This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is all about the connected car. Yesterday, it was a crazy electric concept car and Amazon coming to the car. Today, Microsoft is showing off its latest ambitions in the automotive space.
Microsoft announced a handful of partnerships that will bring its software to the car, including collaborations with Volvo, Nissan, Harman and IAV. The software giant wants to integrate products like Office 365 and the Microsoft Band 2 into the automotive experience.
In the most direct partnership, Volvo owners of the future will be able to use the Microsoft Band 2 to talk to their cars, setting up navigation points or warming the car up. The interaction is possible thanks to the Volvo on Call app for Windows 10 Mobile. The project builds on Microsoft’s existing partnership with the Swedish carmaker, which plans to bring a virtual showroom to the HoloLens.
For those looking to get some work done in the car, Microsoft is also partnering with Haman to put Office 365 in their in-car infotainment systems. Users will be able to schedule meetings, respond to emails and make Skype calls when in park or riding in an autonomous driving mode.
IAV is also getting in on the productivity game, using Windows 10 Continuum to stream content to a car’s dashboard. The integration brings Skype, Cortana and Groove Music to the entertainment system. IAV and Microsoft are also working on using Cortana Analytics to analyze data from a vehicle’s sensors to improve safety.
Nissan is also working with Microsoft to make driving better, using the Azure cloud to power its Connect Telematics Systems on all Nissan LEAF and Infiniti models in Europe.
Microsoft is moving beyond standard consumer electronics in its multiplatform Windows 10 push. But it’s not alone. While Microsoft used to power Ford’s in-car SYNC infotainment system, the Detroit automaker has worked with Blackberry’s QNX to improve SYNC in recent years. Yesterday, Ford announced it was adding support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and other syncing systems.
Apple and Google are both making pushes into the automotive world on their own as well, with Google publicly working on a self-driving vehicle, while Apple has been hiring Tesla employees to work on its own car.