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Powering Connected Car Innovations With Cloud

by Sanjay Ravi - Sr.Director-Worldwide, Manufacturing-Microsoft August-2015

The connected-car experience is the future of the automotive industry. It's changing the relationship between automakers and their customers and offering new revenue streams for manufacturers. Information Handling Services estimates that by 2018, worldwide sales of In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems that help power the intelligent car will approach 80 million units annually, an increase of 50 million from today's level.

Traditionally, automakers knew who bought the car, but had no connectivity on the back end after the purchase, so there was no way to offer personalized services. Today, automakers are attempting to use the power of cloud computing, data analytics and intelligent devices to deliver personalized consumer experiences from anywhere.

However, many "Connected-Car" services are made up of dozens of hardware, software and services technologies, provided by a variety of technology partners. This makes it difficult for automakers to deliver a truly connected and intelligent car to their markets because these disparate technologies have to work together, and comply with industry standards and regulations.

Some tech companies sense this opportunity to popularize their own branded software and own the whole in-car digital experience from navigation to voice search and communications, media and safety. This puts automakers in a tough situation as they need to innovate and attract technology-savvy customers, but often don't have the proper IT infrastructure to support top-quality connected-car experiences.

Ideally, automakers will be able to use a data platform that is scalable, works with a variety of hardware, software and service vendors, and allows them to protect their brand and customer data.

Complete Technology Platform for the Automotive Industry

Microsoft is helping to fill that void. We are devoted to helping automotive companies use their brand and data to create new service-centered business models that give them ongoing relationships with customers. We are powering connected car innovations from the cloud platform, to data analytics capabilities, to the software that lights up all of the consumer experiences. It won't be long before your car is connected to the Internet, to other cars, to your mobile phone, and to your home. Your car will become a companion and an assistant to your digital life and we're working with automakers to make this happen.

Our cloud platform in particular is helping automakers reduce the unsustainable costs of constant research and development required to support multiple platforms. Our global scale, consumer devices management infrastructure, and deep expertise across critical areas such as application development and data management and analysis will help automakers capture the loyalty and imagination of tomorrow's consumer.

Nearly all the established brands in the auto industry are looking for ways to deploy connected-car experiences and services. However, Qoros Automotive which, launched in 2007 as a new Chinese automaker, exemplifies Microsoft's vision for its role in the automotive industry. Thinking of the modern metropolitan driver who is always connected to the digital world, Qoros also set out to design the ultimate "connected car" — one that was connected to the Internet and enabled driving services to be accessed from smartphone, tablet, or potentially any connected devices.

When Qoros began to design the digital heart and soul of its car, the vehicle telematics system to manage all the data generated by and delivered to the car. Qoros anticipated an open and flexible platform that allows full integration with new services and information, plus, the platform needs to have scalability to fit for Qoros' global expansion plan.

Qoros decided to deploy its vehicle telematics system in the cloud on Microsoft Azure, a cloud environment that provides virtual compute, networking, storage and other resources for developing and hosting applications in Microsoft's datacenters.

The modular and scalable nature of Azure makes it the perfect for delivering communications, entertainment and location-based services anywhere in the world. With Azure, Qoros can keep QorosQloud, its suite of connected services, updated and compatible with the latest consumer devices and in-vehicle services. With Azure, new services and features are regularly added as part of an ongoing upgrade program that constantly enhances the capabilities and user experience of QorosQloud in and away from the car.

Microsoft is powering the connected cars of the future while helping automakers establish new business models by maintaining their customers' data and protecting their brand.