes way more sense. Who wants slow performing, out of date hardware? And no or few (paid) updates?

  6. dcdevito

    I just got a bad vision of my boss's face popping up on my dash - ugh. UGH

  7. red.radar

    Why?! This seems so silly.


    If I want to skype my boss, I will use my cellphone and a hands-free set.


    To be honest, Car infotainment systems in general need to simplify. The screen needs to just be a remote display server for the phone. Compatible with Android and IOS. If the customer doesn't have a cellphone when purchasing the vehicle, then give them one. You are paying 10's of thousands for a new car. The dealer can through a cellphone into the package.


    these custom systems are like bad android skins. No one wants them. just give me a button to activate my phones digital assistant and a display to show notifications. My phone is updated every 2 years but my Car stays for 5-10. My 1st gen sync system in my truck is already a nuisance because how out of date it is. Part of the reason i got an Apple Watch. I can just activate siri on the watch and avoid the infotainment system all together (other than the bluetooth link for audio). Beauty of a smart watch and phone is when I drive a really old vehicle, it is now a smart vehicle.




    • wright_is

      In reply to red.radar:

      Exactly, the technology in the background of these devices changes every few months and after 18 months or so it is completely obsolete and you probably don't get any security updates or at least not in a timely manner.

      What will you do with your 10 year old BMW? You won't be able to turn the entertainment system on, because it will be p4wn3d before you can select which radio station you want to listen to...

  8. WayneRobinson

    I have one word for car infotainment systems: Continuum.

  9. wright_is

    I remember when driving a car was relaxing. You would get into the car at A and you were out of contact until you got to B. You could concentrate on the task at hand - driving the car safely.

    Today, there is no "downtime" and people are not in proper control of their vehicles, because they are being constantly interrupted. I miss the unconnected world.

  10. Stooks

    So putting the train wreck we call Skype into elegant and refined BMW 5 series is exactly what NOBODY asked for.

  11. Jeff Jones

    There's no way I would design a $50,000 product that was limited to Skype. If a car manufacturer is putting in chat software they need to develop a plugin system so people can run Skype, Hangouts, Apple crap, or whatever the latest and greatest happens to be.

  12. Wolf

    Crashing a car while texting is so yesterday. Now you too can join the elite and have all your friends and colleagues share in your crash event ... brought to you by Skype!

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