Opening Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference in Orlando Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned BMW as one of the companies that has successfully and smartly created an digital assistant into its cars. Nadella offered some advice to companies looking to properly navigate the tech landscape: own the process, be original and choose your partners wisely.
BMW is using the Microsoft cloud and artificial intelligence tools to build the experience and allowing third-party digital assistants on the platform, like Amazon’s Alexa. Nadella said that BMW is doing the work in-house and controlling the development process.
“They’re not letting anybody else just disintermediate them,” Nadella said. “That’s really I think strategy at work. They’re going to allow access to Skype, they’re going to allow access to Cortana, they’re going to allow access to Alexa, but it’s all going to be under the terms of their brand experience. That to me is how every consumer brand needs to be thinking going forward to remain relevant.”
BMW announced last year that Microsoft’s Cortana artificial intelligence system will be part of its Connected Car vision. Cortana on BMW’s cars is available on the infotainment system which allows users to carry out almost all the tasks they can do with Cortana on their Windows 10 PC or mobile devices. Drivers are able to enable Cortana with their voice, just like they can on their PC, Xbox One, HoloLens, and mobile devices.
Some of the functions Cortana can do is allowing drivers to check out their schedule, add new reminders, manage their upcoming events, manage their to-do lists, get news or just perform Internet searches. random joke from the personal assistant.
What’s interesting though is the fact that Amazon and Microsoft have developed a unique relationship. They are collaborating in some places — like the integrations between the digital assistants Cortana and Alexa – while competing in others – cloud computing.