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July 13, 2017

BMW, Microsoft drive Skype into new 5 Series

Car maker is planning to roll-out Skype for Business initially in the UK, France and Germany.

By Ellie Burns

Skype for Business is set to be integrated into BMW’s iDrive system in yet another new feature resulting from the on-going partnership between Microsoft and BMW.

New BMW 5 Series cars will let drivers take Skype meetings while on the road, with the system accessed via the built-in entertainment system.

The system will give drivers alerts and notifications regarding meetings, allowing them to dial-in without having to enter conference numbers manually.

In what is good news for BMW enthusiasts in the UK, the car maker is planning to roll-out Skype for Business initially in the UK, France and Germany before expanding the feature to other countries.

This is, of course, not the first Microsoft feature to be found in Beemers, with BMW having been one of the first car makers to offer Office 365 services in its cars.

Earlier this year, BMW also announced plans to integrate Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, into some of its cars. The integration, part of Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle plans, looked to allow drivers to access Cortana through a dashboard screen.

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Microsoft is not the only big tech vendor that BMW is working with as the car maker looks to upgrade its vehicles for the connected, driverless future.

IBM, for example, is a pilot partner for an open data platform that the car maker hopes will allow up to 8.5 million BMW customers to use third party services.

In addition to partnerships with the likes of Intel, BMW has also partnered with Google and Accenture on augmented reality.

The three companies worked together to build a demo which allowed users to place a full-scale, photorealistic, virtual version of BMW’s i3 and i8 models into a space. In what could prove to be the showroom of the future, the user can then walk around the car, inside it, and adjust various options such as the colour, type of rims, and interior design.

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