Earlier this year, German automotive giant BMW showcased its connected car vision, with Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana at the heart of the experience. Today, the two companies have announced an expansion of their collaboration.
BMW already uses Microsoft's Azure cloud technologies to power its BMW Connected companion through a jointly developed platform called Open Mobility. BMW's latest 5 Series cars, which launched in December, were among the first to integrate Office 365 services through Microsoft Exchange, for "drivers who already rely on Office 365 at work and want to extend the services to their car."
At BMW's annual Innovation Days event in Chicago today, it announced that it's expanding on that existing offering with the addition of Skype for Business, "making Skype meetings available in car." Skype for Business will be built into BMW's iDrive system, and will launch initially in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, "with other markets coming soon."
Microsoft explained today:
At Microsoft, we believe that cars should be more than just a ride, and also be a personal office on wheels, helping people be productive and giving them time back to enjoy their lives. Our partners at BMW share that philosophy and have positioned the company for a future where the nature of work is more mobile.
BMW isn't the only automaker to be working closely with Microsoft. In December, Volvo announced plans to bring Skype for Business to its 90 Series cars; and in January, Renault-Nissan embraced Microsoft's Connected Vehicle Platform.