BMW is continuing to develop new options along with partner Microsoft, bringing business productivity to its vehicles. The latest development will bring Skype for Business to its infotainment features, making it possible for users to connect to Skype meetings in the car.
The Skype integration will be integrated into BMW’s iDrive system, and will allow users to join online meetings directly, as well as receive alerts about upcoming meetings, get alerts when meetings are changed, and start meetings automatically without requiring a driver to do any manual dialling in. Exchange customers will also be able to integrate their calendars, to-do tasks and contacts with vehicle voice and navigation services, according to Microsoft.
The services will initially be rolled out in Germany, France and the UK, with BMW then looking to expand it to other markets. This partnership also lays the groundwork for long-term collaboration on in-car experiences that could become much more far-reaching when autonomous vehicles become commonplace. Audi already announced it would be bringing Level 3 autonomy to production vehicles next year, which means they’ll be times during driving when a driver can focus on other tasks – including productivity.
At the same time, the move is an interesting one but it can also be seen as a prime example of the delicate balance car-makers and connected service providers need to tread when satisfying customer demand for more smart vehicle features, but also focusing on keeping distractions to a minimum.
These types of partnerships are part of a more general move towards autonomous cars and we can expect more such partnerships to emerge laying the groundwork for deeper integrations in a self-driving future.