Ola partners with Microsoft for connected vehicle platform

Ola partners with Microsoft for connected vehicle platform

Ride-hailing company Ola on Tuesday announced its partnership with Microsoft for building a new connected vehicle platform for car manufacturers worldwide.

As part of this strategic partnership, Ola announced that Microsoft will be a preferred cloud provider and will use Microsoft Azure to power Ola Play, the company's existing connected car platform.

According to an analyst, the partnership is seen as Microsoft's game plan to take a small stake in ANI Technologies Private Limited, which runs Ola. "Even though deal size is not declared, as part of the strategy Ola switched to Microsoft's Azure cloud platform from Amazon Web Services (AWS)," the analyst said.

In a statement, Ola stated that this partnership will transform driver and passenger experiences with vehicle diagnostics, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, predictive maintenance of vehicles and more.

"At the heart of this partnership is Ola Play, the world's first connected car platform for ridesharing, that will leverage Microsoft AI and IoT to enhance driver experiences with telematics and navigation guidance; passenger experiences with cloud-based infotainment and productivity; and provide auto manufacturers with custom digital experiences for their customers," states the company.

Launched in late 2016, Ola Play, in a short span of time has transformed the in-car experience for millions of Indians. Ola Play customers will be able to use productivity tools such as Office 365 and Skype for Business, as well as voice-assisted controls built using Microsoft Cognitive Services and Bot framework, in-car during their rides.

The advanced telematics platform will transform the car into a high-performing, intelligent vehicle, capable of assessing fuel efficiency, engine performance, and driver performance. It will also enable smarter navigation and predict breakdowns, enhancing safety and security while creating new business models and opportunities.

Commenting on the partnership, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said today's car is quickly becoming the ultimate computing device.

"Together with Ola, we're focused on providing more intelligent, connected and productive experiences to our customers. The combination of Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and our AI platform with Ola Play will deliver new customer experiences and business opportunities across the automotive ecosystem," said Nadella.

Ola Co-Founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said globally, the auto industry is experiencing a seismic shift as the definition of automobiles is increasingly changing from gas-powered vehicles to technology-packed, connected devices.

"With Ola Play, we have already set the tone for connected vehicles in India. Together with Microsoft, we can make the new platform available to a larger, global audience and unlock futuristic experiences for customers worldwide," he said.

The platform is designed to continually collect, analyze, and learn from high volumes of data and user behaviour. This will allow for customised offerings to shape the nature of services and business models, such as usage-based insurance, amongst others. Microsoft and Ola also plan to build superior safety features and advanced driver assistance services, as well.

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