Helping automakers drive innovation through connected cars

 |   Microsoft IoT

Last year the average American spent more than 290 hours behind the wheel of a car – that’s roughly equivalent to seven 40-hour weeks – according to a report published by the AAA Foundation. When you expand that globally, the amount of time we spend driving is staggering. That’s why automakers like Renault-Nissan, Volvo, BMW and Toyota are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide new ways to help drivers stay safe, connected and productive during their time on the road.

By 2020, 90 percent of new cars will have connectivity capabilities1 and Microsoft is helping the automotive industry drive this transformation. Today at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, we announced the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, an offering built on the powerful Microsoft Azure cloud. It brings Microsoft’s intelligent services in virtual assistants, business applications, office services, visual analytics and productivity tools to the car, to reduce driver distractions and help drivers be even more mobile.

In her post on the Official Microsoft Blog, Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development, shared more about how Microsoft is helping auto makers, tier-one suppliers and the entire automotive ecosystem revolutionize their businesses while supporting better driving experiences for customers.

No other manufacturing industry has done more to embrace the value of partnerships in delivering great products and customer experiences than the automotive industry. Likewise, in the software industry, Microsoft has the heritage and longstanding approach to partnerships and ecosystems that make us a trusted technology partner with many organizations world-wide.

That’s why we are bringing our software and cloud expertise to the automotive industry.  Working hand in hand with the automakers we know and trust to build the cars we love, Microsoft is sharing our expertise in developing, supporting and maintaining IoT technologies. Rather than attempting to build our own connected car, we’re providing automakers with a platform that does the heavy lifting across multiple areas of connectivity – empowering customers and partners with the cloud-based tools to connect services and data together. This enables automakers to focus on what they do best: creating innovative vehicles that deliver better, safer driving experiences.

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Using Azure IoT Hub to communicate between the car and the cloud and services like Cortana Intelligence, the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform takes advantage of a set of core cloud services and productivity technologies that provide advanced navigation, predictive maintenance, remote monitoring of car features, in-car productivity and intelligent, personal assistance for drivers.

Renault-Nissan, which sells one in ten cars worldwide, is the first auto manufacturer to commit to the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform. They will be using it to power their next-generation connected services in their cars. These cars will offer advanced navigation and driver support using Cortana and will provide predictive maintenance assistance with remote monitoring of car features. During their CES keynote today, the company said they committed to the platform because of Microsoft’s flexibility, multi-OS and programming language support, enterprise-grade security and rigorous commitment to compliance.

Other automakers are embracing the platform as well. Microsoft is working with BMW on in-car productivity and an intelligent, personal driver assistant that can look at calendars, traffic, parking, routing and countless other factors to deliver more intuitive and seamless driving experiences. We’re also partnering with Volvo to integrate Skype for Business in Volvo’s 90 Series cars, and Toyota is using the platform to enable in-car services, personalized experiences, better safety, and smart city integration, among other scenarios.

The Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform brings together the best of Microsoft technology to provide a trusted, back-end foundation for the creation of innovative connected car solutions. It combines Microsoft’s IoT expertise with sophisticated machine learning, artificial intelligence tools, advanced mapping services and end-to-end analytics that provide greater insights into vehicle usage. It also enables the integration of productivity and digital life services that take advantage of familiar Microsoft products like Cortana, Dynamics 365, Office, Power BI and Skype for Business. And thanks to Azure’s global cloud infrastructure with 38 datacenters around the world, including China, the Microsoft Connected Vehicle platform provides global availability, along with robust security, compliance and privacy measures – ever-present concerns in a connected world.

To learn more about how the Microsoft Connected Vehicle platform is helping automakers, OEMs and other ecosystem partners drive business value while creating personalized, productive, safer and more focused driving experiences, check out the post on the Official Microsoft Blog and our new Empowering Automotive Innovation whitepaper. For more information about how Microsoft IoT can transform your business, visit

1 Telefónica, Connected Car Industry Report, 2014.

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